Why is English Important?
English has a pre-eminent place in education and society. English will teach pupils to communicate their ideas and emotions to others and, through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Reading enables pupils not only to acquire knowledge and build on what they already know but also provides them the chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society.
This term we have continued to develop our whole school literacy strategies in order to develop pupils' vocabularies and embed a love for reading. We have strived to put a real emphasis on pupils' acknowledgement and understanding of the 'Word of the Day' and encourage teachers to use the words frequently and effectively in their lessons. KS3 pupils participate in literacy focused activities throughout the week during form time, which includes twenty minutes of silent reading and a 'Words of the Week' spelling and definitions test. Years 7 and 8 pupils have also continued to enjoy the school's 'Drop Everything and Read' sessions where they are asked to stop what they are doing in their ordinary lessons and read, for 30 minutes, once a week. This year we are also launching Reading Clubs to generate a culture of reading for pleasure, where we will read a range of engaging books in small groups over the course of the year.
Key Skills Required
The study of English is divided into three distinct categories: 1. Speaking and Listening; 2. Reading; and, 3. Writing. These are equally weighted at KS3, and building pupils’ literacy - both written and spoken - is the main focus.
The study of Literature, both classic and contemporary, lies at the core of English throughout KS3.
Topics Covered in Year 7
Number of lessons per week: 4-6
- Reading and understanding fiction
- Narrative and descriptive writing
- Contemporary poetry
- Play: Drama/Demon Headmaster
- Whole novel: Holes/A Monster Calls
- Introduction to Shakespeare
Topics Covered in Year 8
Number of lesson per week: 3-4
- Reading and understanding fiction (including Victorian extracts)
- Writing for effect
- War poetry and engaging with unseen poems
- Play: Frankenstein
- Whole novel: The Knife of Never Letting Go/Lord of the Flies/Stone Cold
- Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet
Pupils receive homework three times per week. This consists of a reading and summarising, Sam Learning, extended writing, comprehension and spelling, punctuation and grammar practice.
Progress is checked through formative and summative assessments every half term. Pupils receive diagnostic feedback at least every three weeks and a summative grade every half-term.
www.bfi.org – for short films, educational films, etc.
www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists (recommended reading for teenagers)
The English Department has a comprehensive reading list which suggests a range of reading material, including the classics and modern fiction. These are intended to stretch pupils’ reading ability and instil a love of reading. These reading lists are regularly updated and given to pupils during the Autumn term.
Key Tips for Success
It is vital that independent reading of fiction, non-fiction, good quality newspapers and magazines is facilitated outside of school. Pupils and parents can ask the school librarian or their English teacher for recommendations.
Encourage good writing practice using spelling, punctuation and grammar.
How can a parent help their child succeed?
Oversee your child’s reading. Encourage them to read widely!
Discuss your child’s homework – encourage them to engage with topics covered in class and how these relate to modern society.