Curriculum Statement - English
‘Once you learn to read you will be free forever.’ – Fredrick Douglass
Powerful Knowledge in English
Our curriculum will endeavour to provide pupils with the powerful knowledge, which can too often be hidden from view. In doing so, our aim is to provide students with the knowledge to make the implicit, explicit. The powerful knowledge curriculum in English will be deliberately and coherently sequenced to take the shape of a chronological narrative; a narrative that aims to support pupils in making sense of both the literary canon and texts from across a rich, cultural spectrum of literature.
In particular, pupils will be tasked with exploring the timeless and universal threads that run through and connect written texts, regardless of their place in history or their place of origin. The sequence of the curriculum also endeavours to ensure that the knowledge taught is rich; in that, it is taught to be remembered by our pupils, not merely encountered. Our curriculum also aims to prepare every pupil for the demands of both the wider curriculum and the wider world through a conscious and explicit teaching of both tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary.
This deliberate teaching of vocabulary goes beyond simply defining the meaning of a word but encourages pupils to fully explore the language. Through an exploration of word origin, change and usage, pupils will develop a vocabulary that is not only broad but rich in depth. In doing this, we hope to provide our pupils with the academic code, which leads to success educationally and beyond.
As part of their experience in English, students will be guided to critically reflect and explore a set of key concepts:
- Behind every text ever written there is writer intent.
- All writers are influenced by the time, place and social positioning from which they write.
- There are a set of universal and timeless themes and ideas that have, and continue to influence, the intentions of writers.
- As readers we are connected to these universal and timeless themes and ideas and this connection can inform our own personal response to a text.
- Having a confident control over both written and spoken language empowers the individual.
- All readers can and should make predictions about any text, both fiction and non-fiction. They should do this by interrogating the intent of the writer and by considering the context within which it was written.
- A writer can manipulate the way a reader thinks about an issue through the use of grammar.
In order to examine, unpick and critically reflect on these key concepts, students will explore through both the written and spoken word a chronologically sequenced curriculum at KS3 that spans the following five periods of world and therefore literary history:
Romantics and Revolution
Great Wars and Hard Times
Across the Key Stages, pupils will fully engage with a rich diet of texts written during, about and related to these five areas with a focus on the following:
The Illiad, King Arthur and the Crusades, Twelfth Night, Gothic Literature, The Great War, The Odyssey, Beowulf, The Oral Tradition, Mythology, The Tempest, The Woman in Black, Ancient Greek Tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, Oedipus, Macbeth, An Inspector Calls, Crime Fiction – 19th Century to Modern day, Of Mice and Men, 20th and 21st Conflict Poetry.
Students’ study of English will also be enriched by a super curriculum offer that provides opportunities both within and outside the classroom for pupils to experience the power of both the written and spoken word. The aim of these experiences is to enrich students’ understanding of the world around them and how they are connected to it. We also aim to encourage pupils to challenge ideas, concepts and traditions so that they develop their own voice and interpretations; a skill set that is crucial for both academic and life success.
This super curriculum offer will include: theatre visits, theatre workshops, creative writing workshops, academic lecture days, poetry competitions, creative writing competitions, oracy celebration events, visits to places of literary significance, visiting speakers, authors and poets, debate clubs and entry into wider school competition and network events.
The KS3 English Curriculum is built around a number of key reading and writing skills that underpin all studies within English. The curriculum is designed to cover a range of texts chronologically from ancient literature through to the modern day. Each unit of work will fall into one of the following historical periods: The Ancients, Medieval, Shakespeare, Romantics and Revolution and finally Great Wars and Hard Times.
While at times there will be opportunities to study original texts, such as Shakespeare’s plays, many of the texts are modern interpretations with historical settings to ensure that they are engaging and student friendly. The rationale is to provide students with a holistic approach to the wealth of literature and non-fiction texts in the English language. They will learn how these texts relate to the contexts within which they were written and will be encouraged to recognise key conventions and themes which transcend time.
The oracy programme of study has been designed to work alongside the KS3 curriculum, extending and consolidating students’ verbal communication skills. Each half term there will be assessment points in reading and/or writing and regular assessments in oracy will also take place. Progress will be measured based on their attainment in the following areas: