The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all children:
· read easily, fluently and with good understanding
· develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
· acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
· appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
· write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
· use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
· are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate
At Alt Bridge we believe that the ability to be literate and to communicate effectively through Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing is fundamental to improving life chances. We do our utmost to ensure our pupils become active members of society by becoming conversant in all areas of language development.
We are committed to ensuring that pupils enjoy lessons and develop a love of literature. Language provides the main instrument to learning throughout the curriculum and therefore the English Department is wholly committed to ensuring that all our pupils reach their full potential in a supportive, caring and empathetic classroom environment.
The content and principles underpinning the 2014 National Curriculum for English curriculum at Alt Bridge School reflect those found in high-performing education systems internationally, these principles and features characterise this approach and convey how our curriculum is implemented:
· Teachers reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in English.
· Personalisation and differentiation is achieved by emphasising deep knowledge and through individual support, sharing goals with the pupils and intervention.
· Teaching is underpinned by methodical curriculum design and supported by carefully crafted lessons and resources to foster deep and meaningful knowledge.
· Practice and consolidation play a central role. Carefully designed variation within this builds fluency and understanding.
To ensure consistency and progression, The English Department use quality and standardised schemes of work which are regularly updated, revised and checked against the National Curriculum. All staff follow the schemes to ensure consistency and that all offer high quality and standardised English lessons. Staff are encouraged to further differentiate or enhance lessons and are constantly striving for the best for our pupils.
Staff model full and accurate sentences and craft questions carefully to draw out the best from pupils. All pupils are taught to use the vocabulary and grammar of spoken, Standard English, to formulate, clarify and express ideas. They are encouraged to adapt their speech to a widening range of circumstances, to listen to one another encouragingly and to participate in group discussions. They are given the opportunity to debate and develop arguments on a variety of issues and topics.
Teaching and learning within The English Department is designed to be as active and practical as possible, direct instruction is given to pupils in groups at times but mostly work is differentiated to cater for individual needs and differing abilities. Often pupils function more successfully in smaller groups under the guidance of a Teaching Assistant or on a one to one basis. Pupils are supported in their ability to complete whole tasks attentively and activities are spilt into short manageable chunks.
At Alt Bridge we are committed to support our pupils to be successful, independent and valued members of their community. In answer to the question, ‘What do we want for our young people?’ – An enormous amount! Which is why we are constantly reviewing our curriculum to combat SLCN, 30-million-word gap and reading strategies. We work closely with our SPLD Department to ensure that the pupils in need of additional support receive it. We are working to embed vocabulary starters at least twice a week and communication starters to prioritise language. This was initiated following key staff undertaking oracy training and reviewing research which highlights that these activities support pupils greater than solely literacy.
We want our pupils to be valued members of the community which is why we take part in events such as the Choral Poetry Festival and teach them that their contributions are valued. We want our pupils to be able to go onto obtain meaningful employment so we support them with real life skills (reading, writing and communication). Effective communication skills are the key to everything. They open doors, help individuals to express point of view or just ask for help. We also support our pupils to be confident communicators and to use their skills to communicate their wants and needs.
In is vitally important that our pupils are challenged at all levels, as well as bespoke and differentiated schemes and resources, our pupils also benefit from quality, independent, interactive resources (Lexia and Accelerated Reader).
Year 7 pupils access Lexia weekly, which is a highly recognised reading programme. The pupils are also encouraged to utilise Lexia at home to further support their confidence with working independently and reading.
Working to ‘bridge the gap’ in terms of vocabulary, we know that children learn vocabulary primarily in the early stages of their life, but it does not stop there. We work tirelessly to ensure that our pupils are best supported in their secondary education. It is the responsibility of all teachers, in all areas to support pupils to develop their vocabulary to enable them to improve the fluency of their writing and speaking, this is monitored throughout school. In English pupils learn vocabulary from rich and varied whole texts, and are also set private reading homework alongside the curriculum. We have introduced Accelerated Reader to support us to select reading material more effectively for our pupils. All pupils take standardised reading comprehension tests three times a year, which enables staff to gauge progress more accurately. Pupils complete quizzes after reading each book and certificates and prizes are awarded to encourage reading. It is hoped that pupils have quantifiable, improved reading ages over time as a result of using Accelerated Reader. The program also allows staff to identify those who need intervention and suggests strategies and practical help.
It is important that success in English is celebrated. Pupils are positively praised for their work and merits are awarded in lessons through SIMS for achievement. Certificates are distributed at weekly and termly assemblies in all areas of achievement in English and display boards around the school and in classrooms are updated regularly to show examples of pupils’ work and good practice.
English"Students make outstanding progress in communication and literacy"
Alt Bridge S.S.C. English Department
The English Department at Alt Bridge is committed to ensuring that all our students reach their potential in a caring and sympathetic classroom environment.
Students are offered courses and schemes of work which are designed to challenge them whilst meeting their individual needs. Courses are carefully planned and taught and full use is made of resources, especially our Learning Support Assistants who are invaluable.
Key Stage 3/4 Courses
What we can offer students
Functional Skills (Entry Level – Level 2)
Regular Assessment for Learning and Progress
Regular Target Setting in Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening at K.S.3 and 4
Dockside Reading Scheme