English Curriculum

 

Reading

  • Each school day begins with an intensive reading session of between 25-35 minutes. During this time pupils work towards achieving their individual reading targets. With guidance from tutors and English teachers, pupils select their reading books from our Reading Resource Centre.
  • Reading is also an integral part of every lesson and takes many varied forms.
  • Reading tasks are meaningful and, where possible, relevant to the interests of the students.
  • In addition to the Reading Resource Centre, there is also a well-stocked library at Frewen with a wide selection of both fiction and non-fiction texts.  These are presented in both traditional book form and also as e-readers and interactive digital texts that are part of our e-library. Pupils are encouraged to borrow books from here and many pupils choose to use the library during their break-times.
  • We encourage pupils to read at home and provide opportunities for both staff and pupils to share their thoughts about books that they have read.
  • We encourage pupils to read independently with a variety of reward systems and regularly become involved in national reading challenges and initiatives.

Spelling

  • Spelling is taught according to the needs of the student. The high frequency words identified in the National Literacy Strategy are tested and individual targets are set for each pupil. All pupils at KS3 build up personal spelling and vocabulary dictionaries which are also include subject specific vocabulary and key words.
  • Phonological awareness training (PAT) is undertaken on a daily basis for those pupils who require it.
  • Synthetic phonics underpins the teaching approach. This is differentiated using a variety of schemes. Phonemes and their grapheme choices remain a mainstay of the teaching of spelling and teachers present these by using the same picture cues for each sound ensuring continuity of approach as pupils progress within the English Department.
  • We encourage the use of dictionaries and spell check and have a variety of dyslexia specific strategies both within the classroom and also installed on our ICT network and intranet system.
  • Regardless of spelling age and ability, work is varied and age appropriate.

Speaking

  • Communication is acknowledged as a crucial life skill.
  • Each pupil has the opportunity to gain experience of class, group, and paired discussion, open ended questioning and comprehension work.
  • GCSE English and Entry Level Certificate speaking and listening assessments, including role-play, are an integral part of the course.
  • ESB Speech exams are planned and taken in years 9 and 11.

Creative work

  • Creative work is assisted by the use of novels, poetry, pictures, short stories, non fiction texts, extracts and discussion on a theme. These are presented in a multi-sensory way, including pictorial, live performances, talking books, e-books and pupil dramatisations as well as the more usual written forms. 
  • When writing creatively, marking is modified to take into account the learning intention of the task. Drafting and re-drafting are important skills in this area and copies are kept to show progression.   A variety of supportive approaches are used to scaffold this process. Writing frames help pupils to structure their work. Dictaphones are provided where appropriate and a variety of new technology is constantly being appraised to find the most effective methods for our pupils to convert their ideas into written form. Voice recognition software maybe suitable for some of our older pupils.
  • Computers can be used for best copy.
  • Evidence of the following elements of creative writing may be annotated on pieces of work where limited literacy skills result in an end product that may not reflect a pupils underlying abilities.
    • understanding
    • expression of sustained ideas
    • effective description
    • imaginative thought
    • plot development
    • characterisation  

Factual writing

  • Writing for different purposes, as outlined in the National Literacy Strategy, includes letter/postcard writing (formal and informal), form filling, reports, directions, order forms and other kinds of writing for a variety of audiences. Again, these are scaffolded to suit individual learning styles such as the provision of writing frames, real life experiences to make the writing meaningful and drawing on pupils’ personal experiences and interests. 
  • Factual writing at Frewen has strong cross-curricular links with our KS4 BTEC, Careers and Life Skills courses. Further down the school we also make strong links and support work with humanities topics to ensure pupils are more able to transfer their skills from one curriculum area to another.
  • Discursive writing is modelled through debate and discussion. These are often set in meaningful contexts such as the school council, or focussed tasks such as a recent KS4 activity where pupils traded stocks and shares and justified decisions in a mock stock market situation.
  • Reviews of books, websites, theatre shows, films and other media form an important part of factual writing at Frewen. Pupils are encouraged to be critical and to back up opinion with evidence from a variety of source materials.

Comprehension

  • Weekly comprehension work is undertaken using individual reading books, group and class texts. Work is very carefully differentiated to encourage pupils to gain independent work skills during these kinds of tasks.
  • Cross-curricular links are established to ensure that keywords and subject specific vocabulary is consolidated wherever possible. All pupils at KS3 build up an individual spelling and vocabulary dictionary to ensure that knowledge and understanding is effectively transferred from one curriculum area to another. 
  • Discussion methods and open-ended questioning is used to improve logical thought and structure in answers.
  • Texts are carefully selected which are age appropriate, reading age appropriate and interesting, taking into consideration the interests of the students.
  • Vocabulary is expanded by use of dictionaries, thesaurus, spell check and computer programmes.
  • Keywords are consolidated in a variety of ways including pre-cueing techniques to ensure better understanding later on.

Grammar

  • Basic grammar is taught and related to the student’s own work. Individual targets are set on pupils’ IEPs.
  • Use of capital letters, full stops, sentences and paragraphs are consolidated on many levels.
  • Adjectives and adverbs should be used to build more complex sentence structures and are taught through teacher modelling with pupil interaction and multi-sensory consolidation.
  • For GCSE and Entry Level Certificate coursework a basic level of grammar should be expected.

Presentation

  • Presentation of work is important. Neatness is expected and where possible, developed using a cursive hand.
  • A handwriting scheme is used to support the teaching of handwriting. Pupils work at their own individual levels and additional support in provided by our Occupational Therapist. Where appropriate, recommendations by our therapists are followed up in class.
  • If a student has a neat non-cursive style, there is no need to change.
  • Work can be word-processed and touch-typing is taught and encouraged at Frewen if a student has the ability.