English is at the very core of our development, relationships and our understanding of the world around us. Students need effective written and spoken communication for their exams, but more importantly for their own personal growth and as a gateway to adult life. We want our students to be effective participants in wider society and that is why our English Department’s aim is for students to be able to communicate effectively through speaking and writing by the time they leave us so they are ready for their next steps in life.

From Year 7 we build on the foundations of the primary curriculum through a wide range of high-quality literature. We not only promote reading for enjoyment to ignite a curiosity in students, but also as a way of acquiring knowledge and exploring the world in ways that develop our students understanding of culture and their own emotional intellect. Our Secondary Reading Strategy recognises the barriers students face in accessing challenging texts and it encourages students to confidently explore and probe the literal and layered meanings in the texts they read. We develop our students so they become independent readers, and in order to do this, our reading is under-pinned with text-dependent questions and a range of reading styles.

The development of students’ reading skills feeds directly into their study of spoken language and the importance of verbal communication in accessing the world around them. We create opportunities for debate, and discussion, individual and group presentations, speeches, performing plays and reading aloud, so students can build their confidence and developing life-long skills in communication. We also build-in many opportunities to develop their control and accuracy in writing for a range of audiences and purposes. It is important that students use writing as an opportunity to formulate and develop their ideas and in using writing as a way to think critically about a topic and express their point of view. As part of this, we introduce and explore new vocabulary, whilst probing and investigating the nuances of language in order to enhance their written expression and clarity.

The English curriculum at Garforth Academy is thorough: it exposes students to effective challenge so they are able to build and refine long-lasting skills for the future, so they are ready to in their chosen KS4 and post-16 pathways.

Curriculum Intent Statement

We believe that students deserve a broad and ambitious English curriculum, rich in skills and knowledge, which ignites curiosity and prepares them well for future learning or employment. Our English curriculum will give students the opportunity to:

  • read complex passages confidently and methodically, in order to breakdown the language and structure to establish and analyse meaning;
  • develop a love of reading, both fiction and non-fiction texts;
  • demonstrate mastery of reading through discussion and writing;
  • enjoy a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts which help them to connect with the world around them;
  • develop cultural capital that will help remove barriers to achievement in school, future learning and the world of work;
  • promote an inquisitive and questioning mind-set that does not accept ideas and opinions at face value; 
  • write clearly, fluently and accurately in plain English, showing flair and creativity where appropriate;
  • develop detailed ideas in writing, adapting language to audience and purpose;
  • use a wide range of appropriate and ambitious vocabulary with precision;
  • produce ‘beautiful work’ of which they can be proud;
  • in talk, articulate and express their ideas, views and opinions about a wide range of topics clearly, confidently and respectfully;
  • develop their character, including resilience, confidence and independence, so that they contribute positively to the life of the school, the Garforth community and the wider environment
PedagogyEnrichmentOther general principles
Our pedagogy is underpinned by:
• a rigorous and systematic approach to the teaching of reading, adopting the principles and practice recommended in ‘Reading Reconsidered’ by Doug Lemov
• the regular use of live modelling and exemplar texts to demonstrate processes, standards and expectations
• a range of strategies to deepen knowledge so that it is committed to long term memory
• a need to ‘normalise error’ so that teachers can pre-empt error as part of their planning to address gaps swiftly, and students see error as a learning opportunity
• the importance of giving students regular opportunities to improve and redraft work
We will enrich our curriculum by:
• establishing cross-curricular links
• providing regular on and off-site subject or topic related experiences
• offering opportunities for children to learn outdoors where appropriate
• holding Trust-wide competitions to celebrate best work and extraordinary effort
• encouraging students to contribute to the life of the school and the community, including charity work, and use these ‘real’ contexts to develop their skills and knowledge in English
• developing partnerships with external providers that extend children’s opportunities for learning
Our curriculum will enable students to:
• learn within a coherent and progressive framework
• develop new skills through a variety of interesting contexts to foster enjoyment
• develop a rich and deep subject knowledge
• understand what they are doing well and how they need to improve
• explore the breadth and depth of the national curriculum
• build on their understanding of the importance of British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and tolerance and respect
• improve their spiritual, social, moral and cultural understanding
• to develop autonomy around their own reading