We strive to provide all students with a broad ranging, enriching, academically ambitious English curriculum to ensure achievement is as high as possible and life chances are as wide as possible. Our English curriculum offer is inclusive and accessible to all, offering all our students, regardless of their personal context, the opportunity to enjoy 'the full English' - a rich and varied diet of texts from different genres, writers and time periods that inspire our students to be imaginative and independent thinkers and writers who are unafraid to challenge themselves and others, demonstrating respect, responsibility and resilience.. We aim for our students to not only achieve academic excellence but to embrace life-long values of learning, equality, diversity and inclusion through a passionate study of language and literature.
It is imperative that students are skilled in literacy and English for them to engage in fully in life and achieve personal fulfilment. As English teachers, we do not take on this responsibility lightly. Students at JSTC progress through a five-year English learning journey that is built up on the requirements of the National Curriculum developing the knowledge, skills and understanding required to achieve in GCSE examinations at the end of Year 11. Key Stage 3 progress is measured using Pearson assessment materials and departmsteps which are directly linked to final GCSE assessment objectives and success criteria. Whole-school literacy strategies are powered by English and shared with other subjects.
We teach a curriculum that goes beyond teaching examination approaches. We have a content-rich curriculum that builds social and cultural capital by embedding a love of texts in all their forms, from all periods of time and embracing all cultures. We ensure we teach British values, and we always teach texts in context, encouraging students to appreciate that context includes their voice. Our text choices embrace the literary canon but are not limited by it; we actively talk to our students about how books are powerful and how they can change minds and the world we live in. Therefore, we explicitly advocate equality, diversity, and inclusion so that our students learn to not only respect difference but celebrate it too. Our teaching of writing is balanced equally with reading and spoken language; we believe the students are inspired to be writers by reading, discussion and debate. We do not shy away from our responsibilities as English teachers to teach social, moral, spiritual, and cultural values (SMSC) to the young people in our care; our well-chosen, diverse texts provide the opportunity to have those sensitive discourses. We actively support the mental health and wellbeing of our students by inviting them to talk openly and deeply about what is going on in the world and what matters to them as young people.
English as a subject is in the enviable position of naturally involving others: we look to build cultural capital by connecting literature with other subjects, especially PSHCE, history, art, and geography. We aim to further enrich other student’s life experiences by offering them opportunities they may not readily have to experience language, literature and the arts through real world writing, competitions, live performances at the theatre and in-house through live streaming and visits.
In both key stages, we provide students with the opportunity to revisit and consolidate knowledge, understanding and skills through the interleaving of content. Students’ independent learning is built around a process of interleaving topics, knowledge organisers and self-testing. This places the responsibility on students for their home learning and supports the development of long-term memory which is key to learning success.
In English lessons, students are encouraged to take show courage, and accept that the process of learning involves making mistakes. We encourage reflection and metacognitive talk in the classroom. In this way, students develop personal and group resilience as they strive towards the mastery of both the skills and knowledge required to achieve academic excellence.
We are a department in a secondary modern school within a selective area serving some of the most deprived neighbourhoods nationally, but we always have high expectations of our students. We strive to realise our intention to deliver deep social justice by always aiming to expect more from our students in terms of outcomes.
We achieve pleasing measurable outcomes as demonstrated in our three-year trend of improving outcomes. Our teacher assessed grades for language and literature were externally moderated in the summer of 2021, achieving 72% 9-4 grades in English Language and 77% 9-4 grades in English Literature. Our internal, department assessment, standardisation and moderation processes are robust.
English has a strong, leading profile throughout the school; students have a positive regard for the subject and their respect is visible on our external literary tvisits and in online book events ; they are regularly praised by the external organisers for their high-level engagement, passion and intelligent questions.
It is important to mention that our students generally don’t want to leave us. They know that we care about them and value them not for their GCSE results but as well-rounded young people with a firm moral compass demonstrating the school ethos of respect, responsibility and resilience. Leave us they must, for they are confident and ready to walk their chosen pathways and make a success of their lives.
Enriching our students' learning experiences...
Poetry Live, also known as Poetry Live! for GCSE, is a series of annual events in venues across the UK where poets perform their poetry to English school children. The JSTC English Department proudly hosts school trips to this event on an annual basis. For more information, click the link!
Learning recovery to bridge the academic gap...
Reading Buddies is a simple evidence-based programme that is used to help children with reading in Y7. Reading Buddies encourages children to read more independently, to promote a love of books and to become more positive about reading in general. Y9 mentors support our students in this programme.
Promoting academic resilience and independence...
At JSTC, we promote independence at every learning stage. To support academic progress, we utilise a series of revision and independent learning platforms. These cover both courses to allow students to explore 'the full English'. For more information, click the links!