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St Thomas More

Catholic School

English 

Curriculum Intent

English is the subject which teaches the knowledge and skills necessary for self-expression and for full participation in society.  Throughout the curriculum at St Thomas More, pupils are taught to speak, read, write and listen fluently, so that they can communicate effectively with others.  These skills are at the heart of our curriculum, as is the acquisition of knowledge through the study of literature.

The English curriculum aims to be a curriculum that is accessible and stretching for allTo that end texts choices are ambitious and varied.  Exposing students to a range of texts and perspectives is key, this includes both classics to build cultural literacy and contemporary texts to nurture students’ understanding and engagement with the world around them.

In our department we aim to develop critical learners, who are able to make inferences from a variety of texts and adapt their own language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.

By the end of KS4, we aim for our pupils to be articulate, express respectful and knowledgeable opinions, listen to others, and be able to look for answers independently.  With this in mind, we ensure that our KS4 year ten students have the opportunity to learn all required texts that will be in their two English Literature exams and a further two English Language exams.  This enables us to build on their basic knowledge in year eleven delving deeper into writers’ intentions and themes thus enabling the students to confidently answer all exam questions to a high standard.

Whole School Literacy

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Drop Everything And Read takes place for all students, years 7-13, for 30 minutes each week. Years 7 – 9 independently read a challenging novel, with the aim of fostering reading for pleasure, as well as improving reading fluency and increasing vocabulary. For years 10-13, subject teachers provide students with a stimulating, extended text such as a news article or academic journal that is directly integrated with the curriculum. This is then interwoven into the lesson through a discussion of big ideas, learning new technical vocabulary in context, or an evaluation of how contemporary issues and current affairs contribute to the subject. The whole school focus allows us to develop rigour and raise the profile of high-quality reading for students. This focus on disciplinary literacy makes clear the value of reading in every subject and that each subject has its own unique language. Sixth form students benefit from developing a substantial wider reading base, and from the explicit preparation for university in which they will read substantial texts in any subject they go on to study.

To further promote reading for pleasure and embed a love of reading, popular lunchtime book clubs take place, and we also regularly give students books to take home and keep, as part of regular author visits and the year 7 Bookbuzz scheme. KS3 students also have lessons in the library, and take part in the National Reading Quiz and Poetry By Heart national competition. We have a team of student literacy ambassadors who plan and coordinate events and competitions to promote reading and fiction. World Book Day is a major date in our school calendar each year; staff dress up and we run a whole host of fun activities, competitions, and author workshops, making it a highly engaging, memorable, and meaningful day for students.

To develop writing skills for extended answers, each department uses subject-specific writing frames that have been made into stickers for the front of KS4 exercise books so that students can always refer to this tool. Student literacy ambassadors offer creative writing support in drop-in lunchtime sessions. As part of our focus on explicit vocabulary instruction, the Word of the Day is embedded within each day, with students applying the words throughout the day and in form-time activities. The annual Spelling Bee takes place in the summer term, which is always very popular and lots of fun!

Literacy intervention takes place on Saturday mornings, running at full capacity and proving to be a successful way of supporting students who need additional help with their reading and writing. Guided reading and handwriting clubs also take place throughout each week.

Teachers

Mrs K Clifford, Head of Department

Miss A Daniels, English Assistant Head of Department and Literacy Coordinator

Mr B Andrews

Ms J Cornwell

Ms C Dag

Mr H Dalrymple

Mr J De Groot

Ms R De Souza

Mr C Lynch

Mr J Meadows

Miss K Michaelis

Mr A O'Connor

Ms D Secgin

Mr C Strickland

Miss P Ward

TA in English: Mrs M Ryan

For further information please contact us at admin@stthomasmoreschool.org.uk