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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 7 lessons a fortnight in KS3 and 9 lessons a fortnight in KS4, 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.
Year 7 and 8 start every lesson with 10 minutes of silent reading to build an aspirational culture within the school and all students are encouraged to select books at an appropriately challenging level. Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 take part in a 200 Word Challenge creative writing task every fortnight, producing high quality work with a real focus on students being independent and taking the time to improve their vocabulary, knowledge of writing techniques and ability to adapt to a range of tasks.
The curriculum in Years 7-9 has been designed to incorporate a range of diverse texts and forms of English whilst still ensuring students have the opportunity to study a different Shakespeare play every year. The aim of the curriculum is to 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.
All year groups are taught in mixed ability groups to allow all students to flourish and develop their love of the subject. Our English programmes of study at KS3 prepare students for both English Language and Literature at GCSE. Students’ understanding and skills are regularly assessed through formative and summative assessments.
At KS4, we use the Eduqas examination board for both English Language and English Literature, where students will aim to achieve a pass in two GCSE level subjects. In English Language, students will develop their ability to read and write both fiction and non-fiction texts. In English Literature, students will study a modern play (An Inspector Calls), a Shakespeare play (Romeo and Juliet) a Victorian novel (A Christmas Carol) as well as an anthology of 18 poems and an unseen poetry unit.
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 transactional writing.
They will read whole books, short stories, poems and plays with a wide coverage of genres, historical periods, forms and authors. We have endeavoured to select texts across KS3 from diverse modern writers (such as Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s ‘The Girl of Ink and Stars’ in Y7, Malorie Blackman’s ‘Noughts and Crosses’ play in Y8) whilst also blending in aspects of traditional storytelling (such as an adaptation of Oliver Twist in Y7, Susan Hill’s ‘The Woman in Black’ in Y8) to allow students to hear voices from a range of backgrounds and experiences.
Study setting, plot, themes and characterisation and make inferences; refer to evidence in the text and make critical comparisons across texts.
Grammar and Vocabulary
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.
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 at least once a year from Y7-Y10, 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 is structured by themes and students will explore ‘Monsters and Myths’ in Term 1, ‘Magic and Dreams’ in Term 2 and ‘Heroes and Villains’ in Term 3.
In Year 8 the range of reading activities widens to include a more intense study of literature and non-fiction. The course is still structured by theme and will include ‘The Gothic Tradition’ in Term 1, ‘Conflict and Community’ in Term 2 and ‘Places and Perspectives’ in Term 3. In writing we practise more advanced skills that focus upon language, audience and purpose.
In Year 9, students will read a range of literature designed to prepare them for GCSE and will begin some of their foundation work on the texts which they will sit in their GCSE English Literature exams. Students will start the year with a dystopian extracts unit supported by a speaking and listening project. They will also read a novel which explore power and prejudice alongside a selection of protest poetry. During the final term of Year 9, students will start their GCSE content, studying Priestley’s play ‘An Inspector Calls’ and William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. 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.
Year 10 and Year 11
In Year 10, students will continue their work on GCSE English Language and English Literature by studying the content set for their GCSE exams by the Eduqas examination board. In English Language, this includes fiction reading, fiction writing, non-fiction reading and non-fiction writing, as well as a speaking and listening unit which requires students to perform a speech to the class. In English Literature, students will study ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘A Christmas Carol’, an anthology of poetry and an unseen poetry unit. They will have developed the skills throughout their KS3 English here at Ibstock, enabling them to achieve results they are proud of and which they are deserving of by the end of Year 11.