English Language Curriculum Intent
At Grace Academy Darlaston we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and habit of reading widely, often and for pleasure. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge base, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the secondary curriculum. We want our learners to be successful and confident, ready to make progress and achieve their potential.
We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want them to be writers who can make their emotions leap off the page and manipulate their readers’ feelings with their words; writers who can express complicated ideas and professional, clear standard English, ready for the world of work.
We have a coherently planned curriculum that inspires our children to be responsible, respectful and active citizens, who are confident in the art of speaking and listening. We want our pupils to be able to debate, persuade and deliver effective speeches to develop their oracy for a range of audiences, empowering them to become actively involved in public life as young adults, who can have an impact on their wider community. The resilience of pupils is developed by challenging pupils through regular assessment and retrieval opportunities to identify their strengths and areas for improvement and therapy tasks. With our curriculum being split into English Literature and Language lessons, students are exam-ready and well-equipped with the tools they need to both analyse texts as a reader and play the role of a writer.
The National Curriculum is firmly embedded throughout our engaging 7-year programme of study. This comprises separate Language and Literature lessons to expose pupils to a wealth of texts from the literary Canon and texts that deepen and develop pupils’ understanding of the 5 fundamental British Values. Reading is at the heart of what we do. We strengthen pupils’ cultural capital to enable them to gain a sense of pride in their local community and regularly plan opportunities outside of the classroom to enable pupils to demonstrate this. Our team are dedicated to offering enriching opportunities such as theatre trips, poetry competitions and author visits to bring the pages of their set texts to life.
From point of entry, our pupils are fed a diet of Reading for Pleasure and Library lessons, which are interspersed within our curriculum in Years 7 and 8, providing pupils with a sequenced readiness to progress to the next stage. The fiction read in Reading for Pleasure lessons are threaded into our Language lessons to expose pupils to the diverse world around them. Our novels, plays and poems are selected with the intention of modelling reading habits in order to improve pupils’ literacy skills whilst developing pupils emotionally, culturally and socially.
It is a shared commitment within the English teaching team to ensure every student reaches their potential and that a love of the written and spoken word is renewed.
As pupils join us to begin their KS3 journey, they are encouraged to retrieve and develop their prior knowledge attained from KS2. First and foremost, we aim to foster an enjoyment for language by immersing students in the written word and encourage the analytical and critical perception of texts with ‘reading for pleasure’ forming a key part of our language curriculum. This exposure to a variety of texts deepens understanding and analytical skills whilst building our pupils’ cultural capital. In addition to this, pupils are given the opportunities to demonstrate and develop their maturing creative writing skills; an essential toolkit which threads throughout their entire English Language curriculum at Grace Academy. These skills are enriched by giving pupils the autonomy to use and apply appropriate language techniques and correct forms in their writing via The Writer’s Toolkit as well as understanding why it is important to have flare as a writer. This allows the foundations of their education and beyond to become established as the skills attained are enhanced and broadened throughout their studies in KS3 and KS4.
Students are exposed to a variety of genres, texts and skills as they move through Year 8, allowing them to develop their analytical and creative skills gained up to this point. Immersed in the genre of ‘The Gothic’, pupils are exposed to a variety of classic texts and are able to analyse, discuss and debate prior to revisiting and developing their creative writing ‘toolkit’ within the gothic world. A wealth of cultural capital is nurtured in Year 8 as pupils make their way to the world of transactional writing; studying a range of famous speeches before taking to the stage as writers and orators and then discovering the voices of ‘Women who changed the world’ to conclude their non-fiction studies for Year 8. Drama comes to the English language curriculum as pupils end the year engaging with and creating their own playscripts in our ‘Writing a Playscript’ scheme.
In Year 9, we expose students to a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, from pre-1900s to the 21st century. Having this literary knowledge early on enables pupils to access and comprehend new forms of texts such as articles, blogs, journals, speeches and letters. All pupils build and extend their knowledge of different eras and text types ready for KS4. Pupils, at this stage, can appreciate the coherence of the curriculum by making connections to modules previously studied to strengthen their interpretations and craftmanship. Pupils have the opportunity to identify, analyse and evaluate writers’ ideas and methods, furthering their confidence in their own writing abilities. With regular opportunities to draft and edit their creative and transactional writing responses, students gain an appreciation of what it takes to be an engaging author.
In Language lessons, we encourage pupils to observe themselves as authors. Through creative and transactional writing activities, pupils experience the careful crafting and planning that goes into delivering a narrative or message to an audience. Pupils are exposed to the nuances of language in all its forms and participate as confident and literate members of an ever-changing society. Synthesis and summary skills are at the heart of pupils’ exploration of a range of texts, enabling them to evaluate the strategies writers use to communicate effectively.
The tools pupils acquire from Year 7 to 10 transcend into Year 11. Pupils develop higher-order reading and critical thinking skills to have a good understanding of different texts and themes. Synthesis and summary skills are at the heart of pupils’ exploration of a range of texts, enabling them to evaluate the strategies writers use to communicate effectively. Oracy is a key component of Language lessons as pupils complete a Speaking and Listening endorsement as part of their GCSE requirement; pupils become active orators through sharing their interpretations of the perspectives presented in their given extracts. Pupils analyse the methods writers use to influence their readers, learning the subject terminology on their journey to interpreting texts.