List of TLR Holders and their responsibilities:
Mr E Fearon - Head of Department
Mr J Heaton - Curriculum improvement leader
Mrs S Jenkinson - Assessment & intervention leader
Miss H Cook - Pedagogy & research leader

Department aims:

This department strives to provide every Upper School student at Robert May’s School with the personalised and structured support that they will need to achieve the best possible outcomes at GCSE level.

Our aim with Lower School students is to encourage a love of English in the broadest possible terms, encompassing the exploration of literature and its role in understanding humanity as well as the study of the power of language and the crafts of writing and oracy.  For each student, we should build the foundation of essential skills required to succeed in further study and future employment.

Approaches to teaching and learning:

We focus on reading a wide range of stories and exploring a breadth of characters, plot and conventions, to build conceptual and genre understanding.  Progress in skills and understanding is prioritised over whole text study.  We focus on lines of enquiry and investigation to foster independent creative thinking about texts.  We create opportunities to read and write different types of text throughout each unit and we also create opportunities for wider reading and structured, exploratory talk.  We believe in exploring texts from a wide range of different voices, reflecting different life experiences, to ensure students are encouraged to empathise with new and different perspectives.

In the classroom, we believe in putting the hardest question first, foregrounding the conceptual and the complex to ensure that extension is our expectation for all students, rather than a garnish for a minority.  We support understanding of challenging ideas by breaking hard questions down, rather than climbing up from simplest terms.  We use targeted and inclusive questioning to assess learning and create a climate of universal accountability. We strive to avoid empty praise, or praise which stifles further listening or thinking.  Our ideal classroom is one where students feel assured in their answers because they feel safe to contribute and certain that their thinking is logical, rooted in evidence and refined through rigorous thinking and structured talk - not because their teacher has endorsed it.  We use flipped learning techniques and extra-curricular opportunities to inform and extend classroom learning.

Why the department has adopted this curriculum plan: (Curriculum Intent):

We believe that students make the most progress in English when they are taught in a challenging mixed ability environment that fosters conceptual thinking through creative exploration of a wide variety of texts and through structured classroom discussion that encourages deeper thought.

Principles of sequencing learning in this subject: 

Our curriculum is sequenced so that each term’s enquiry lays the groundwork for future study, exploring concepts that are linked to aspects of our GCSE curriculum.  Within each term’s topic, we will have one reading and one writing outcome as the main focus and instrument of summative assessment, but will also ensure that we create opportunities for students to both read and write a variety of text types along the way, so that established skills don’t lapse.

How students will receive feedback to enhance their knowledge and skills:

  • Students receive verbal feedback through detailed and challenging questioning in the classroom.
  • Students receive written feedback on work that they produce in preparation for formal assessment.  This will include a mix of structured self and peer assessment and also teacher feedback.
  • Students receive written (printed) feedback on their summative assessments, with reflection tasks designed to help them improve their understanding.

Reading Lists: 

There are recommended reading lists for each term of the Lower School curriculum, linked to the main enquiry question.  These are published via the VLE, are available on the School Library catalogue website and are on posters in classrooms.

Extracurricular and enrichment:  

We offer a range of clubs and activities for both creative reading and writing.  We bring authors / poets into school to speak to students and plan to re-launch theatre trips soon.

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural opportunities:  

These are embedded throughout the curriculum as we study texts that touch on a range of social and cultural issues.

Character development and British Values opportunities:

Our most explicit exploration of British culture and values come in our Year 7 unit,”What is British culture?”.

Subject Documents Date  
Learning Journey English 01st Sep 2022 Download
English Curriculum Information 01st Sep 2022 Download