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.