“You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.”
– Annie Proulx (Novelist and journalist)
The English Department’s mission is to promote a passion for English within all students at Stanley High School. A love of the subject is nurtured and will build upon the vital foundations that students have already laid at Key Stages 1 and 2. The English Department want all students to feel empowered by what they study, developing creativity in both the written and spoken word.
As staff foster this enjoyment of English, students will evolve their understanding and appreciation of spoken language, English Language and English Literature. This will enrich their learning, as their course will enable them to read widely and form mature opinions. We are developing a robust programme of study that aims to inspire creativity, imagination and inquiring minds, ensuring that our students are equipped for both further education and a vocational setting. Our department thrives on the students’ questions and their desire to discover more about their learning.
Staff in the English department devise and plan their lessons around two important factors: challenge and a love of learning. The staffs’ passion for their subject is demonstrated through the design of curriculum and lessons dedicated to viewing English texts and theories from alternative perspectives.
Challenge is an essential part of the English staffs’ teaching, facilitating progress for all students by offering a wide variety of learning experiences. The Faculty is passionate that students develop their cultural capital to appreciate English Literature and English Language in context. It is through these contexts that students will develop a spiritual, moral, social and cultural awareness that will shape their personal ethos.
Curriculum maps in both key stages are designed to ensure that all key areas (Reading, Writing and Speaking & Listening) are covered in every unit and opportunities to revisit key skills, in different ways, are built into students’ learning journeys. They outline the skills and knowledge students are expected to master across the two key stages. The KS2 programme of study and the English and literacy provision of our feeder primary schools are considered to ensure progression from the students’ primary school English and literacy experience; they have the chance to develop and build on the skills that they have learned at Key Stage 2 while becoming familiar with the skills that they will require for their GCSE examinations.
Reading and speaking & listening are of high importance throughout each year at Stanley High School as they are the building blocks upon which high quality writing is produced. Therefore, each lesson involves reading and discussion of texts linked to the topic, enabling students to explore ideas and make their thoughts concrete prior to writing any responses.
Key Stage 3 covers Years 7, 8 and 9. During KS3 students will have 6 English lessons over a two-week period, during which they have the opportunity to complete a literacy-based lesson in our library. To reflect the linear examination courses in Key Stage 4, the material is studied on an ongoing cycle with a focus placed on testing and re-testing to aid the development of long-term memory and mastery of both the skills and knowledge required. This curriculum structure aims to: improve student retention of knowledge, build student confidence ahead of assessments and give a clear and consistent routine to lessons. Links are made between literary texts and language texts in order to support students in developing their understanding and being able to make a connection within their learning.
In Years 7, 8 and 9, KS3 students are taught to develop an appreciation and love of reading, and write accurately, fluently, effectively and at length for pleasure and information through:
- reading a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, including whole books, short stories, poems and plays in a variety of genres, historical periods, forms and authors; high-quality works from both pre-1914 and contemporary English literature; Shakespeare and seminal world literature
- learning new vocabulary, relating it explicitly to known vocabulary and understanding it with the help of context and dictionaries
- making inferences and referring to evidence in the text
- knowing the purpose, audience for and context of the writing and using this knowledge to support comprehension
- writing for a wide range of purposes and audiences, including stories, scripts, poetry and other imaginative writing; notes and scripts for talks and presentations and a range of other narrative and non-narrative texts, including personal and formal letters
During KS4, where students follow the AQA GCSE course in both English Language and English Literature, they will continue to develop their ability to appreciate a wide variety of texts, as well as the author’s craft. The AQA GCSE courses will broaden students’ horizons and help them to become well rounded, empathetic citizens, who are able to question and examine the world around them.
The English department are firm believers in providing opportunities for all and have the highest expectations of every student. The use of scaffolds, the modelling of good examples and open-ended tasks allow all students to achieve, regardless of prior attainment. A range of materials, such as academic articles, contextual non-fiction books and recommendations for extended reading are available for all students. In-class support from teaching assistants is available for SEND students and revision materials are purchased for disadvantaged students. Additional support with homework and revision is available to all students.
Curriculum enrichment opportunities
Students are given the opportunity to participate in a range of enrichment activities to enhance their learning. From the activities organised for National Poetry Day in October and World Book Day every March to book shop visits, more able visits to colleges and theatre trips, students are exposed to a culture where English is exciting and relevant.
During their five years at Stanley, we aim to provide students with challenging, high-quality English lessons. We hope that all students will leave school with an English qualification and that we have made all students aware of the importance of English in the wider world. Our curriculum should also fully equip students for post-16 English study in either language or literature.