Our Students' Views
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
Our underlying aim is to foster a love of literature and to develop confident writers and speakers. We encourage all our pupils to engage with all aspects of English from classic literature to modern media.
The English Department works towards covering the National Curriculum for KS 2 and 3: the aims of which are “to promote standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.” We believe it is of paramount importance that all our students are exposed to the highest quality of challenging texts whilst they are studying at Bredon Hill Academy.
We have designed our broad and balanced curriculum across the three years with this in mind. Our lessons are created in each scheme of learning to guide students through the English Canon in a sequential manner. Students are helped to understand how each generation of writers follows from that last and leads to the next. We focus upon how each writer develops their unique voice and how this voice then echoes down the centuries. We carefully foster the development of each student’s own voice in turn. We firmly believe that each student needs to “read as a writer and write as a reader”. We aim to teach grammar, spelling and punctuation that is firmly rooted within each text and explore each writer’s choice.
Through the three years at Bredon Hill Academy, we strive for all students to experience a range of opportunities that develops their world view, a confidence in their own beliefs and an ability to communicate those views to the wider community. We take part in theatre trips, live lessons, competitions, sponsored reading, national celebration days (World Poetry Day, World Book Day…) and cross-curricular learning. Alongside this, we offer a range of extracurricular opportunities to augment our formal curriculum in the shape of film, drama and writing clubs and enrichment.
“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”
In both key stages the broad skills and knowledge being delivered to classes are both similar, yet distinctly different as they rise in their challenge and depth:
- Reading non-fiction
- Reading fiction (short stories, novels, poetry and plays)
- Writing for different purposes (fiction and non-fiction)
- Speaking and listening skills
- Grammar, accuracy and terminology
- Library and reading journal lessons
The teaching approaches, specific content and methods of delivery and of formative assessment may vary between teachers in order to meet the needs of the learners in each group. We believe each group deserves a bespoke experience that pivots on the unique relationship between learner and teacher.
At Key Stage 2, pupils follow the National Curriculum where they are introduced to a range of texts from non-fiction linked through the thematic concept of journeys. We explore texts by Catherine Johnstone, Dylan Thomas, Lewis Carroll through to Philippa Pearce, Alex Bell, Amy Wilson, Ross Welford, they are introduced to Shakespeare and a range of poetry to name but a few.
At Key Stage 3, pupils follow the National Curriculum and study a range of areas comprising of fiction, non-fiction, media, creative writing, poetry, shared novel, Beowulf, Chaucer and Shakespeare.
In Year 7, pupils begin to explore the thematic concepts of heroes and villains. Our students begin to explore the history of the English Language through texts such as Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales. They examine their own voices through our unit on Heroes of Climate Change exploring The Eden Project and the ecological context of our own Academy’s eco and gardening awards. They continue to study Shakespeare’s language and explore the poetry from a range of poets exploring heroes and villains within varied texts. They also study a modern novel from a range: Louis Sachar, J.R.R Tolkien, John Grisham, David Almond to Sandy Stark-McGinnis.
In Year 8, pupils explore texts linked through the thematic concept of conflict. We read and study dystopian fiction, the art of rhetoric and persuasive writing as used by speech writers and speakers, a novel by one of the following authors: George Orwell, S.E. Hinton, Gill Walsh, Kate Saunders, Frances Hardinge, John Boyne, Philip Pullman and one full play by Shakespeare: The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice or Twelfth Night. They also explore pre and post 1914 poems through our unit on ‘The Others’ looking at how poets explore changing and challenging cultural views.
Pupils are encouraged to engage with the texts and topics being studied whilst practising and developing as readers, writers and orators. Underpinning this is the idea that they are agents of change in the ever-changing world community.
Pupils are taught in tutor groups on entry into the school and then organised into broad learning groups based on data collected: KS2 information from first schools, teacher assessment PiXL and GL assessments. Although pupils are broadly grouped by ability, their individual needs and requirements are also taken into account. Learning groups are flexible and reviewed throughout the first term to ensure that pupils are suitably placed to best meet their needs. Learners who require specific interventions and support have bespoke English timetables. They are placed in small groups where they receive monitored programmes of learning including Fresh Start. Groupings are reviewed at the end of Year 6 and at regular intervals throughout Key Stage 3. All groups follow the same broad curriculum and work is differentiated by the individual teachers to suit each group’s learning needs.
Additional Learning and Extra Curricular Opportunities Include:
Library access at lunch times.
Creative Writing Group.
KS3 Slam Poetry Competition.
Pop up Poetry and Reading Events.
Arts Showcase Evenings.
‘Reading for Good’ sponsored event every two years.
Scholastic Book Fairs twice a year.
Kindle Reading Group.
Reading buddies scheme (Year 8 and 6).
Year 7 Catch-up sessions.
Adult reading support.
World Book Day Events and competitions.
At Bredon Hill Academy we track our teaching and curriculum’s impact using a variety of methods whilst always considering the curriculum-related expectations for each year group. The English curriculum’s impact is monitored carefully through formative and summative assessment, monitoring of pupil books, pupil-teacher communication, knowledge and vocabulary shown in lessons and through our pupil voice. Assessment is ongoing. Students are given regular formative feedback and are set personal targets. Steps for improvement are linked to the needs of the individual and the departmental assessment framework. Students have summative assessments at the end of each unit and at key points through each year.
As a department, we believe the impact we have is shown ultimately through and by our confident, knowledgeable and thoughtful students.