At Newton Abbot College, our English Curriculum is designed to allow students to experience Literature as a mode of communication that simultaneously reflects the society it is a product of, reflects an individual’s experiences and is the product of a reader’s own personal response. Our students are taught to recognise that English Language and Literature is about finding a voice, and our curriculum strives to represent both those traditional voices, alongside the voices of those who have not always been heard. We believe that students are entitled to powerful knowledge, and consequently our curriculum engages students with famous canonical works, which we invite students to study with a critical eye, alongside more contemporary and diverse texts. Students are exposed to a wide range of Literary conventions and forms, and given the disciplinary language needed to identify, discuss and analyse these forms.
Built around our key threshold concepts, including the understanding that the text is a construct and that language is a powerful tool for writer’s communication, our curriculum is ambitious and wide ranging. Students are taught the disciplinary skills of analysis and evaluation across a range of forms and modes of writing, as well how to craft their own writing to communicate skilfully using vocabulary of the highest level. Sequenced to ensure a broad range of study, as well as allowing students the time to revisit and build on key knowledge, our curriculum empowers our students to become articulate, powerful communicators who understand their own Literary heritage and the power of English in their own world.
Our students will understand that:
- Text are constructs
- Literature is a mode of communication that has evolved over time, and is reflective of society, periods in history and social contexts
- All writing uses language and structure as powerful tools in their communication
- Writers can manipulate language for creativity, argument and criticism
- The reader is a consumer of the text who can form their own interpretations, evaluate and criticise texts they are given
First and foremost, our curriculum is designed to be both progressive and iterative. The curriculum is built to ensure that key concepts, conventions and procedural knowledge are introduced, revisited and built upon as students progress through our seven year curriculum. We work hard to ensure it is cohesive, with a consistency of language and approaches used by all teachers and across year groups so that students develop confidence and autonomy in both their analysis and written skills. To that end, our curriculum is well resourced and centrally planned, with our subject specialist and highly experience staff collaborating to ensure our intent is reflected in the resources shared with students.
We strive to ensure there is quality first teaching at the forefront of students’ experience, so that our enacted curriculum is highly effective in securing student progress. Staff are supported to develop their excellent teaching through CPD within department meetings and high quality coaching. Modelling, scaffolding and questioning are central to our teaching practice. Staff regularly model reading and writing skills both to and with students, so that they develop the metacognitive understanding of how to approach the complexities of knowledge retrieval and application that a subject like English demands. Students are provided with a variety of scaffolded approaches to their work, which will gradually dissipate as they grow in their own confidence and understanding. High quality questioning lies at the heart of our lessons. Either spoken or written, our questioning continually asks students to retrieve core knowledge, extend their own thinking about language and ask their own questions about what they read. This is complimented through explicit vocabulary instruction. Regular opportunities to produce extended writing is important to us, allowing students time to process their knowledge and demonstrate their own understanding and progress within our subject. Our scaffolding, focused modelling and emphasis on recalling key vocabulary and concepts supports our SEND students to access our curriculum fully, whilst also ensuring our DS students have access to the highest academic knowledge, concepts, writing and vocabulary.
Our curriculum is an evolving one, and to that end it is a curriculum in which we will consistently monitor. Assessment is integral to our curriculum, enabling staff to assess the impact of our curriculum on a regular basis. Students are assessed on both their knowledge and their ability to apply this knowledge appropriately. Low stakes quizzes and formative assessments are used within cycles to ensure staff are aware of students’ current understanding and can employ their responsive and adaptive teaching skills to support students to continually progress. Summative assessment is used diagnostically, to allow us to give students clear indication of their progress.
Wider reading is also important in ensuring our curriculum intent is enacted. Students are given the opportunity to read regularly through Accelerated reader and SPARX in year 7 and 8. From September 2023, an increased focus on reading fluency and wider reading within KS3 library lessons will encourage students to revisit the key concept and conventions of English while building confidence as independent and curious readers.
Students at Newton Abbot College understand the importance of English in their future and as a result work well with their teachers in lessons. Students demonstrate an ability to write academically, utilising our consistent approaches to writing and reading to produce more extended pieces of writing. They are able to discuss key concepts that have shaped society, such as patriarchy and capitalism alongside understanding key Literary moments like Romanticism. Students also understand conventions within our subject, such as rhetoric and genre. Data collected through assessment, learning walks and work scrutiny is used to allow us to continually assess the impact our curriculum is having, and develop it accordingly to ensure that all our students continue to make good progress in the subject through whole department approaches and personalisation to suit specific cohorts.