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English

Intent

At St Matthias Academy, we believe the skills of reading, writing and communicating effectively are essential if students are to make the most of life’s opportunities and interact successfully with the world around them. We strive to overcome barriers to learning, address cumulative dysfluency and re-engage students in a core subject that students often see as daunting. By offering a varied curriculum that has reading skills at its heart, whilst preparing students to access the broader English curriculum, we aim to empower students and instil the self-belief needed to flourish in English and beyond. Each term is structured to allow students to focus on both literature and language and nurture skills such as reading fluently, language and structural analysis, and communicating effectively both verbally and in writing.

We choose challenging and engaging texts and topics to stimulate discussion and debate and actively promote the British values of tolerance and respect. These texts are from a range of cultural backgrounds and aim to help our students develop empathy and knowledge of the world around them. Students benefit from a multimedia approach with opportunities for discussion and creativity throughout.  They will have the opportunity to be creative, enter competitions and win prizes for their work.

Implementation

KS3

At Key Stage 3, students follow the national curriculum. Students benefit from engaging with both classic and contemporary literature as well as non-fiction texts. Students’ skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening are developed through a broad range of topics and engaging texts. At KS3, these include adventure writing, poetry from different perspectives, Shakespeare, gothic horror, crime fiction, war poetry, Face by Benjamin Zephaniah and The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis. Students are given the opportunity to study extracts, poetry, plays and a novel.

KS4

At Key Stage 4, year 10 students study both language and literature through themed topical units, including the opportunity to study conflict and power poetry, An Inspector Calls and Romeo and Juliet. These units aim to engage students with a variety of different writing styles, reading materials and lively discussion. Each topic includes elements of both fiction and non-fiction. Year 11 students follow an intensive skills-focused programme of study to prepare them for the AQA English Language GCSE and the AQA Step Up to English qualification.

Accreditation Offer (with link to exam boards)

AQA English Language GCSE

https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse/english-language-8700

AQA Step Up to English Qualification

https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/elc/step-up-to-english-5970

Impact

The initial induction period at St Matthias Academy allows us to identify skills gaps and target areas in the form of Prisum baseline assessments in reading and writing, and reading age assessments. Impact is measured regularly through re-assessment using Prisum and this cycle of reflection drives a fluid and reflexive approach to teaching and planning. As a result of the approach we use, pupils make expected or better than expected progress. Last year, 100% of our Year 11 students achieved qualifications in English.