English Intent Statement
At Abbey Park School, the English Department aims to answer two over-arching big questions in order for our learners to become empathetic, independent and critical thinkers of not only texts but allow them to be able to confidently interpret the world around them. These are: ‘how do writers use language and structure for effect?’ and ‘how can we as writers use language and structure for effect?’
Our department offers a knowledge-rich curriculum throughout KS3 and KS4, building core skills and concepts around our two big questions, leading into GCSE examinations. We interweave speaking, reading and writing skills across all schemes of work to ensure pupils experience, develop and build a wide range of skills in all aspects of the English language to prepare them for their future career paths beyond KS4.
As a team with a wide range of English-related interests, we actively partake in English-specific educational CPD on all the platforms offered to the TPAT Trust. In addition to this, we undertake independent CPD which is offered from the local area, through books and blogs. This allows us to suggest relevant and pertinent changes to enhance our pupil’s experience of English and to keep up-to-date with changes to the English curriculum and its delivery.
Our curriculum is a spiralled 5-year curriculum which is fully laid out in our KS3 and KS4 curriculum maps. This leads into KS5 at TPAT Sixth Form courses that are currently on offer in English Literature and English Literature and Language. Pupils at both Key Stages at Abbey Park alternate between speaking, reading and writing disciplines on a termly basis to encompass the broad range of opportunities that the study of the subject offers. We study a range of texts across all year groups which encompass social, cultural and historical contexts.
The English department teaches a linear curriculum, so that each term, every year group in KS3 studies a similar topic. This enables them to make clear connections between each year's work. For example, in the first term of each year, we study texts such as Beowulf and Of Mice and Men, with a focus on their historical context. Not only does this allow for cross-curricular links across both subjects and Key Stages, but also prepares pupils for their GCSE courses, in which several Literature modules require them to link their analysis to the text's context. Pupils study novels such as The Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and plays such as An Inspector Calls, which they are expected to analyse in light of the context in which the text was written. Likewise, every year studies a Shakespeare play, to reflect the importance the playwright is given in our literary canon and in the GCSE syllabus. We explore plays including Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet, to lead to the study of The Merchant of Venice in KS4.All schemes are further reinforced through our termly visit to ‘Topic Texts’ which allows pupils to appreciate the topic from a different perspective.
An important area of our curriculum is to ensure that it is a relevant reflection of the world around our pupils and the local school context. To that end, the department meet weekly to discuss matters arising from the previous week, to share good practice, resources and relevant texts which can be integrated and enhance existing schema. We enhance the curriculum further through a scheduled library lesson once a fortnight and build in new technologies such as ‘Go-Read’ into lessons at KS3 as a way of developing a broad, balanced and stimulating curriculum. Furthermore, the department leads English competitions both internally and from external agencies such as the local ‘Swindon Youth Festival of Literature’.
At present, English classes are taught in streamed groups at both KS3 and KS4, which allows the department to offer precise and focused Wave One support to pupils of all abilities, leading up to public examinations. GSCE English Language and Literature papers are non-tiered, and pupils will sit all 4 examinations at the end of their learning journey. The curriculum is designed as such to build and interweave between these skills and targeted, streamed classes allow for teachers to support their pupils in achieving their full potential. We also have a specialised Transition Teacher to further support low ability pupils when they arrive at Abbey Park School in year 7, who uses differentiated resources and texts to support the delivery of the Key Stage 3 curriculum.
Our pupils are assessed twice a term in English. During the course of a topic pupils in year 7 - 10 will take a mid-term assessment which reviews skills and knowledge of the unit and will receive formal feedback. In addition to this, they will sit a main, milestone assessment which is graded with formal feedback. This grade and feedback is then placed into a tracking sheet by pupils in the front of their exercise book to track their learning in English throughout the academic year, with the intention that pupils and their teachers can easily identify areas of success and development when comparing to their end of year target grade. In year 11, pupils partake in Exam Friday which allows them to build their knowledge and resilience by sitting exam-style questions based around the four English examination papers. They also sit informal mid-term assessments at the discretion of the class teacher. After all assessments, pupils have the opportunity to Make a Change (MAC) during a review lesson. During this time, pupils can reflect on their strengths and weaknesses of a specific assessment as highlighted by their teacher through the use of WWW (What Went Well) and HTI (How to Improve) comments. Pupils can then work on any knowledge or conceptual gaps through the differentiated MAC activity set by the class teacher to demonstrate reflection and progress. This is further enhanced by specialist Wave Two Intervention teachers at both KS3 and KS4 to support the learning and progress of any students where a knowledge gap has been identified.
KS3 and KS4 English Curriculum Maps
Click below in 'Related Documents' to view curriculum maps.