At Key Stage 3 pupils receive at least five lessons per fortnight. These lessons engage and challenge pupils through a rich diet of group, pair and individual work, with a strong emphasis on thinking skills. The English Department works closely with our primary colleagues to ensure a continuity of approach, so that pupils are already familiar with our teaching methods, ensuring that their transition from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3 is smooth. Work is organised into half-termly units, focusing on the range of skills required to speak, read and write effectively. We also aim to introduce pupils to the best in children’s literature, both classic and contemporary, from other cultures as well as our own. In addition, pupils’ love of literature is encouraged with a fortnightly timetabled library lesson, in which children have the opportunity to read for pleasure, choosing books from the wide selection of titles available in our well-stocked library. We reinforce and build on spelling, grammar and punctuation skills so crucial to a child’s confidence in English and across the curriculum, in active and engaging ways. Furthermore our department works closely with Success Maker to ensure that pupils receive help tailored to their own particular needs with spelling and skills. Reading support is offered in KS3 through our catch-up intervention programme. We aim to identify specific areas of weakness and provide individual activities, designed to help pupils make progress in this core skill.
In the English Department, we see it as our role to prepare pupils to speak and write in response to a range of different media, for a range of audiences and purposes: wherever possible, real ones. In preparation for GCSE and the wider world pupils analyse an everincreasing range of media texts and audio-visual resources, to develop their critical awareness of language and presentational devices. Extra-curricular activities are encouraged. English staff run a range of clubs - readers’ club, BBC School Reporters’ Club, Debating club – and whenever possible pupils take part in competitions throughout the course of Key Stage 3. When curriculum time allows, trips are arranged to the theatre and cinema to enhance pupils’ experience and understanding of the texts they study. In addition to work completed in exercise books, each pupil will produce ‘core’ assessments, through which they are trained to work in the manner required for GCSE. Through these Key Stage 3 assessments pupils’ reading, writing and oracy skills are regularly assessed: pupils peer and self-assess and in so doing develop their critical awareness. Examinations further test pupils’ reading and writing skills; oracy is moderated throughout the year. At GCSE we follow the WJEC English Language and Literature courses. A significant number of pupils continue in their study of either English Language or Literature, or a combination of the two subjects, at Advanced level and beyond.