Useful Links

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What is our curriculum and intention?

The English curriculum is an inclusive curriculum where all students are challenged, supported and taught to the top. Through the implementation of the curriculum, we want students to experience and engage with a range of Literature texts from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens to Small Island by Andrea Levy and Helen Edmundson. Our students receive a rich and fulfilling curriculum that provides them with an insight into other cultures, perspectives, worlds and experiences that go beyond the classroom. We aim to instil a love of reading by offering students the chance to read a great variety of texts during our Reading for Pleasure lessons and through Bedrock, our homework platform. Our curriculum provides students the opportunity to become critical thinkers who can substantiate their ideas and arguments with the ability to articulate themselves confidently and fluently – both through the written and spoken word. It also exposes students to the power of language. Overall, we aim to prepare students for life outside of school and beyond education, equipping them with the tools necessary for them to reach their full potential, regardless of ability.


What is our learning journey?

Our Curriculum is a five year ‘Learning Journey’.

At Key Stage 3, our Mastery programme focuses on knowledge acquisition and development of skills which are supported by the texts we read and our units of work. The years are sequenced to ensure that, as students progress through KS3, they are continuously and consistently developing key skills and knowledge, providing them with a strong basis for further study at KS4 and beyond. Within each year, units of work are sequenced to further support the development of skills and knowledge. There are clear links between units of work within year groups and across the key stage to cement prior learning and prepare for future learning. This aides the development of schemas (generative learning) which improves and assists retention. This can also be seen through the assessments which increase in complexity, developing skills and knowledge simultaneously.

At KS4, we follow the AQA specifications for English Language and Literature. Units are taught through designated Language and Literature lessons which are interleaved. Units have been sequenced to reinforce prior learning from KS3 but also to ensure that more complex texts are taught later in the course when skills and knowledge have been substantially developed.

Each unit of work in KS3 and KS4 have key vocabulary (tier 2) and subject specific terminology (tier 3) attached to them. These are embedded in lessons and through student responses.


English Learning Journey

Why this? Why now? Why have we sequenced our curriculum this way?

At KS3, we follow a Mastery programme that carefully builds on prior knowledge and skills. KS3 is not designed to merely be a prequel to GCSE, rather it builds on the foundations established at KS2 to develop learners in all aspects of their English education. It provides students with opportunities to explore a vast variety of texts whilst developing their reading, writing, oracy and critical thinking skills.

At KS4, our study of English Language and English Literature is interleaved, prioritising transferrable skills and supporting our pupils to develop the confidence and complexity with which they read and write.


What will you typically see in our English lessons?

Long-term learning: Students to be made aware of the significance of this unit of work and specific lessons in relation to prior and future learning. Students are prompted to make links between prior key knowledge and skills in this scheme and those they have already studied.

Checking for understanding and mark making (ACMO): Comprehension questions; think, pair, share; cold call; questioning; class discussion; mini whiteboards with a 3, 2, 1 reveal; weekly low-stakes quizzes. All pupils are subject to rigorous checking of their learning and supported to close any gaps they have in knowledge and skills by teachers’ effective formative assessment of their progress.

Live modelling and guided practice: I Do (a metacognitive approach), We Do (under the visualiser or on the board), You Do (independent work with scaffolding); exploration, assessment and deconstruction of effective and ineffective model answers.

Explicit teaching of vocabulary: I say, you say; exploring the root and etymology of specific words; using key vocabulary within sentences; using key vocabulary in different formations and contexts; deliberate teaching of tier 2 and 3 vocabulary.

Teaching to the top: All lessons included in the Mastery schemes are designed to stretch and challenge students. However, staff will adapt these to ensure that the challenge in each lesson is appropriate for their class.

Retrieval practice and recall: Low-stakes quizzes; mini whiteboards with a 3, 2, 1 reveal; Do Now tasks; Link It tasks where students are prompted to recall prior knowledge and/or skill and make meaningful links to current learning.


How do we assess progress in our subject?

At Key Stage 3, formative assessment is an ongoing process and enabled through effective use of AMCO (mark making). Additionally, students complete fortnightly quizzes that assess their understanding and retrieval of what they have been previously learning. The quizzes give staff an opportunity to reteach aspects of the curriculum that are not yet secure. Students are assessed regularly through mini-assessment tasks, exit tickets, and comprehension questions. At the conclusion of a unit of work, summative assessments encourage students to critically evaluate their understanding of texts and socio-cultural contexts:

Year 7

  • How does the writer present Bill Sikes? Oliver Twist

  • How does Shakespeare present the theme of conflict? A Midsummer Night's Dream

  • How does the poet present Tom the cat? Poetry

  • How do storytellers effectively share their stories (spoken language)

Year 8

  • How does Conan Doyle consciously craft characters for effect? Sherlock Holmes

  • How does Shakespeare present the character Caliban? The Tempest

  • How does Orwell present the theme of corruption? Animal Farm

  • Write and perform a speech that challenges an injustice you feel strongly about.

Year 9

  • Explain how Bronte presents Hane's childhood experiences. Jane Eyre

  • Which main character changes the most by the end of the play (Small Island)

  • Compare the way poets present a theme in two poems.

  • Write a range of appropriate and engaging non-fiction text types.

At Key Stage 4 in English, formative assessment is vital is supporting students to make progress within the lesson. In addition, students are assessed at the end of each unit of work following the assessment criteria for GCSE; students are then encouraged to develop their knowledge and skills, responding to teacher feedback. As the Key Stage develops, students will work towards completion of full papers in both English Language and English Literature Students at Tottington study English and English Literature, both of which follow the AQA specification.


How do we extend and enrich our curriculum?

Homework is set through Bedrock and Seneca within both Key Stages to enhance and develop their knowledge and skills. Students are also actively encouraged to read for pleasure. Additionally, in Key Stage 4, students utilise a variety of sources for homework, which also include past exam papers and revision guides.


How does our subject relate to further education and careers?

English can lead on to further study at A-Level and degree level in Media Studies, English Language and English Literature. English underpins any role and career, however some that are more specific to English may include:

  • Publishing
  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Teaching
  • Law
  • Human Resources
  • Journalism
  • Politics

If you would like more information about the English curriculum, please contact the Director of Learning, Mrs C. Holden via email: