The subject of English is vital to developing reading, writing and communication skills and as such plays a crucial part in supporting learners in other curriculum areas, and more widely, life outside of school and the world of work: it plays an important role in increasing life chances and opportunities.
In English we study a range of fiction and non-fiction texts from different cultures, ages and genres to develop reading, comprehension, inference, analysis and comparative skills. We explore different writing types, forms and purposes whilst develop our learners’ basic skills and understanding of language. Our current cohort of year 11 students study for the WJEC GCSE English course, year 10 study for AQA English Language, whilst KS3 prepares our learners for KS4 with programmes of study designed to build greater confidence and establish the skills required for future GCSE success.
English is predominantly taught by Karen Challen and Donna Smith; both are qualified and experienced subject specialists. Karen has taught in alternative provisions for ten years and his highly experienced in engaging reluctant learners. She also has the additional responsibility of being SENCo. Donna is a highly experienced teacher of English of nearly twenty years. She made the transition to CPA from mainstream in 2013.
Our learners typically have weak basic literacy skills with 85% of them have reading ages significantly below that of their chronological ones. 100% of our learners have SEND and 14% have SpLD which poses a barrier to learning, many have had disrupted prior educational experiences or extended periods of absence from education, a number report feelings of failure and humiliation and are reluctant to write. As such we plan our lessons in English to be engaging and supportive. We work from a backward model starting with the assessment objectives, criteria and task then plot a coherent and clear learning journey where the required skills and learning are chunked and all stages are signposted to the learners in our care. Points of contact are established so new learning can be built upon a foundation of the familiar and safe. Desirable outcomes, approaches and vocabulary are modelled and scaffolded by the teacher so there is clarity and learners know what success looks like. We share assessment criteria and are developing self and peer assessment. Verbal feedback is frequent and encouraging. Marking is frequent and of high quality with supportive comments and targets or tasks set for improvement. The use of the literacy marking code aids more accurate writing. We encourage through praise and reward via the whole school RAISE and VIVO procedures. We firmly believe in the growth mind-set and that all students can make good progress and develop as learners and socially as citizens. We never give up and adapt to meet the needs of our individuals.
Book trawls, learning walks, lesson observations (both official and supportive peer) and a new progress to target tracking system help us to evaluate and review our performance and practice. 100 % of English lessons observed this academic year have been good or better.
Good practice within English is shared through day to day communication and the sharing of resources, planning and ideas. Both Karen and Donna are regular contributors to whole staff meetings and CPD sessions where good practice and approaches to literacy across the curriculum are shared and developed.