ENGLISH AT WYKHAM PARK
Academic year 2023-24
Our intention at Banbury Aspirations Campus is first and foremost to equip students to confidently and competently communicate in a wide range of forms. We have an ambitious and enriching curriculum that combines a celebration of the canon, engaging modern literature and considered crafting of their own writing to best prepare our students for their future.
The English Department maintains a purposeful atmosphere with high expectations of staff and students alike. We use the tools offered by a study of literature and language to support students to think critically, articulate their ideas, read for pleasure as well as for meaning, and engage actively with the world around them. Our curriculum focuses on nurturing students’ SMSC development and cultural capital in addition to key skills for the English domain.
We recognise that assessment is important and strive to support our students to understand the progress they are making through clear communication of grades and regular DIRT lessons with constructive level 3 diagnostic feedback. We want students to appreciate the relevance of their learning, and be informed about how to improve their work.
As a team, we strive to develop students’ curiosity and creativity – to nurture the full potential of the child. Our aim is to promote inclusivity and understanding, and we do this through our text selection, our teaching, and through wider learning opportunities, such as cross-curricular learning and theatre visits.
"Read the world. Write your future."
What ARE we STUDYING?
Key Stage 3
Our curriculum at year 7 aims to introduce students to important skills and build resilience through the exploration of challenging texts. At Wykham Park Academy, students in Year 7 develop a deeper understanding of different concepts through the Applied Transdisciplinary Learning programme. The skills they develop within ATL relate to those in English, so we help students draw further connections by exploring similar themes concurrently. We begin in the Autumn term with an origin story: a chronological, extract-based exploration of Literature Through the Ages, from Greek mythology, to Chaucer and the Victorian era. Following this, we move on to Love and Loss, where students study Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and poetry. We finish the year with our Creation and Invention unit, featuring ‘Frankenstein’ and accompanied by non-fiction. The texts we study allow students to discuss a range of topics and understand some universal experiences.
In Year 8, students build upon the skills they have formed in the previous year. Again, we have a thematic approach, beginning with The Gothic, anchored by the engaging ‘Cirque Du Freak’ and leading to students’ own imaginative and analytical writing. In the Winter term, we study a unit on Transactional Texts and in the Summer, War Writing, which has a poetry focus. Alongside this, students complete an independent project to encourage reading for pleasure.
Students in Year 9 further develop their domain-specific learning by completing tasks that look more like those at GCSE. We look at three anchor texts: ‘Of Mice and Men’, ‘Blood Brothers’ and ‘Othello’, and alongside each, students study a complementary unit that has a more contemporary focus in order to balance the challenging historical nature of the texts. By the end of KS3, our aim is to have provided students with a toolkit for GCSE and a keen interest in English.
Key Stage 4
Our curriculum at KS4 prepares students for the AQA Language and Literature GCSE qualifications. Literature begins in year 10 with a study of ‘Macbeth’ and moves on to ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘An Inspector Calls’, alongside the Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology in year 11. In between literature units, students work through the skills in both language papers and complete the spoken language endorsement.
The two year course enables students to develop their ability to read closely, summarise, analyse, infer, and write with sophistication for a range of purposes and audiences. Alongside their qualification, students gain soft skills that they will find valuable beyond the classroom.
Key Stage 5
At A Level, we offer the OCR (EMC) Language and Literature course and/or AQA Literature course.
Every five lessons a student-led revision lesson will be delivered.
Every other week they will have an after school intervention session
Students will hopefully have the opportunity to experience a live performance of the texts, depending on the Coronavirus restrictions.
Head of Subject: Sophie Duncan
HOW DO WE ENSURE EVERYBODY LEARNS?
Our curriculum is suitably challenging and allows for students to master high end skills, so English staff work hard to adapt their lessons so that everybody can succeed. We know that some students struggle with how to put their ideas down on paper, so we provide writing scaffolds if needed. We know that reading Shakespearean texts is difficult for some, so we use film or stage adaptations to engage students. We know that some students may give up when faced with a challenge ,so we give them verbal support and feedback to encourage them to be more resilient and keep writing.
HOW ARE WE PLUGGING ANY POST COVID GAPS?
It would be remiss of us to ignore the impact of Covid 19 on how students approach their learning in English. Our subject entails extended writing and independent reading. Both will have been avoided by a number of students during lockdown learning. We worry that students will have found quick answers online (and not had to read through texts they found challenging) and we know a number of students submitted work that was less developed.
Alongside this, students may have gaps in knowledge if they participated less well online. Our Y11 students may have missed some of the reading of their GCSE literature texts so we have provided intervention and extra materials on our Google Classrooms to combat this. Year 10 students may have missed some lessons where we studied persuasive techniques and explored non fiction, so we are prioritising a unit on Language Paper 2 and exploring non fiction. KS3 students may have missed units exploring specific literary genres or forms so we have used homework tasks and our recap to retain tasks at the start of lessons to check knowledge and clarify misconceptions. We have also ensured that key vocabulary that enables deeper understanding of those genres or forms is explicitly retaught in other connected units.
THE ENGLISH TOOLBOX
Everything you need to be successful in English:
- An ability to explore explicit and implicit information in a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts
- Reading for pleasure – good readers make good writers!
- Practice using PEAS to help structure your responses
- Write Creatively
Should you have any other questions or want to find out more, please contact Shileen Green, Vice Principal on: sgreen@wykhampark-aspirations.