Bookshelf

The English Department's Pledge...

Your Five Year Learning Journey...

Edexcel: Your GCSE Specification...

Knowledge Organisers and Independent Learning...

English

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'Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them'

- William Shakespeare (The Twelfth Night)


Our curriculum is aligned with the JSTC whole school curriculum intent and is designed to provide students with a range of learning experiences. Our curriculum is best understood through the answers to the following three questions:

Intent: Why do we teach what we teach?
Implementation: How do we teach what we teach?
Impact: How do we know what students have learned and how they have learned it?

 

Intent

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.

Implementation

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.

 

Impact

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.

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'Let knowledge grow more and more'

- Alfred Lord Tennyson


Studying English begins with learning vocabulary. Without words to read, write, speak or listen, we are unable to communicate in an effective way. To ensure that all students at JSTC develop knowledge and skills when accessing our broad and challenging curriculum, we utilise Knowledge Organisers across all five cohorts.

Knowledge Organising forms a large proportion of our independent learning and revision. By studying and completing activities on small sections each week, and revisiting learning until it is stored in our long term memory, students are able to build their vocabulary bank as a gradual approach

Want to know more about knowledge based learning?





 

'Unveil the intriguing history of words and exactly how they work; reveal the elusive secrets to achieve spelling success; provide strategies for vocabulary for all teachers across every subject and phase'

- Alex Quigley (Closing the Vocabulary Gap)


In English, we are a proud reading department who embeds Literacy at its very core. To ensure all students in Year 7 & 8 have learning experiences which develop academic excellence and resilience, we utilise an online learning platform within our independent learning policy. Bedrock Learning is a digital literacy curriculum designed for secondary students at all abilities and age ranges. Bedrock Learning is helping schools and parents transform learning and literacy equipping all learners with the knowledge they need to improve their educational outcomes. 




 

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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!

Holding a Book
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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.

Elementary School
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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!

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For more information regarding the purchase of revision materials for set GCSE texts, please contact Mrs Mountain or Mrs Powell at school.

Contact

Students and parents are encouraged to contact their tutor for any school related queries; however, should you wish to discuss our curriculum further, please contact:

Mrs Mountain - Second in English: L.Mountain@jstc.org.uk

Mrs Powell - Head of English / Assistant Headteacher: S.Powell@jstc.org.uk