What is our vision in English ?
We want our students to see English as a window to the world in a curriculum that engages, challenges and encourages creativity and curiosity.
Our students will experience a curriculum that is rich in cultural capital, broadening their world view, whether that is through poetry from Guyana or plays from Shakespeare’s London. Students will study a blend of great works of literary fiction and non-fiction as well dynamic modern texts. With a world around them that’s constantly changing, it is increasingly important that students become more informed critical thinkers who are able to take ownership of their own opinions, evidence them effectively and communicate them with confidence and integrity. This they construct through their own reading for meaning and writing for purpose across all units of work in all year groups. We work closely with other faculties, especially history, to ensure students have knowledge that can be transferred, shaping their understanding and enabling them to draw on this knowledge wherever needed. As one of our main passions is words, we dedicate a significant amount of time to helping students expand their vocabulary which is not only key to understanding, but also expression.
Reading for meaning and writing for purpose are at the core of all learning and these skills are constantly revisited so that students can use them accurately and effectively in their academic career as well as in their life beyond education. We know how important it is to be able to communicate clearly, confidently and precisely, whether this is in an interview, job application or within their personal relationships. Dedicated time spent on reviewing and editing written work helps to ensure this.
During a time when many students struggle with confidence, we encourage them to have their voice heard by giving them frequent opportunities to discuss, feedback and share their views verbally in a range of contexts.
English at KS3
Students are given the opportunity to read a wide variety of texts and are also encouraged to read for pleasure. We study a range of different texts such as short stories, poems, autobiographies and plays by a diverse range of authors.
In terms of writing skills, students complete narrative and descriptive writing tasks as well as exploring their thoughts and feelings within poetry and transactional writing.
Speaking and Listening is an essential skill in modern life and students are given many opportunities to practise speaking in groups or pairs, consider the views of others and give constructive feedback.
All year 7 and 8 lessons start with ‘D.E.A.R time’ (‘Drop Everything and Read’) and students are expected to have a book in their bag at all times. Accelerated Reader software is used to monitor students’ reading progress. Their ‘Star Tests’, which measure their progress in this, are taken in Computing lessons throughout the year. Students can quiz on finished A.R books in D.E.A.R time and at home, using the link on the school website.
Support for students
- Homework focusses on key vocabulary for the current unit and core skills.
- Knowledge Organisers are introduced from year 9.
- Google Classroom is used to distribute resources and help students stay up to date.
English at KS4
All students will study both English Language and Literature to GCSE level. At Oathall we use the AQA exam board. This will include reading comprehension, original writing and a spoken component.
Throughout the course students will have regular revision lessons and exam practice to support their progress.
English Language and Literature
In Key Stage 4, students write using figurative language (narrative and descriptive writing), read fiction (different cultures, prose, Shakespeare and poetry) and work on their Speaking and Listening skills.
They also explore transactional writing, speaking and listening, non-fiction, literature texts (play and prose selected from the AQA exam board list.
Extended Learning Opportunities in English
- Year 7-11 Creative Writing Club
- Year 7-8 Book Club
- Year 9 Amazing Book Awards Book Club
- Year 10 Southern Schools Book Awards
- Year 10 Carnegie Shadowers Book Club
- School trips to local theatres and author visits are organised whenever possible.
Support for students
Google Classrooms are available to support students missing lessons and to guide revision.
The Librarian is also available to support students with their reading in a more personalised way.
Useful revision websites
How can parents and carers support learning ?
Parents can support students by helping them to learn their topic vocabulary words. Helping them to understand the correct usage as well as the spelling will enable students to develop their academic voice and express their opinions clearly.
Reading with your child, asking them about what they are reading – both fiction and non-fiction – has significant benefits to their ability to access not just the English curriculum, but the wider curriculum as a whole. It is also a fantastic way to develop concentration and to relax after a long day at school! West Sussex local libraries use the Libby App which enables students to read or listen to a wide range of fiction and non fiction free of charge.
We also suggest that parents encourage their child to be aware of what’s happening in the news. The non-fiction exam for GCSE could be on any topic and therefore a broad and wide ranging interest and experience supports students with personal experiences and ideas to draw on. Students can access many trusted news websites such as the BBC and Guardian free of charge.