English Curriculum Ambition
‘For pupils to be able to experience language through verbal and written forms and be able to become effective communicators. Our pupils will strive to develop their ability to apply their written, spoken and comprehension skills to enable them to interact successfully within the community in adulthood’.
In order to achieve this our golden threads are;
- To read words with fluency and accuracy
- To understand written information in a variety of forms
- To respond to a variety of texts
- To be aware of different genres and texts
- To be able to write with purpose
- To be able to communicate effectively and legibly in a written form
- To be able to evaluate and modify own writing
- To speak with clarity
- To listen carefully with understanding
- To hold conversations
A high emphasis is placed on spoken language at Park Community Academy and opportunities are built into the daily timetable to allow children to develop their speaking and listening skills, not just in literacy lessons but in all areas of the curriculum. We believe that spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing and, as many of our children have communication difficulties, it is given a high level of importance throughout our teaching.
Reading starts in EYFS, with the introduction of phonics when the children are ready. Phonics is taught using Read Write Inc in KS1, 2 and 3 and Fresh Start in KS4 and 5. The children also enjoy exploring, creating and listening to sounds and a huge emphasis is put upon listening to and discussing a wide range of stories read by the teacher to help the children develop their interest in reading for pleasure and also their comprehension. We also independent phonetically decodable books that correlate with the Read Write Inc programme to support lessons, teaching and reading at home.
At Park Community Academy the reading books are banded according to Read Write Inc Assessments and the children are encouraged to read and experience a broad range of books within their book band including fiction, non-fiction, poetry. In addition pupils also have a reading for pleasure ‘sharing book’ of their own choice.
In KS3 and 4 we also have an annual subscription to Firstnews, a newspaper written specifically for children to access non-fiction reading materials to develop their understanding of the world. Newspapers are delivered each week to school for classes to share and it is also shared electronically with the pupils to enrich the content of their reading experiences during reading sessions. In KS5 a subscription to ‘The Week Junior’ provides a more age appropriate content and layout structure.
Children are encouraged to develop basic handwriting skills through a range of gross and fine motor activities leading into more formal writing activities. As they progress through the school transcription, handwriting, spelling and grammar are developed. Composition is initially taught through the use of colourful semantics. Children’s writing progress is assessed termly through a range of curriculum areas and collated in a writing portfolio book and assessed alongside the Seaview Trust Writing Framework.
To encourage children to write for pleasure pupils have regular opportunities to have their work published in ‘First News’ and The Week Junior’ as well as entering writing competitions run by The Literacy Trust and creating articles to be published in the Blackpool Gazette.
When the children join Park Community Academy at the beginning of Foundation they are gradually introduced to a wide range of explicit and implicit approaches including well thought out planning of the teaching of vocabulary and modelling children’s language during activities such as shared reading. The children begin at the start of the Read Write Inc. phonics and reading scheme and progress through the programme at varying levels dependent on their ability and need.
Pupils in KS1 follow a rolling programme which is linked to the termly topic. The golden threads are introduced throughout reading, writing and spoken language. The curriculum covers fiction and non-fiction and is designed to meet the needs of all pupils.
Pupils in KS2 follow a 4 year rolling programme which is linked to the termly topic. The programme covers all genres of narratives, non-fiction and poetry from the national curriculum and is tailored to meet the needs of the individual pupils. The golden threads are linked to each topic and narrative covered to develop key skills in reading, writing and spoken language.
Pupils in Years 7,8 and 9 focus on key skills following a spiral curriculum tailored to meet the needs of our individual pupils in preparation for future qualification opportunities. Golden thread skills are practised across reading, writing and spoken language in preparation for qualifications to be undertaken in KS4.
Pupils in Year 10 work towards an Entry level qualification which encompasses reading, writing and spoken language. Pupils are required to complete two comprehension units and are required to write a non-fiction piece and a descriptive piece of independent writing. Pupils also undertake a spoken assignment. Work is marked internally and then assessed externally. There are no formal examinations for this qualification. Pupils also complete one WJEC Additional English unit in the summer term.
Pupils in year 11 complete up to 2 more units towards an Additional English qualification in English. To support differentiation, all English units are offered at Entry 2 level and Entry 3 level and pupils are entered for the most appropriate level. The learning outcomes are the same for each, but the assessment criteria becomes more challenging at Entry 3.
As part of this qualification they have 2 dedicated English lessons each week. The course is made up of different units, each with its own specification. Units that are currently taught at PCA include:
- Exploring Narratives
- Exploring Poetry
- Creating a print media product
- Exploring film genres
- Communicating Experiences
Key Stage 5
To support preparation for Adulthood pupils in KS5 complete a Gateway qualification at Entry 1 and 2 supporting Reading, Writing and Spoken Language. Pupils have the opportunity to complete AQA Functional English modules. This involves dedicated taught sessions to build a portfolio of evidence for the criteria set.