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Curriculum Intent

English at its best provides a window on to human experience. All our students can benefit from the perspective gained by seeing human experiences through the lens of literature. The therapeutic application of literature which helps pupils to see their own lives as a narrative journey makes stories in all forms an invaluable teaching tool. Through reading pupils can learn to see their struggles and endeavours as common to many people, and can begin to see themselves as meaningfully connected to humanity as a whole.

Our pupils will have the opportunity to practise functional language skills through structured conversations in class. Adults will plan topics and hold space for all students to contribute and feel heard and valued. Listening skills will be explicitly taught alongside speaking skills and practised as part of the daily routine, reflecting their value and importance in the lives of our students both in school and out. Use of relevant contexts and varied text types will ensure supported practice of the skills which all students will need in order to lead fulfilled and independent lives in the wider world.

For all our students no matter what their prior attainment and previous exposure to reading, we are committed to providing a wide range of high-quality, challenging literature and literary non-fiction in line with national aspirations for all pupils. We are determined that no child’s opportunities in English should be limited by their attendance at a non-mainstream school; rather our smaller class numbers and the privilege this affords us of knowing our students especially well, should make it all the more possible to hold high standards of opportunity for them. This will include drama, poetry, novels, creative writing, debating skills and high-level speaking and listening.

Enjoyment of reading comes naturally to some, but to others it can be taught. We will do this through judicious choices of text and gradual teaching of skills of analysis, discussion, criticism and discernment, in line with assessment objectives for national accreditation. The range of experience of our staff and their on the focus of the wider goals of English mean that our students’ appreciation of their reading and their expression of this should not be hampered by technical difficulties: all our students will be encouraged to see their thoughts about texts as valid and to express these in a variety of ways, progressing towards having a number of different writing styles at their command.

English is a vehicle for greater understanding of others, and greater ability in expressing ourselves. Every class keeps this value at its core. This ensures students gain a sense of achievement from seeing their own progress in English as an academic discipline, and gain utility from the increase in these real-world skills.