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Our Intent:

Our English curriculum aims to embed an enthusiasm and love for reading, writing and speaking and listening through communal reading of novels, plays, poetry and non-fiction.  Students will begin to understand how contextual factors influence communications and the power of literature to make social commentary, impart morality and convince people.  Ultimately, our curriculum prepares students to be successful communicators, who see the value of textual study and understand different viewpoints, appropriate formality and emotions.  Altwood’s students can analyse, evaluate and critically respond to written communication to learn, understand and question meanings in all forms of fiction and non-fiction, and are able to use language to share their ideas and opinions with empathy, sensitivity and maturity.  Our curriculum supports young people in using language technically to convey ideas and concepts with precision and clarity. 

This means:

  • Reading a variety of texts from different eras, cultures and genres.
  • Forming and imparting well-developed opinions and arguments using the appropriate style and language.
  • Understanding and engaging in a range of written forms including poetry and play texts.
  • Developing a growing awareness of how current social, historical and political contexts influence writers.
  • Being able to articulate their ideas in the written form using accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar, with appropriate formality, creativity and flair.

The offer in English is informed by the National Curriculum and the assessment objectives from the AQA GCSE English Language and Literature syllabi. Using the programmes of study and the glossary provided by the National Curriculum, our students follow a progressive curriculum, where reading and comprehension skills are revisited using more challenging texts, more complex morals and higher reading ages to strengthen the students’ skills. 

Within each academic year, in KS3, students will explore a fictional novel/novella, a play text, poetry and spoken language. The understanding of language features will be taught alongside all textual analysis. The curriculum deliberately revisits these fundamental areas of English with an increasing level of challenge and depth. For example, in Year 7 students will look at poetry with a focus on meaning and techniques, in Year 8 students are introduced to ‘TSMILE’ with a greater focus on analysis and empathy, by Year 9 students will be expected to compare poems formulating opinions on the similarities and differences.  Finally, the contextual requirements of Assessment Objective 3 at GCSE English Literature are tackled at Year 10 with the AQA Poetry anthology.   

Students start Year 7 with the study of a fictional text, ‘Private Peaceful’; this text has been carefully selected to achieve the aim of encouraging an enthusiasm for reading. The text is appropriately challenging but short enough in length to ensure students complete a novel within their first term.  The communal act of reading should promote the love of literature and whilst the complex structure and the twist at the end of the text promotes excitement and engagement in character and storytelling.  The morality and war context also prepare students well for later study. 

Whilst ensuring that students acquire the skills and knowledge they will need for their GCSE studies and their future, each year at KS3 has a thematic undercurrent. This thematic element supports the development of the whole student and their understanding of the wider world in which they live. In Year Seven, students find their voice, they form opinions, listen to the opinions of others and understand the importance of respecting different viewpoints, cultures and communities. In Year Eight, students reflect on what others have said about the world and how they have said it, beginning to understand technical analysis in line with the National Curriculum glossary.  In Year Nine, students link their learning to more concrete elements of reality as they grapple with politics and social messages, linking context to texts. Examples include the historical knowledge required to understand Wily Russell’s “Blood Brothers” and a selection of works by Charles Dickens.  Students complete Year 9 by reading a whole Shakespeare play, (“Macbeth”) understand plot, character and theme (AQA Assessment Objective 1) in preparation for writing analytical essays in Year 10, where Assessment Objectives 2 and 3 will be introduced.