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English, as a core subject, helps students to access the world around them and is the medium by which they learn all of their other subjects. For this reason, students have up to 4 lessons each week, during which we focus on developing students’ skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. These vital communication skills enable students to express themselves accurately and articulately both in the classroom and beyond. The knowledge rich curriculum in English at Ibstock Community College produces fully rounded students and an essential element of this curriculum is the development of a broad and rich vocabulary, and the ambitious and explicit teaching of this. Our lessons focus upon the role of knowledge in underpinning reading and understanding and offers a secure route to the higher standards that we’re continually seeking.
Each week, all students have a reading lesson within English where they are encouraged to investigate a range of texts and explore different genres, both in hard copies and digitally. Students are provided with a personal login to ‘Read Theory’, an online resource that they can access both at college and at home; it provides an excellent range of comprehension activities and also measures individual progress. In this way we promote an appreciation of the way English is used and of the diversity of language around us. At the same time, there is a focus on the ability to appreciate different perspectives and to develop empathy through wide reading.
In years 7 and 8 students are taught in mixed ability groups and are then set according to ability in year 9. Our English programmes of study prepare students for both English Language and Literature at GCSE. Students’ understanding and skills are regularly assessed through formative and summative assessments.
At Ibstock Community College we aim to provide students with a broad range of experiences in English, including extra-curricular and enrichment activities, so that students can engage with creative writing and with literature from different eras and cultures. Within the classroom we include activities and resources that are challenging and accessible and that are tailored to individual learning styles and needs.
What will our students learn about in English at Ibstock Community College?
Our students will develop their skills in writing for a wide range of purposes and audiences, including well-structured essays; stories, scripts, poetry and other imaginative writing; notes and scripts for talks and presentations and a range of other narrative and non-narrative texts, including arguments, and personal and formal letters.
They will read whole books, short stories, poems and plays with a wide coverage of genres, historical periods, forms and authors.
They will study setting, plot, themes and characterisation and make inferences; refer to evidence in the text and make critical comparisons across texts.
Grammar and Vocabulary
They will be taught to use accurate grammar, punctuation and spelling and they will learn new vocabulary and subject terminology and use these in their writing and speech to achieve particular effects. They will learn the differences between spoken and written language, including differences associated with formal and informal registers, and use Standard English confidently in their own writing and speech.
They will learn how to speak confidently and effectively using Standard English in a range of formal and informal contexts, including classroom discussion. They will give speeches and presentations, expressing their own ideas, and participate in formal debates and structured discussions. They will rehearse and perform play scripts and poetry and learn how to improvise and discuss language use and meaning, using role, intonation, tone, volume, mood, silence, stillness and action.
In year 7 the students focus on developing the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills that are essential throughout key stages 3 and 4. The course includes non-fiction writing styles that focus on adapting language to audience and purpose; an introduction to Shakespeare; and the comprehension and analysis of fiction and non-fiction texts.
In Year 8 the range of reading activities widens to include a more intense study of literature, non-fiction and media. This includes the study of literature from other cultures and a play by Shakespeare; students begin to develop formal analytical writing skills in response to these texts. In writing we practise more advanced skills that focus upon language, audience and purpose.
In the first term a greater part of the work is literature based, in order to prepare students for GCSE. Students analyse fiction, poetry, film and drama, including a play by Shakespeare and written responses are presented in detail and at length. Skills in writing are consolidated and refined, with emphasis placed on rhetorical devices and on language and its effect. In year 9 there is also a greater focus on reading and writing non-fiction texts, in order to prepare students for the changes to GCSE examinations.