As Head of English, I find that literature constantly provides me with a place to escape and an opportunity to reflect and rehearse ideas whilst also examining my own responses, emotional and otherwise.
Our role in the English department, along with teaching the ‘nuts and bolts’ of punctuation, grammar and spelling, is to help our children find similar pleasures in the world of literature. This in turn stimulates their own writing, giving them the confidence to experiment with new words and stylistic techniques. Put simply: Through reading, pupils develop empathy. Indeed, classmates learn from each other, as well as the teacher, how to articulate their thoughts and feelings.
Of course developing good reading skills reaches far beyond the English Department. Fluency in reading is essential for children to be able to access an increasingly sophisticated curriculum: you need to understand what the complex mathematical task or scientific challenge is asking you before you can demonstrate your high levels of numeracy or scientific knowledge. Across a range of subjects, reading is also a doorway into other worlds, times in history and cultures.
Brief English curriculum highlights include:
- Year 3 We aim to foster a love for reading and writing in our children. To achieve this, we study a large variety of topics including Greek Myths, Play Scripts, Poetry, Traditional Tales and Information Texts – reading includes stories by Dick King-Smith
- Year 4 We place an emphasis on creative writing with opportunities for the children to develop their poetry composition and story writing, culminating in lessons aimed at producing stories for a real life audience of keen Year 3 readers . Our reading includes The Lion and the Unicorn, Blitzed, Whale Song, and Mufaro’s Daughter.
- Year 5 We aim to build fluency, accuracy, enthusiasm and a sense of adventure in reading, writing and speaking. Our texts include a selection of information books, Wind in the Willows, Firework Maker’s Daughter and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
- Year 6 With an increased emphasis on adapting expression, the children are encouraged to experiment with vocabulary and identify cross-curricular links. Accuracy, listening skills and greater complexity are also pursued through such texts as: Letters From The Lighthouse, Journey to the River Sea, Goodnight Mr Tom, and the online resource, War with Troy.
- Year 7 Whilst aiming for clarity, articulation of appreciation, and independence in reading and writing, we seek to move and entertain through poetry recital and our work on speech writing. Texts include: Macbeth, A Christmas Carol, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Holes, Hoot and poems by Levertov and Heaney.
- Year 8 As this year group prepare to leave us, we aim to develop sophistication, clarity, independence and appreciation in reading, writing and speaking. Texts include a selection of war poetry, The Pearl, Rebecca, Private Peaceful, Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry, and the films Twelve Angry Men, and Amazing Grace.
Head of English