English Language and Literature
In the RISE Faculty, it is our mission to nurture a love of learning in our young people. We understand the challenges and barriers many of our learners will have experienced in their lives, in relation to the education system, and we are dedicated to encouraging and supporting them as they gain confidence and independence in their own studies. Resilience, self-awareness and self-motivation are all skills that we want our learners to leave the Centre with, having grown as individuals, through the teaching and experiences they have shared with us.
As the RISE Faculty, we want our students to become global citizens with a deep and broad knowledge of our world and its past. It is our aim to promote the values of understanding, compassion and curiosity in the exploration of our culture and those of our fellow human beings. We want our learners to feel the excitement of inquiry, as they journey into the lives of others: real or fictitious, past or present. Through the English Language, English Literature, Humanities and Drama, our learners will be able to investigate humankind and their own place within it.
We will ensure that every young person is given the opportunity to make better-than-expected progress, with learning and support tailored to their particular needs. We value a ‘depth before breadth’ approach to learning, presenting learners with the time needed to fully explore topics and concepts. Our team is dedicated to providing the best learning experiences for our learners, both inside and outside the classroom. With a view to our young people becoming employable citizens, we will promote effective literacy, reasoning and communication skills across all aspects of our curriculum, with connections made to related careers.
We will endeavour to engage even the most reluctant learners with a curriculum that is varied and inspirational, challenging and innovative. We will achieve this through effective planning and delivery of content, with a clear focus on the SEMH needs of our learners, in an environment that feels safe and welcoming. Teaching within the Faculty has been rated as outstanding and, as a team of life-long learners, we will continue to take advantage of relevant and up-to-date CPD that will encourage us to continually reassess and improve our practice.
With a view to our young people becoming employable citizens, we will promote effective literacy, reasoning and communication skills across all aspects of our curriculum. We will promote employability and the consideration of RISE-related careers for our learners, linking learning to future job opportunities.
Through outstanding quality first-teaching, personalised support and intervention and a secure knowledge and understanding of a wide range of SEMH needs, the RISE Faculty team will endeavour to raise the aspirations of our young people and harness their potential to improve their outcomes.
The English curriculum utilises the spiral form to revisit points of learning in order to increase learners’ understanding of and develop greater skills in reading, writing and verbal communication. For those with gaps in their learning, the spiral offers the opportunity to fill in missing skills and then build upon them. The aim is for a greater depth of English understanding and skill.
- Each half-term contains a reading a writing unit. These are thematically or textually linked as appropriate.
- Summative assessment occurs in each half-term, with three reading and three writing to be completed across the stage.
- Formative assessment with ‘Michaela-style’ marking will take place regularly to feed forward into summative pieces.
- Learners moving through the building blocks revisit skills and ‘topics’, though underpinning texts/indicative content will change and increase in challenge.
- Texts are chosen for variety and interest, as well as being of an appropriate level of challenge. Where necessary, modified, simplified, dyslexia-friendly or graphic versions will be used to aid accessibility.
- Writing units incorporate a variety of purposes, audiences and forms to build confidence in writing in a range of situations.
- A mixture of creative and transactional written pieces will be produced to feed both the enjoyment and functional sides of writing.
As above, plus:
- Key skills needed for the AQA GCSE English Language exams are highlighted in lessons and linked to the papers.
- Assessments are either past AQA papers or ones made in-house to the same specifications.
- Time is given over for focused and structured revision prior to exams, with specific skills and content being dictated by the needs of the current cohort.
- The Spoken Language Endorsement is covered in BB6a to allow for revisiting if needed.
The English Literature curriculum for BB6a and b runs alongside the AQA GCSE English Literature specification. The aim of this course is to support those learners capable of accessing the additional GCSE to experience a range of texts and writers, as well as to encourage them to read and find enjoyment in reading more widely.
- ‘The Merchant of Venice’ is an accessible and engaging play that explores issues of religion, race, gender and relationships. It sparks interesting discussions and allows for research into social and historical contexts outside of many learners’ experiences.
- ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ is a novella that encourages discussions around themes such as good and evil, reputation and identity. Learners will look at the text within its literary tradition and explore the interesting linguistic and structural choices made by the writer.
- ‘DNA’ is a modern play that deals with issues around bullying, peer pressure and the law. As every character is a teenager but their gender is flexible, it becomes an accessible text that all learners can participate in. It encourages discussions around power in relationships/friendships, as well as how we change as individuals.
- The Power and Conflict cluster from the AQA anthology is varied and incorporates texts on many issues from poets of the last 300 years. From war to identity, marriage to leadership, the cluster touches on themes that are engaging and lead to deep discussions. The annotation of the poems builds confidence in independent study and feature-spotting develops skills needed in AQA’s GCSE English Language papers.
- Unseen poetry develops skills in all aspects of reading, as well as time-keeping and analytical writing. The ‘surprise’ of the text is tackled with a reliable and proven approach that instils confidence in the learners, as they respond to questions on the theme.
GCSE Literature Texts:
Shakespeare – The Merchant of Venice
Pre-1914 novel – The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Modern drama – DNA (or An Inspector Calls)
Poetry – Power and Conflict cluster
Reading and Communication:
Reading and Communication sessions are a safe place for learners to explore Literature, develop their confidence in speaking and reading and expand their reading experience.
- Across the building blocks, a variety of texts are introduced, varying in genre, challenge, context and author.
- Texts are selected to align with/feed into the English curriculum.
- The spiral structure allows for the revising of skills previously covered.
- With each revisit, planning is building great challenges and more advanced skills.
- In each term, there will be a focus on discussion/debating skills for building confidence and life skills.
- A range of reading strategies are to be utilised across each building block to develop greater independence when given new texts.
- Open discussion and statement of opinion is at the core of sessions.
- Each text is a gateway to further reading, with recommendations given as appropriate.
As mentioned above, plus:
- Texts in 6b focus on wider social issues and life skills.
Although discrete lessons may not be timetabled at this stage, texts will be read in form-time/as part of reading in English class as a well-being tool. Returning to a text and using that as something that they all share – at a time when they are under a lot of academic pressure and may be feeling anxious – is a useful tool for creating quiet time, fostering togetherness and giving learners a space to enjoy story-telling without academic expectation.
Depending upon the stage and aspect of English studied, the impact will be measured in a variety of ways:
- Formal national qualifications:
- AQA Functional Skills English (Level 1/2)
- AQA GCSE English Language
- AQA GCSE English Literature
- Informal formative assessments each half-term
- Formal summative assessments are to be completed termly, monitoring academic progress
- Online GL assessments in English to be completed twice a year
- EHCP target trackers
- Tracking lesson engagement through the Elements’ praise and reward system.