Our Intent, Implementation and Impact

The English curriculum at Gateacre is designed to support all students in becoming confident and effective communicators.  We teach the knowledge and skills necessary for our students to develop into critical thinkers able to read analytically and articulate ideas effectively, creatively and persuasively in speech and writing. 

For those who progress with us into KS5 A level studies, we work towards the development of autonomous readers and thinkers who are able to synthesise different ideas and points of view in order to develop informed, personal responses to ideas and texts.

Our Intent:

In English lessons, we encourage students to develop an engagement with, and love of, language that appreciates the craft of the writer and recognises the power of language as a means of sharing ideas. We hope to foster a love of words as a means of sharing ideas and enriching our experiences as both independent readers and writers.

Classroom experiences create opportunities to experience and engage with writing in English from across the literary heritage.  The range of texts studied across the KS3, KS4 and KS5 curriculum represent different experiences, cultures and periods of history and recognise English as a world language. This raises the cultural capital of our students and their appreciation of the influence of different contexts on the construction of meaning.

Implementation:

The English department is a large, collaborative department.  We plan, devise and review schemes of work collaboratively with a continuous cycle of revisions, amendments and updates, informed by developments in pedagogical research and thinking. 

The curriculum journey from Year 7 to Year 11 has been carefully thought out and developed with a clear journey towards our overreaching intent of developing effective communicators. 

We follow a spiral curriculum in which we continually revisit previous learning adding new knowledge that is age- or stage- appropriate.  We teach reading, writing and spoken presentation structures each year through a range of texts (fiction and non-fiction) with increasing complexity. Upon entry, this builds upon the knowledge developed in KS2. 

We aim to move students through Piaget’s model of cognitive development from concrete to formal operational thinking becoming increasingly abstract in our exploration of ideas and concepts. 

In Year 7, our curriculum is supported by the Let’s Think curriculum developed by Kings’ College London.  This is a programme of study that promotes cognitive acceleration and develops higher order thinking skills through the interrogation of texts. Let’s Think models how we question the construction of meaning in a  text and has influenced how we question and discuss texts in lesson through to A level study.

Our curriculum design is delivered through a set of core lessons that have been developed for each year group with shared resources on the department’s shared drive.  Individual class teachers adapt schemes of learning using their professional judgement as appropriate, in order to personalise the learning of individuals and meet the needs of their teaching groups.  In English lessons you will see:

Declarative Knowledge -   Facts relating to texts; recollection of key quotations; subject terminology; knowledge of writing structures and conventions; academic register.  Content relating to texts, e.g. plot/characters/themes/context is substantive knowledge

Disciplinary knowledge – how to: write persuasively; structure a story; write an essay in response to a literary text; organise a letter; prepare a speech; organise and write an article or guide etc.

Procedural Knowledge – ability to action knowledge in the crafting of writing and speech for different audiences and purposes; reading for meaning; analysing the construction of meaning.

Hinterland knowledge -    use of context and drawing on personal experiences to illuminate understanding.                    

Retrieval:     

  • Teacher recap and questioning
  • 5-a-day starter quizzes
  • Educake homework and revision App

Spacing:  Each unit incorporates and builds on the procedural knowledge developed the previous day, month, year, key stage…

Interleaving:  Key themes and concepts recur across topics: rhetorical devices; narrative structures and strategies; descriptive devices; essay writing conventions; literature as vehicle for the representation of ideas;

Schema: Problem/solution narratives; Essay writing (PEE); 5 paragraph structure for transactional/persuasive exam tasks; To SMILE analysis; Thesis statements; The development of an argument.

Lesson structure:

Lessons are planned around the TEEP cycle used across the school.  This is informed by Rosenshine’s principles of effective instruction and takes the following structure:

Introduce a  new concept > break down steps > try independently > Review (modelling using vizualisers, whole class feedback, flash marking and deep marking for assessments)

Stage 1“Do Now” - retrieval practice and re-cap or to draw upon or develop hinterland knowledge.

Stage 2 Objective – what we are learning and why?

Stage 3 – Present new information – Declarative knowledge – adjusting existing schema to accommodate new info.

Stage 4 – Construct – Disciplinary knowledge (incorporated retrieval of previous learning)

Stage 5 – Apply – Procedural knowledge – actioning knowledge in the craft of writing or analysing meaning.  This will involve assimilation of new schema.

All teaching groups are given access to the whole of the curriculum.  Those with SEND receive the same curriculum offer as every other Gateacre student.  We work closely with the SENCO, who delivers English to the Y7 and Y8 nurture groups, and the SEN department to meet the needs of individuals through scaffolding, targeted questioning, strategic seating and personalised learning that adapts our teaching Scheme of Learning as appropriate.

IMPACT: Attainment, Progress, Knowledge, Skills and Destinations

What forms do assessments take? What is the purpose of assessment?

Use of Assessment:

Students take an active part in their assessment.  We use the Flash marking system as an assessment for learning strategy.  This helps students understand how their work is assessed, understand what they are doing well and the areas they need to focus on in order to make further progress.

Each half term’s unit begins with a baseline task assessed using whole class feedback in line with the whole school marking policy.

Students have two exercise books.  One for is for daily classwork and is assessed using flash marking self and peer assessment.  Class teachers use model answers and “live” mark using visualisers to support self-assessment.  Guided by their flash marking practices, students use red pen to identify WWW and EBI.  The second book is an assessment book close marked by the class teacher.  Close marking occurs once each half term at KS3 and twice at KS4.  Marking is done in accordance with EDUQAS KS3 and at KS4 GCSE mark schemes.  Students receive detailed feedback and work is standardised across teaching groups through departmental moderation sessions.  Personalised feedback, that takes into account SEND and disadvantage, is provided through teacher comments and follow-up feedback lessons, which include DIRT time activities.

Formative assessments include:

  • Regular use of teacher questioning
  • Baseline tasks
  • Class based self and peer assessments
  • Class based teacher assessments – including 3 formal assessment points (APs) and half-termly shorter Teacher Assessment points (TAs)
  • The primary purpose of assessments is to track the effectiveness of teaching and learning in order to inform future planning and gain a picture of student progress.

Quality of Student Work:

High expectations across the department are reflected in student work. Book Looks demonstrate a high standard of work and presentation.  We regularly celebrate student work through the school’s social media accounts, including the department’s Instagram account @gateacreenglish.  This seeks to increase student engagement and celebrate success through new technologies our students enjoy.  We also use display, postcards, emails and telephone calls home to share and celebrate good work.  Successful responses are also shared and used as model answers across the department to support flash marking and self-assessment.

How do we know if we have a successful curriculum?

  • Opinion data from student voice, observations, pop-ins, departmental meetings and parent evenings.
  • Quantitative data from internal tracking and external examination results

 

English Department Assessment Strategy for KS3

In each half term of KS3 students have a different topic focus for each half term but our curriculum is designed to build upon KS2 and develop a range of subject based knowledge over the course of KS3 which establishes a solid foundation for KS4.  Our spiral curriculum continually revisits previous learning adding on new knowledge that is age and stage appropriate.  We seek to move from concrete understanding to increasingly abstract understanding and higher order thinking.

The units are devised by the department through collaborative planning and are regularly revised and rewritten from year to year following evaluation of their success. 

Our assessment practices are well established throughout the department.  In addition to class notes books, Students have an assessment book that follows them through KS3 providing evidence of progress across the Key Stage.

Each unit develops a series of skills leading to the production of a significant written response.  This is either an essay-based response testing reading skills or a piece of extended prose writing (creative, transactional or persuasive) in a range of forms across the key stage.

Work is marked in accordance with the whole school marking policy.  For internal tracking only, a grade is recorded using the English assessment continuum relating to GCSE grades 1-9.  Student feedback however is not graded and relates to successes and how to make further progress.

Students take an active part in their assessment.  We use the Flash marking system as an assessment for learning strategy.  This helps students understand how their work is assessed, understand what they are doing well and the areas they need to focus on in order to make further progress.

Each half term’s unit begins with a baseline task assessed using whole class feedback in line with the whole school marking policy.

Students have two exercise books.  One for is for daily classwork and is assessed using flash marking self and peer assessment.  Class teachers use model answers and “live” mark using visualisers to support self-assessment.  Guided by their flash marking practices, students use red pen to identify WWW (What Went Well)  and EBI (Even Better if).  The second book is an assessment book close marked by the class teacher.  Close marking occurs once each half term at KS3 and is carried in accordance with EDUQAS KS3 marking guidance.  Students receive detailed feedback and work is standardised across teaching groups through departmental moderation sessions.  Personalised feedback, that takes into account MA, SEND and disadvantage, is provided through teacher comments and follow-up feedback lessons, which include DIRT time activities for student reflection and personalised targeted intervention.

Each unit in KS3 is devised to provide stretch and challenge for all levels of ability around core knowledge.  Each unit culminates in a common assessment task for all teaching groups in line with the new linear non-tiered assessment of English Language and English Literature at GCSE. Each assessment task is carried out in timed test conditions. It is the responsibility of individual class teachers to personalise the units to the needs of their classes and individuals as appropriate, although a range of differentiated preparatory tasks are provided within the scheme of learning for each unit.  Departmental cross moderation of assessment is carried out as part of departmental monitoring to ensure assessment is standardised across all teaching groups.

We carry out a base line assessment at the start of each unit.  Students complete a task similar to the end of unit assessment task, this allows us to clearly evidence the progress made by students in studying the unit.  It also informs the planning of individual class teachers.

At each whole school assessment point, English class teachers will provide a holistic judgment of students’ current levels of attainment in English informed by performance in classwork and assessment tasks.

High expectations across the department are reflected in student work. Book Looks demonstrate a high standard of work and presentation.  We regularly celebrate student work through the school’s social media accounts, including the department’s Instagram account @gateacreenglish.  This seeks to increase student engagement and celebrate success through new technologies our students enjoy.  We also use display, postcards, emails and telephone calls home to share and celebrate good work.  Successful responses are also shared and used as model answers across the department to support flash marking and self-assessment.

English Department Assessment Strategy for KS4

We deliver two-year GCSE courses in both English Language and English Literature to all students in the cohort.  Each half term focuses on both reading and writing with a component of either GCSE English Language reading or GCSE English Literature syllabus covered alongside an aspect of prose writing.

All units are structured around the GCSE English Language and English Literature assessment objectives in order to develop and embed the skills necessary for success in GCSE English and English Literature. 

The units are devised by the department through collaborative planning and are regularly revised and rewritten from year to year following evaluation of their success.

In 2018/20 we participated in a national EEF trial of Flash Marking devised and coordinated by Meols Cop High School, Southport. We gave since adapted the system across the school and it is an embedded part of teaching, learning and assessment in the English department.  Flash marking involves all of the skills required to access the top band of GCSE English and English literature performance translated into short codes. All feedback is written using these shorthand codes that correspond logically to specific skills. Each student gets a maximum of two codes on a piece of work (“What Went Well” and “Even Better If”). The students have a translation sheet so they know what the code means.  Flash marking enables students to see themselves climbing (sometimes in very small steps) up the ladder of success towards the elusive Grade 9.  Flash marking enables students to take a proactive role in their learning by regularly revisiting previous targets, embedding improvements in their future assessments and evidencing where they have been met. Consistently using codes in feedback ensures competency and creates more reflective learners that genuinely understand how to improve their work. Teachers record the codes issued to each student on a specialised spreadsheet. By analysing the data, teachers are efficiently able to: plug gaps in knowledge and save valuable teaching time by not explicitly teaching skills that students have already grasped. The analysis of skills will inform future planning and any required intervention.

Our Flash marking practice means that students take an active part in their daily assessment.  The system is an assessment for learning strategy that helps students understand how their work is assessed, understand what they are doing well and the areas they need to focus on in order to make further progress.

Students have two exercise books.  One for is for daily classwork that is assessed using teacher guided self and peer assessment.  Class teachers use model answers and “live” mark using visualisers to support self-assessment.  Guided by their flash marking practices, students use red pen to identify WWW and EBI.  The second book is an assessment book close marked by the class teacher and department standarised in accordance with the whole school marking policy and graded using GCSE grades 1-9 in accordance with EDUQAS mark schemes. 

Close marking occurs twice each half term at KS4: one in reading and one in writing.  Students receive detailed feedback and work is standardised across teaching groups through departmental moderation sessions.  Personalised feedback, that takes into account MA, SEND and disadvantage, is provided through teacher comments and follow-up feedback lessons, which include DIRT time activities for student reflection and personalised targeted intervention.

Each unit in KS4 is devised to provide stretch and challenge for all levels of ability around a set of core skills with each unit culminating in a common assessment task for all teaching groups in line with the new linear non-tiered assessment of English Language and English Literature at GCSE. Each assessment portfolio task is carried out in timed test conditions. It is the responsibility of individual class teachers to tailor the units to the needs of their classes and provide differentiation as appropriate, although a range of differentiated preparatory tasks are provided within the scheme of learning for each unit.  The assessment tasks are differentiated by outcome in accordance with the GCSE assessment strategy. Departmental cross moderation of assessment is carried out as part of departmental monitoring to ensure assessment is standardised across all teaching groups.

At each whole school assessment point, English class teachers will provide a holistic judgment of students’ current levels of attainment in English informed by performance in classwork and assessment portfolio tasks.

English Department Assessment Strategy for KS5

We deliver two-year A Level courses in both English Language and English Literature.  Each term focuses on a different component of the exam syllabus.

All units are structured around the exam specification assessment objectives.

The units are devised by the department through collaborative planning and are regularly revised and rewritten from year to year following evaluation of their success.

Students are responsible for maintaining their own files of class notes and marked work.  They are required however to regularly submit their files to their class teachers for checking.

Close marking occurs twice each half term at KS5: one from each teacher in the teaching team for the year group.  Personalised feedback, that takes into account MA, SEND and disadvantage, is provided through teacher comments and follow-up feedback lessons, which include DIRT time activities for student reflection and personalised targeted intervention.

Each teaching unit leads to the completion of a component of the relevant specimen or past A-level paper.  At each assessment point, students will complete a timed exam style question based on the component of the exam being studied during that term.  It is marked and assessed following exam board assessment criteria (AQA for English Language and EDUQAS for English Literature) and awarded an A level grade A-E.

At each whole school assessment point, English class teachers will collaborate to provide a holistic judgment of each student’s current levels of attainment in English informed by performance in classwork, timed practice exam questions and NEA portfolio tasks.