Our aim is to create successful users of the English language: literate, confident, empathetic team players and leaders. We are creating successful readers, writers and speakers who read widely around the curriculum, for educational purposes and pleasure. We are investing in explicit vocabulary instruction to combat word poverty and the Matthew effect in education. Through a creative, stimulating, and rigorous curriculum, we are developing well-rounded individuals who will contribute positively to their community and the wider world.
However, English lessons are not merely a means to an end. At St. Richard’s, our lessons provide pupils with the opportunity to enjoy using language and to explore and deepen their appreciation of Literature. Qualifications in English at GCSE level are beyond doubt of vital importance in securing a place on the career ladder, but we seek to provide all of our pupils with a love for the subject which will last them for a life-time!
Below is a breakdown of our teacher assessed grades for summer 2021:
|English Language||English Literature|
At Key Stage 3, pupils follow a balanced curriculum of skills to cover English Language, Literature and Spoken Language. Units of study encourage skills development, enthusiasm for reading and writing and opportunities for public speaking. The KS3 curriculum is challenging and builds carefully upon KS2 skills as well as supporting transition to GCSE.
In Year 7, pupils study 6 units: A novel ‘One’, Travel Writing, Introduction to Poetry, Media, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and Literary Tradition.
In Year 8, pupils study 6 units: A novel, Texts Through Time, Media, Identity and Culture, The Tempest and ‘Frankenstein’ play script.
In Year 9, pupils study 6 units: A novel, Poetry, Media, Gothic Literature, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and Writing Styles.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar skills are taught alongside these units and pupils have a weekly library lesson in year 7 and 8 and a fortnightly library lesson in Year 9 . Pupils in Year 7-9 will be encouraged to participate in the Rooted in Reading scheme where they receive rewards for more challenging reads.
Pupils begin the GCSE curriculum in English Language, Literature and Spoken Language in year 10. We follow the AQA specification for all three disciplines. English Language consists of two exams (creative and viewpoints). English Literature consists of four texts in two exams (poetry anthology, Shakespeare, twentieth century text and nineteenth century text).
Spoken Language assessment consists of a formal speech, video recorded. Each term has a Literature and Language focus and then an interleaving approach means these topics/skills are revisited throughout the year.
For summer exams 2022 only, Year 11s will not be studying a 19th Century text for English Literature. Exams for 2022 will take place as normal.
At Key Stage 3 (Years 7 – 9) all pupils’ progress is assessed formally once a term using a department score system. This is across a range of Reading and Writing assessment focuses. In addition to this, formative teacher and peer comments support pupils’ learning and progress. Verbal feedback is given regularly in class. All pupils’ reading and spelling ages are tested on entry in Year 7 and those of concern are tracked and re-tested regularly, once intervention has been put in place.
At Key Stage 4, pupils are assessed in line with the AQA GCSE specifications. Class work and exam preparation are scored twice a term and formative comments are given in between these times. Regular self and peer assessment assists the pupils with relating to mark schemes and success criteria. The department completes regular moderation to ensure consistency across teachers.
Pupil Voice is also sought regularly as a way of ensuring lessons are impactful and engaging.
The department offers: Debate Club, Poetry by Heart, and Creative Writing Club.
We encourage all pupils to read widely to promote growth of vocabulary and encourage a love of a variety of literature. Parents and carers can find a comprehensive list of reading books for every year group by clicking the following link: https://schoolreadinglist.co.
Bedrock Vocabulary is an online vocabulary curriculum which we have invested in since May 2019. It has been an invaluable resource for our pupils. Bedrock Vocabulary teaches vocabulary explicitly, whilst encouraging reading through a range of fiction and non fiction texts. Research has suggested that there is a direct link between a pupils vocabulary size and their academic achievement. Narrow vocabularies affect pupils’ grades which is why we are using Bedrock to help close the vocabulary gap. More information about our Bedrock Vocabulary initiative can be found here https://bedrocklearning.org/