The English Department at St Michael’s is fully committed to ensuring that every student makes progress. The team instils in students an understanding of the importance of the subject, generating creativity alongside teaching essential skills to ensure that students understand the power of language. Enjoyment and adapting the curriculum to suit the needs of individual cohorts helps drive curriculum change and adaptation year on year. Beyond the curriculum, the department is committed to nurturing a love of reading and helping students to develop an understanding of their place in the world.
Our curriculum will provide our students with:
- Opportunities to discover our literary cultural heritage in conjunction with an awareness of its impact upon modern modes of thought and expression. Students will explore the power of the word in a variety of genres and time periods.
- Opportunities to discover their own place within our shared culture and to make explicit some of those links in the chain of thought that have led to our modern entertainment, principles, philosophies and national identity.
- The understanding that we can and should make predictions about any text (both fiction and non-fiction) by asking a set of initial questions and becoming our own theorists. It will provide students with the powerful knowledge that can too often be hidden from view and in doing so help to make the implicit, explicit.
- The knowledge that there are a set of fundamental universal and timeless themes/ideas that influence the intentions of writers and this spans the entire chronology of literary canon including what will become the canon of the future as these ideas/themes transcend the boundaries of time. E.g. Class divide, abuse of power, gender boundaries and inequality. The span of study will allow students to understand the development of English within its national context and the British values that canonical writings have shaped.
- An understanding that they too are connected to these universal and timeless themes/ideas and this can inform their own personal responses to a text and have an impact on their view of the world.
- An ability to acquire a control over language (both written and spoken) so that they can discover the potential power it can have and can give. They will explore the nature of our language, its connotations, universal symbolisms and signification with which we, and the creators of culture, communicate.
- An exploration of intertextuality – an empowering element of our shared cultural capital.
Learning is embedded through the development of knowledge and skills over time and through overlapping concepts and skills through a blended curriculum for Language and Literature in KS3 and then a more subject-specific curriculum in KS4. Assessments combine stand-alone and cumulative assessments in order to assess what skills have
been developed throughout the year. A series of formative, standardised assessments allow for an accurate picture of performance across the subject and the adaptation of schemes to react to the data gathered from these assessments. Progression is mapped against school-based targets and the evaluation of current cohorts (in relation to KS2 data) provides opportunities for reworking and reshaping the curriculum for the needs of each new cohort. Adapted and differentiated schemes and texts allow for effective differentiation, marking and feedback and stretch for more-able students through STAR challenges, text choices and higher level schemes of work.
By the end of KS3, pupils will have experienced a wide selection of texts and writing styles from across the canon and our shared linguistic milieu. Pupils will be able to comment upon the effect of language, its purpose and intent, effectively evaluate the successes and demerits of linguistic and figurative devices and offer sophisticated interpretations of writers’ messages. Furthermore, pupils will be able to understand texts within the historical and cultural context in which they were composed and explore the allegorical teachings of those texts and how their social, moral, cultural, and spiritual messages may impact upon the reader.
In addition to the cultural impact of their learning, pupils will be able to compose analytical essays that interpret metaphors and their wider allegorical implications, write for specific purposes and for a wide range of audiences by constructing creative and entertaining texts.
By the end of KS4, pupils will be able to apply a set of analytical, evaluative and interpretive skills to a varied range of texts. Pupils will have a secure understanding of the role of context in the production of texts and how the linguistic content is conceived with a set of specific purposes and intents. In addition to the acquisition of cultural capital, pupils will gain the ability to approach both their English Language and Literature examinations with a deeper awareness of the requirements of the assessment criteria and will be able to confidently tackle texts with which they have not been previously acquainted. Overall, the cumulative impact of skills acquired at KS3 and KS4 will enable pupils to confidently engage with the linguistic world that they inhabit and effectively manage the demands of their summative examinations in Year 11.