The English curriculum covers three key areas:
Students are assessed on their ability to find information within a text and to express their understanding of how a text works. They are taught to uncover both obvious meaning and to read between the lines, deducing what a 'writer' is trying to imply. Students become more aware of how language is used as a tool to manipulate readers and are able to comment on linguistic devices used by writers to achieve different effects.
Students are taught to write appropriately for different purposes and audiences. They are able to shape their writing using language in a variety of different ways to influence the reader. They are encouraged to write creatively and empathetically as well as formally and without bias. Students become explicitly aware of how language choice and sentence structure affects the reader, in addition to learning the importance of accuracy in their spelling and grammar.
Speaking & Listening
Students are taught to listen actively within lessons to both teachers and other students. They are encouraged to form their own opinions and have confidence in expressing them. Students are able to experiment with language and speak appropriately depending on their purpose and the audience they are addressing. In addition to explanatory and critical talk, students get the opportunity to role play, acting out ideas by exploring characters and situations empathetically.
English lessons are generally delivered in four parts: a starter, which focuses on aspects of English use related to spelling, sentence structure or grammar; and introduction, which is usually a teacher-led explanation of the tasks to be undertaken; a main activity, where the students get the opportunity to work alone or with others on an agreed task, using a variety of learning styles to enhance their understanding; a recap, where students can demonstrate what they have learnt to the rest of the class.
All the units of work taught in Year 7 and 8 are carefully mapped against the National Curriculum. They include a variety of activities, learning styles and assessment opportunities to ensure all students have the chance to shine.
At George Spencer Academy we try to actively encourage reading. Through Key Stage 3 regular lesson time is devoted to promoting reading for pleasure. Students are encouraged to read a variety of texts in their own time to develop their ability to interpret meanings behind texts.
All three areas are continuously assessed by teachers through Key Stage 3 and parents will be kept informed of their child's progress through regular Learning Reviews and Student Scans. All students will be aware of their baseline, predicted grade in this subject. Pupils will study a range of 19th century extracts. Literacy skills will be taught throughout the academic year and there will be a repeated literacy and spelling tests at stages during the year.
The English department has its own website where students can find resources to help them with their learning. This site can be accessed in school and from home.