English Department: Statement of Intent

At Christ the King Catholic High School, the focus in English is on developing confident, independent learners who can effectively communicate with others through a variety of mediums and in a wide range of situations.  The core literacy skills of reading, writing and speaking are at the heart of success across the wider curriculum and the intent of the English Department is to build a solid foundation of these skills, leading to excellent performances at GCSE level and beyond.  In addition, we seek to promote a life-long love of reading and creativity.

In Year 7, students have English every day to ensure a strong base of knowledge and skills is developed.  This reduces to four lessons per week in Years 8 and 9, before increasing again to daily lessons at Key Stage 4.

When planning the curriculum, the English Department takes account of the diverse needs of our students, considering Special Educational Needs (SEN), prior attainment, those with English as an additional language (EAL) and those with high ability.  This results in a programme that is both flexible, innovative and relevant.  At Key Stage 3, students will access units on: contemporary and classical fiction; poetry from the entire English cannon; non-fiction; news; transactional writing and debates.  The use of drama, discussion, reading and writing aids both deeper understanding and assessment within the subject.  It is important to the teachers in the department what we seek to inspire and engage students with a love of the subject and a curiosity that extends beyond the classroom.

Homework is a key component of progress within English.  At Key Stage 3, students will have spelling and vocabulary homework as well as a literacy or curriculum based task.  At Key Stage 4, students will have a weekly ‘quote quest’ homework to support revision for GCSE, and an additional curriculum based task.

Reading is a key focus of English at Christ the King.  At Key Stage 3, all English lessons start with 5 minutes of silent reading.  Students are encouraged to read a range of texts, from the weekly editions of First News, through to challenging novels and poetry anthologies which is promoted through our Reading Challenge rewards programme. Beyond the classroom, every tutor group in the school has silent reading at least once per week, there are reading groups run by members of staff and Key Stage 4 students regularly support younger students through the Reading Buddy intervention programme.  Our well-resourced library facility is extensively used throughout the week for a wide range of activities and is accessed by many students in their free time.  Reading at Key Stage 3 builds a solid foundation of reading skills that are essential in the study of set texts at Key Stage 4.

The two year Key Stage 4 course prepares all Christ the King students for Eduqas GCSEs in English Language and Literature.  An overview of the requirements for these courses can be found on the attached curriculum plans.  Our intent is for all students to be enabled to achieve their potential, therefore we offer a range of interventions such as: Study Support; 1-2-1 delivered by a specialist English teacher, and regular assessments used to monitor progress and redesign intervention when needed.  Our curriculum plan allows for the interleaving of subject content, so students constantly revisit and build on prior learning, developing confidence and supporting their revision for final examinations.

Wherever possible, students are given the opportunity to take part in extra-curricular activities within English.  These have included theatre trips, drama and poetry workshops and visiting authors, as well as submitting entries for the Rotary Youth Speaks debating competition, the National Literacy Trust competitions and the BBC School News Report.  The department also significantly contributes to the school’s enriched curriculum throughout various Extended Learning Days and through the curriculum lessons, leading workshops on fake news, online bullying, CV writing and job applications/personal statements. The rigors of the English GCSEs and the way in which the department focuses on the development of independent learning leads to students who are fully equipped for the wider world of further study and employment.  As stated earlier, the core skills in English and Literature are the building blocks of success in all walks of life and results in this subject are amongst the highest in the school.