In our English Department, we believe that developing a student’s love of the subject should be at the heart of their learning experience. We pride ourselves on delivering engaging lessons that are tailored to the specific and individual needs of our students.
We understand that many students may not have had a positive experience of studying English in the past and we make it our mission to provide an engaging and focused learning environment that enables students to rediscover their love of English language and literature to achieve their full potential. Students who are successful learners in English can enjoy increased achievement across other areas of the curriculum; we are proud of the increasing number of students showing a positive attitude to reading with the diverse and topical texts we have to offer and incorporate into our lessons on a daily basis.
At Key Stage 3 we focus on developing and mastering Reading, Writing and Speaking & Listening skills in accordance with age related expectations suitable for our provision. Units of work will allow for exploration of both fiction and non-fiction texts, including both pre-1914 and contemporary literature, poetry and drama (where applicable.) Throughout each unit, teachers focus on the development of a particular skill set from our specific mastery descriptors and, using a range of teaching resources, allow for differentiation across a spectrum of abilities. Working in small groups enables us to adapt to the students’ needs whilst ensuring they are appropriately challenged to reach their potential.
Students will also study spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) to reinforce and build on their learning and any gaps to help them integrate successfully into KS4. Students may also study basic English skills such as phonics and sentence demarcation in intervention groups following regular progress and data checks after entry and SENCO testing.
At Key Stage 4, students will work towards a recognised qualification that will prepare them for life beyond The ACB. These qualifications include AQA GCSEs in English Language and Literature (optional), Pearson Entry Level Certificate in English and Level 1/2 Functional Skills. These qualifications allow for students to have the opportunity to continue their education at college, apply for apprenticeship or successfully enter the workplace post education.
English Curriculum Plan
At The Academy of Central Bedfordshire, students follow a variety of English courses appropriate to their level. All students study Pearson Functional Skills at an appropriate level (Entry Level through to Level 2), with most students also working towards a GCSE in English Language. This allows us to focus on maximising the literacy skills of our students, often through ‘real world’ examples and ensures that no students leave The ACB without the literacy skills they need.
Most students will achieve Functional Skills qualifications and a GCSE in the process, ensuring students are proficient in reading comprehension and have the range of writing skills they will need as a fully functional adult, whilst also enabling them to access a wider range of Post-16 provisions.
Where students are identified as needing additional support to acquire these skills, we differentiate and build additional literacy into their lessons and can improve their confidence through Entry Level activities (pre GCSE) which provide them with evidence of the progress they are making, no matter how small.
Functional Skills English can be taken at any point in the year so long as we provide evidence that each student has a high chance of passing. We also take into consideration that students feel confident and comfortable to sit the examinations. It is therefore possible for students to build up a range of qualifications in English by the end of Year 9, including Entry Level, Level 1 (Level 2 Functional Skills for G+T students), and finally achieve a GCSE in English in the final term of Year 11.
(Curriculum design, coverage and appropriateness)
At The ACB, we aim to create confident communicators, readers, writers and thinkers. Through study of a range of literature (classic and modern) and careful delivery/pitch of our qualifications, we strive to enable our students to lead and manage the best possible lives during and after they leave us.
We believe that a quality English curriculum should foster, improve and develop our young people’s love of reading, writing, discussion and debate. We aim to inspire an appreciation of the written word through reading songs, poems, articles, novels and nonfiction texts, and to develop pupils socially, emotionally, culturally, intellectually and spiritually.
We acknowledge that our young people come to us at The ACB with a range of experiences in English as a subject and so recognise the importance of building confidence through speaking and listening, giving students the opportunity to voice their ideas and opinions before committing these to the page. Communication and reading is central to the overall aim of our provision and English is one of many opportunities in which students are given the chance to be heard. We believe that our students need to develop a secure knowledge-base in literacy to be able to confidently transition from KS3 into KS4 so ensure that our schemes of work include regular exposure to key requirements from the Secondary National Curriculum but also Functional Skills and GCSE skills, suited to specific learners.
(Curriculum delivery, teaching and assessment)
Collaborative curriculum planning across both sites lies at the heart of what we do in the department. Liaising with other schools (both similar and different to our setting,) communication with subject specialists and research helps inform our planning to ensure we are delivering purposeful lessons.
Our curriculum, teaching and assessments form a backbone to our mission statement - RISE UP (resilience, innovation, success, equality, understanding and personable.)
Examples of how our curriculum supports this mission statement are the range of activities that demand students to think inquiringly and independently, developing their ability to articulate ideas confidently and thoughtfully.
Enthusiasm is modelled by all staff and individually praised in our students who are engaged and we want every student at The ACB to be motivated within themselves to do well. As a department, we understand the powerful knowledge our students need and help them recall it by having a carefully planned progression through our curriculum with content and skills clearly defined in our schemes of work which have a regular focus on learned content. We have recently created a concept book encompassing 38 key skills required in KS3 to confidently enter KS4. In addition, bespoke knowledge organisers are also being created to accompany half termly units to encourage students’ long term memory.
Some learners are assessed as and when they produce a substantial piece of work with suitable time in between to capture progress or otherwise. Certain students will complete past papers based on the appropriate qualifications.
(Attainment and progress, destinations)
By the time pupils leave the ACB they will have read a variety of different kinds of texts; both fiction and non-fiction. They will also be much more confident readers and confident writers and should be able to clearly express their opinion on a range of topics through the lexical set they would have developed in English lessons.
GCSE learners, in particular, will become critical thinkers who are able to analyse a range of writing in detail and produce a range of writing for different purposes.
Functional Skills learners will know how to determine the difference between formal and informal writing and will know when to use language appropriately to suit different audiences.
Reading and literacy will continue to be promoted throughout the whole school. This will hopefully improve students' attitude to reading and tackle the stigma of reading that lies within a lot of our cohort. Following the work we do, students will be proud of what they do and will allow for us as a school to celebrate their achievements openly.
Ultimately, the impact of our English curriculum will see our learners leave to go to college, apprenticeship or to enter the world of work with the necessary communication and literacy skills to survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive and unpredictable world.
We follow a curriculum in Functional Skills English based around Edexcel Functional Skills syllabus including a focus on literacy skills in a variety of workplace situations. This includes speaking and listening activities preparing for an interview, letter and email writing asking for advice and about complaints, a focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar and we cover a broad variety of reading skills.
GCSE English Language
We follow the AQA GCSE English Language 8700 syllabus with the majority of our students. This syllabus content includes developing skills in writing to express thoughts and opinions, writing for effect and being able to extract and summarise information from texts. We study a variety of topics and texts when building these skills to support students to engage in all aspects of developing their literacy.
GCSE English Literature
We offer AQA GCSE English Literature 8702 as an option for some of our students. We follow the AQA syllabus and are currently studying Romeo and Juliet, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TIme, A Christmas Carol and a selection of poetry based on power and conflict. Through this course, students are supported to develop their analytical skills and develop their understanding and practice of formulating their ideas into an essay.