Curriculum Intent Statement – English
At Shirebrook Academy, it is our belief that an empowering English curriculum equips all students with the chance to read, understand the stories, poems and plays that best do this. Our aim is to offer a broad, knowledge-rich, and intellectually challenging curriculum that provides our students with the knowledge, the skills, language, and grammatical skills to converse intelligently on a wide range of literature with the widest range of people possible. Our aim is to instil students with a love of reading and writing, as well as the disciplinary knowledge required to be fluent and confident readers, writers and speakers. Through the reading of a broad and deep range of literary texts, students are exposed to an array of writing styles. Our curriculum empowers students with knowledge of: vocabulary, grammar, genre, form, the craft of writing, authorial influence, critical reading, literary theory and more.
We do this through an academic literary focus, reading and watching performances of whole, canonical texts, and using these to access fiction and non-fiction that span across a variety of genres and time periods. We teach students the substantive and conceptual knowledge required to understand the literary periods that they study, but also to develop their ability to link these to significant national and international issues that are relevant to today’s society. Students are given opportunities to present, debate and discuss their opinions and beliefs based on the themes and topics brought about by the range of texts that we study, providing opportunities for the development of crucial oracy skills to be effective communicators who are confident in using their words as power. By doing this, we create confident and knowledgeable students, regardless of their starting points, who are able to adapt to whatever environments and circumstances they find themselves in in the future.
Our curriculum provides the opportunity for all students to read and experience texts that best promote a broad understanding of humanity, the world and history. We choose our texts carefully from the ‘the best that has been thought and said’- from Chaucer to Duffy and from Shakespeare to Willy Russell. As a result, students develop a rich and powerful knowledge of a text’s domain, its plots, themes and characters, as well as the cultural and social context which is relevant to its core. We encourage our students to gain a sense of the past, the present and the future. We aim to encourage our students to find their own place within the modern world and ensure they are confident to articulate their perspectives on challenging topics within English lessons.
In addition, we break down the complexity of English grammar into cumulative items of knowledge which are built into and linked to our schemes of work. We utilise cognitive science principles, to ensure students develop a knowledge of high-utility tier two vocabulary, grammar, form and structure. We support students at all levels to reach curriculum goals and beyond with teachers having the autonomy to adapt and scaffold according to the needs of their individual classes, as identified in formative assessment. Our focus on academic language, and effective writing through accurate and effective use of language, including redrafting work and refining written skills, allows our students to use their own words as power, much like the authors/playwrights/poets that they study.