The English Department at Regents Park has the highest expectations of our students, constantly pushing them to achieve their potential. Through our broad and balanced curriculum, we aim to develop the students’ ability to meet the demands of modern life in both written and verbal communication. Our curriculum offer begins in Year 7 and Year 8 by effectively building on the essential knowledge and skills that students have developed at Key Stage 2. Year 9 sees the start of Key Stage 4 and preparations for GCSE exams and beyond. We have a strong reputation for academic excellence, with our students consistently achieving top GCSE grades for both Language and Literature. Schemes of work reflect the diverse demands of the National Curriculum, as well as our rich literary history. The terminal GCSE examinations expect the students to have a fully comprehensive understanding of the subject; after studying a wide range of texts from both the Canon of English Literature and from high quality modern contemporary works, students possess a great deal of cultural capital. Students are encouraged to respond critically, identifying and interpreting themes whilst explaining the relevance and presentation of written content. It is our intention that all students are entered for Edexcel GCSE English Language and English Literature examinations in Year 11, demanding high standards of work from all students, whatever their ability.
Students master a range of transferable skills such as analysis, evaluation, academic writing and concision that enable them to succeed across the curriculum. This is supported by the strong cross-curricular links we have developed with subjects such as Religious Studies, History and Science, which strengthen and consolidate learning. Through the English Department students’ literacy skills are developed and honed. Reading and writing skills are continuously improved and spelling, punctuation and grammar form a key area of feedback to students. Students are encouraged to develop the higher tier vocabulary required for success across all subject areas. Teachers work closely with Learning Support Assistants to ensure that those students on the SEND register are included fully in all aspects of learning within English, and that their specific needs are met. The English Department delivers a range of extracurricular offers, including PP Reading Club, Academically More Able Enrichment, KS4 Intervention and Film Club.
The Intent of the English Department is delivered through a strong ethos shared by teachers and students alike. Students know what they are going to receive in their English lessons: high-quality, varied and interesting teaching tailored to the needs of individual classes and individual students, as well as high expectations and detailed, regular feedback.
Students enjoy five fifty-minute English lessons per week in all years apart from Year 9, where four lessons are timetabled. At Key Stage 3 students receive one lesson in the library each week which is dedicated to guided reading, with some students also working on their literacy skills through Doddle or Tassomai. Both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 have been designed to ensure students develop the knowledge, skills and cultural capital required by the National Curriculum. Key Stage 3 units feature a rich mixture of reading, writing and literature content, designed to build on the progress made by students at Key Stage 2 and prepare them for the very different challenges of Key Stage 4. At Key Stage 4 the components of GCSE English Language and English Literature are delivered from Year 9 onwards, with components of each GCSE interwoven to maintain the students’ motivation and stimulation. Both content and skills are expertly taught, with each unit ending with an exam-style assessment followed by high-quality feedback.
In order to promote a consistent approach, teachers follow shared curriculum maps for which there are common resources for all teachers to use. All teachers, however, use these maps and resources as the starting point for developing their own ways to deliver the curriculum, ensuring stimulating and diverse teaching and learning that is differentiated for each class. Homework is used to support the curriculum; teachers set a wide range of challenging and stimulating homework tasks that allow learning to continue outside of the classroom. As well as homework tasks linked to specific lessons and schemes of work, teachers also utilise Doddle and Tassomai to support spelling, punctuation and grammar, amongst other things.
The impact upon the progress of students in English is closely monitored and tracked. At Key Stage 3, students’ progress is tracked and monitored using the school-wide system of assessment which indicates if a student is below, meeting or exceeding their own personal target. Students working below their expected level are identified and interventions are put in place to increase their rate of progress. From Year 9 onwards, students work towards their GCSE targets. Regular exam-style assessments, moderated as a department to ensure accuracy, allow teachers to closely monitor students’ progress towards GCSE targets.
Students’ progress is continuously assessed in a variety of ways. In class, teachers provide formative feedback to help consolidate and deepen learning. This is supported by regular high-quality feedback in exercise books, which is followed-up by verbal one-to-one feedback. As well as regular feedback through lessons and book marking, students complete summative end of unit reading and writing assessments. Students are encouraged to reflect upon the feedback and targets provided by these assessments to ensure learning is secure and carried forward as they progress through the school.
Parents receive information regarding the progress and attitude of students through the school’s reporting process. Teachers also use Subject Review evenings to communicate with parents. If teachers have concerns regarding the progress or attitude of students, the Curriculum Leader is informed and phone calls are made to parents. If necessary, Heads of Year and Progress Tutors are also informed. Teachers follow the school’s rewards and sanctions policy, and effectively use Sims to log and track the achievement and behaviour of students.
The Curriculum Leader and Assistant Curriculum Leaders for English regularly monitor and review the curriculum offer to ensure that it remains broad and balanced, fulfils the requirements of the National Curriculum and meets the needs of all of our students. Regular lesson drop-ins, book monitoring, homework checking and assessment moderation allow leaders in English to confirm that all staff are following the planned curriculum offer.
The Curriculum Leader for English reports to the Senior Leadership Team on a regular basis to keep them fully informed of developments. Formal presentations on English are also delivered as part of the Middle Leader Moderation programme and deep analysis of the department is conducted during the Senior Leadership Team Learning Walk framework.