In English we aim for our students to develop effective skills as:
The skills developed in English open a gateway to success in all other subjects in the curriculum. Reading, extracting information from texts and presenting arguments and thoughts in the written form effectively, are all key elements of most subjects, and provide the foundation for good GCSE results.
Assessment in English is based on the system used at GCSE level. We assess in two key areas: Reading and Writing and follow the assessment focuses used in the AQA syllabus. This includes a rigorous moderation process to ensure that teachers assess consistently across the department. Assessment is continuous throughout the year and many assignments are done under controlled conditions in order to prepare students for what is to come at GCSE.
Students are given lots of opportunity for peer and self-assessment throughout the curriculum. We strive to take a modern and progressive approach to teaching; encouraging maximum student involvement through the use of interactive resources such as white boards and digital text books. Technology such as iPads help develop independent and interactive learning.
The English Curriculum reflect the changes which have been made at GCSE level. Our partnerships with local ACE schools ensures a smooth transition from KS3 to GCSE. In the Summer Term Year 9 students will take a GCSE-style assessment in the summer term. This forms part of a students final grade in English which will then be passed onto their GCSE school, most often the Ashby School.
Literacy is at the forefront of every lesson that we teach in English. We use personal literacy targets to ensure that all teachers, in every subject, are aware of particular areas of development for every child at Ivanhoe College. In addition, we have a dedicated team of Student Literacy Leaders who promote the value of literacy across the college. We will continue to develop literacy further using form time challenges and writing competitions as a medium to raise the profile of literacy at Ivanhoe.
In English we embrace every opportunity to develop numeracy alongside literacy. Examples include the use of pie-charts to apportion blame for an event within a text and tension graphs when analysing character’s feelings within texts.
English is a subject that lends itself towards all types of working systems. We value and harness the skills required to work both collaboratively and independently. We often use paired and group work to develop the ethos of being a team worker and an effective participant. Students are also encouraged to self-manage their learning by being set tasks that develop their independence and self-reliance. An example of this would be using Follow-up Tasks to allow students to become reflective learners. We encourage creative thinking through producing writing pieces that allow students to show imagination and flair. We value and recognise independent enquirers and inspire students towards developing an inquisitive mind along with a lifelong love of the subject.
The development of Literacy Leaders is a typical example where students are taking an active role in the development of literacy across the college.
Spiritual Development in English
Pupils are provided with opportunities to extract meaning beyond the literal, consider hidden meanings whilst engaging with ideas in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama.
Pupils explore how the choice of language used and style affects implied and explicit meaning. Pupils learn how to use language in imaginative and original ways, drawing on their reading knowledge; considering how words, usage and meaning change over time.
Moral Development in English
Pupils explore and analyse appropriate texts which furnish them with the knowledge and ability to question and reason. This then enables them to develop their own value system and to make reasonable decisions on matters of personal integrity.
Pupils begin to develop an awareness that right and wrong in life situations is not always universally agreed. Through detailed and supportive methods of assessment and feedback, alongside actively encouraging self and peer assessment some of the responsibility for progress is put into the hands of the pupils.
Social Development in English
Participation, creativity, reflection and independence are encouraged in all English lessons. Pupils are provided with opportunities to read texts that portray issues and events relating to contemporary life or past experience in interesting and challenging ways.
Pupils explore current influences on spoken and written language, examine attitudes to language use, and consider the vocabulary and grammar of Standard English and dialect variations. Discussion work, in pairs and larger groups, alongside studying a whole range of literature, including novels, plays and poetry, helps and encourages the pupils’ social and moral development.
Cultural Development in English
Short stories and plays are selected which encourage pupils to empathise with the feelings and experiences of others to help develop their understanding of other people’s attitudes, ideas and behaviour.
Pupils develop sensitive awareness of, and the ability to respond constructively to, the backgrounds, experiences, concerns, feelings and commitments of others through a range of different narratives.
Pupils are also able to widen their cultural experiences through theatre visits both in and outside of school. In addition, many of the texts that are studied open the door to different cultures and beliefs.
Enrichment Days give the English department an opportunity to focus in more detail on aspects of English which students can recognise in the world around them.
In Year 7, we focus on how language is used to create comic effects and we go on to create our own comic strips, films and pantomime performances. We explore puns, word play and physical comedy as well as writing our own scripts. Students are introduced to typical media language such as ‘mise en scene’ and use this to produce their own film using ‘stop motion’ film techniques.
In Year 8, we explore the issue of Bullying in Fiction, Film and Reality. We work alongside the Drama department to produce performances that are powerful whilst also offering suggested strategies to deal with bullying. We then go on to look at how bullies are portrayed in fiction and film.
In Year 9, we endeavour to break down barriers to poetry with regular visiting poet, Dreadlock Alien. Students enjoy a poetry slam where they write and perform their own poetry. Dreadlock also challenges notions of skin colour and helps to develop pupils’ understanding of how racism starts.
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