The Faculty of English and Media Studies aims to develop the whole child and equip them with the language and communication skills which enable them to perform to the best of their ability in all subjects, not just English.
Rationale and aims:
- To provide a safe and positive learning atmosphere which caters for all learning styles and motivates students to reach their full potential.
- To acknowledge the relevance of students’ own experiences and value their individual contributions.
- To develop confident students who are effective communicators and reflective thinkers. Equipping them with skills which allow a confident participation in adult and student life.
- To develop a love of Literature, Language and Media which encourages them to explore their own understanding of the world and themselves.
In essence we want to open students’ eyes to the possibilities in the world around them and equip them with the skills necessary to explore that world in full. We consider diverse opportunities to learn within and beyond the classroom to be essential.
Accelerated Reader for all KS3 students
Last year, the English department introduced an exciting new approach to improving standards of reading called Accelerated Reader (AR). Every student in KS3 is STAR tested at the beginning of the year and a ZPD score is generated. The ZPD score ensures the student is able to select a book from the library that will be accessible, but also challenging for them. Once students have selected a book, all KS3 students complete a period of 20 mins engaged in reading every lesson; this involves reading their book, but also taking online quizzes designed to test each child’s understanding of their book and allows us to offer intervention and support to those that need it. In order to get the most from the programme, students are able to take their book home so that they can spend time at home building up their reading.
Focus for year 7 students
Throughout Ks3 we have a firm focus on combining a rigorous approach to securing the core literacy skills required to be successful readers and writers with collaborative learning that is engaging, exciting and dynamic. This involves students taking part in a reading programme that uses computer software to track and monitor their progress, selecting texts that are perfectly pitched to ensure students make rapid and sustained progress. In addition, we have a wide range of schemes of learning that ensure all aspects of the national curriculum are addressed effectively. All students study a Shakespeare play and a selection of poetry as well as multi modal texts that are integral to 21st century life. We always look to promote additional learning opportunities that really enthuse learners such as literacy in the outdoors and visits by published authors.
Focus for year 8 students:
In year 8 the focus is on reinforcing and developing the skills acquired in year 7 whilst also increasing the level of challenge so that all learners thrive. Planning for progression is at the heart of all English lessons so teachers work together to share their knowledge of students and their progress. Group and collaborative work is a core aspect of lessons as students have opportunities to discuss, probe and evaluate texts. There is a strong focus on developing writing skills as students are offered opportunities to write for real life audiences and purposes.
Focus for year 9 students:
During year 9, students commence the transition from being KS3 students to GCSE level learners. Media studies becomes a greater focus of their studies as they complete some of the GCSE coursework modules. Assessment of students’ verbal and written work is thorough and regular in order to ensure essential skills for GCSE success are being cemented.
Focus for year 10:
In year 10 all students begin their GCSE courses. English language is given a great deal of emphasis as achieving a C grade or above is so important to future life chances. We pride ourselves on the high percentage of our students that reach this grade every year. In order to do so they have to complete a variety of reading and writing tasks that test their ability to be effective and technically secure writers as well as sensitive, analytical readers.
Focus for year 11:
As students progress into year 11, they are entering the final stages of their GCSE and examination preparation becomes the primary focus. Students have many opportunities to develop their exam skills through collaborative and independent tasks. There are numerous opportunities for students to share their work and learn from one another. The teacher offers regular feedback, ensuring students are always clear about their next steps to success. As in year 10, the dominant focus is on supporting our students to be effective writers and perceptive readers.
Focus for A level
There are several options for post 16 English students to consider and their teachers are always available to offer advice and guidance as to the best route for each individual. Students that choose to study English language will learn all about the language of life, exploring the variations of language used in different contexts. Literature students will have the opportunity to read some of the greatest literary works ever written; they will study a wide range of genres including drama, poetry and prose. Media students will develop similar analytical skills when exploring a range of media products ranging from newspapers to films to documentaries to web based platforms. They will explore the impact of the media on modern culture and the representations constructed in the media.
We are entirely committed to the progress of all students at all ages and firmly believe that through English and the securing of key literacy skills, students are offered the key to success in all of their subjects. However, we do not want English to be an uninspiring diet of grammar and punctuation so are constantly seeking ways to relate the subject to their world and their interests, bringing the subject to life through group work and extra curricular opportunities.