At Irlam and Cadishead Academy, our purpose is to deliver a broad English curriculum that encourages all our pupils- irrespective of their ability or talents – to love literature and the beauty of the English language. We want to give them the confidence to express their ideas clearly and with passion, in both written and spoken forms. The English curriculum aims to build on pupils’ understanding of their environment, developing their ‘cultural capital’, and so allow them to engage constructively and productively with the world around them. It should develop lifelong skills that enable our pupils to build a future that brings security and contentment. The English curriculum offers our pupils the opportunity to read a wide range of inspiring, challenging and diverse texts which develop their ‘cultural capital’. It is designed to enable all pupils to read fluently, critically and with deep understanding, linking texts to real-life experience and context whenever possible; to help our pupils make accurate and perceptive comments about character, mood and atmosphere and explore the subtleties of the writer’s craft. Through the curriculum, our pupils will be taught how to make detailed analysis of how language and structure are used to achieve effects and influence the reader. They will learn how to use relevant subject terminology, where appropriate, to effectively support their comments. The texts selected and studied represent a significant demand on learners in terms of content, structure and the quality of language, providing rigour and challenge at all levels. To support this challenging process, knowledge organisers are used to guide our pupils through each topic in each key stage. Texts from across a wide range of genres and types have been selected to develop both skills and knowledge in a well-structured and cohesive manner. The English curriculum empowers pupils to use the knowledge and skills gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing. It should enable our pupils to develop plot and characterisation with detail, originality and imagination; to organise their writing clearly and imaginatively; to use structure and grammatical features ambitiously to give their writing cohesion and coherence; and convey precise meaning using Standard English appropriately. The English curriculum will help our pupils to use grammar correctly, punctuate and spell accurately and acquire and apply a wide academic vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology. This process is also supported by the use of knowledge organisers. A key intent is to encourage pupils to produce a wide range of high-quality written texts. To ensure this happens, explicit links are made with the culturally-enriching, challenging texts that are studied to inspire their own writing. With regard to speaking and listening, the English curriculum encourages pupils to express sophisticated ideas, information and feelings using an appropriate and ambitious repertoire of vocabulary. It will enable our pupils to organise and structure their speech using an effective range of strategies to engage their audience and to respond perceptively to questions and feedback. Our intent is to enable our pupils to become truly confident and articulate public speakers, who recognise the impact confident communication will have on their life after their education at Irlam and Cadishead Academy.
To ensure that all students successfully master the use of a broad and wide-ranging bank of ambitious vocabulary, methods, terms and concepts, formative assessment will take place for KS3 in the form of weekly knowledge organiser quizzes. Teachers will additionally monitor and assess the application of this core knowledge within halftermly formative extended reading and writing assessments. These assessments will be recorded in the pupils’ formal assessment books. Formal reading and writing examinations will take place twice a year. At KS3, these examinations are specific to the skills and knowledge taught in the scheme of learning. At KS4, examinations mirror the terminal examinations provided by the awarding body, AQA. Assessment data is used to judge the success of the curriculum and progress towards mastery, with teaching time allocated to the re-teaching of specific knowledge. Three key assessment points in the school calendar are used to inform the department where intervention is necessary; the pupils who are not making progress are supported with the STEP-UP programme. The success of pupils making progress is celebrated with prominent displays, and through the department and school’s reward system. Students’ progress in reading will be judged and reviewed regularly through whole school testing, ensuring that all students are challenging themselves to read purposefully and keenly. This is designed to positively impact their confidence in approaching seen and unseen texts at KS4, as well as in their cross curricular studies. The impact of building students’ communication skills will be assessed through students’ participation in speaking events such as formal GCSE examinations, planned Socratic speaking and listening tasks and Rotary speaking competitions. Extra-curricular opportunities are provided for all pupils to access. These include trips to local theatres to watch the performances of plays that are relevant to the schemes of learning. Our writer in residence, Curtis Jobling, makes regular visits to our school to promote the love of reading. Most recently, he has spoken to our Year 6 transition pupils, as well as our Year 7 cohort. Regular competitions are promoted for pupils to receive external opportunities to have their work critiqued and celebrated. These include poetry and short story writing competitions – ‘Poetry Escape’ and ‘Mission Chaos’.