The English Teaching and Learning Area at St Mary’s is passionate about Language and Literature. We want our students to be as passionate as we are about learning.
We believe that reading is fundamental for students to be able to excel in English as it opens their minds and imagination as well as helping to develop their vocabulary and grasp of grammar.
Our approach to the teaching of English Literature and Language is an integrated one. Our aim is to develop the skills of our students so that they become great communicators whilst also developing an appreciation of the writing of others.
Literature allows us to introduce students to a range of social, political and cultural issues. Texts are carefully selected and students will study a range of fiction and non-fiction texts across each of the key stages as they develop their analytical skills.
Through the exploration of the writing of others, we promote the importance of being able to have a voice of your own. Both oral and written communication is valued highly and students are taught these distinct skills. Emphasis is placed on the accuracy of written communication and time is dedicated to ensuring that students secure the key skills of spelling, punctuation and grammar.
During each key stage, we ensure that the building blocks are put in place for students to succeed and to prepare them for the next stage. Students are given mnemonics to help approaches to writing and analysis which they can use from Key Stage 3 all the way through to Key Stage 5.
English is taught through seven periods per fortnight. Students are taught in mixed ability groups.
Students in Year 7 and Year 8 also have a timetabled LRC lesson once a fortnight, which is a designated reading hour.
In each Year group during Key Stage 3, students are given ample opportunity to learn and develop the core skills that are necessary to enable them to be successful within this key stage and build a foundation for Key Stage 4. Whether it be understanding and analysing the effectiveness of techniques and themes in contemporary and pre-19th century literature, writing according to purpose and audience, or improving speaking and listening skills, each segment of English is explored in every Year group using a plethora of strategies and approaches designed to meet the needs of all students.
Students will receive two hours of homework/extended learning per week.
Extended Learning for Years 7, 8 and 9 is split between reading and writing. Students will have a short story to read, which they will demonstrate their understanding of by completing a quiz in lessons. They will also have a creative writing task, which actively promotes and encourages a greater use of ambitious vocabulary, more sophisticated sentence structures and greater application of literary devices.