English

At Scissett Middle School, the English department aims to encourage children to be thoughtful and critical readers, writers and thinkers.

From Years 6 to 8, students follow carefully constructed programmes of study which allow access to the highest levels of academic achievement, whilst encouraging a love of both language and literature. The key elements of reading, writing, speaking & listening and literary analysis are at the heart of all English lessons.

The department works hard to create a positive learning environment for all students, through imaginative lesson planning and the use of a diverse range of learning activities. The students’ classroom experience is enhanced by extra-curricular groups such as our book, film and creative writing clubs.

 

Key Stage 2 English

Subject Leader Key Stage 2: Mrs S. Hull | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Year 6

Our Key Stage 2 students enjoy a rich diet of high quality, exciting units of work that extend imaginations, instil a love of the subject and prepare our youngsters for SATs tests and beyond.

On arrival into Year 6, pupils are placed into sets based on their reading and writing abilities. This means that pupils’ needs are more specifically catered for in smaller class sizes ranging from around 12 to 24 children per group. Fortunately, we enjoy excellent liaison with our first schools; therefore, we are ideally placed to understand our children’s strengths and areas for development even before they arrive on the first of their transition visits at the end of Year 5.

Pupils in Year 6 have 13 English lessons over a fortnightly period, in addition to a fortnightly drama lesson.

Units of Work Studied by Pupils in Year 6:

  • Autobiography and Biography
  • Poetry
  • Journalism
  • Classic and Contemporary Fiction
  • Argument
  • Explanation and Instruction
  • Narrative
  • Formal Language and Recount


Key Stage 3 English

Subject Leader Key Stage 3: Ms E. Cronin | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Year 7 & 8

At Scissett Middle School we aim to ensure that all of our students are GCSE ready by the end of Year 8, by delivering a two-year, diverse, exciting and challenging KS3 curriculum.   

In Key Stage Three, all pupils have four lessons of English each week and these focus on encompassing the wide range of skills required for GCSE, whilst blending creativity and rigour. Alongside reading and writing, we frequently embrace the opportunity to develop speaking and listening skills, such as whole class debating and we ensure that our students are career-literate in English: a newly introduced journalism project teaches students about how news is reported and students then enjoy the buzz of becoming teams of editors themselves, reporting on current local/school news.

Units of Work Studied by Pupils in Year 7:

  • Creative writing
  • Non-fiction
  • Contemporary novel: ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar
  • Poetry (by poets such as Oscar Wilde, Seamus Heaney, Sophie Hannah and Lemn Sissay)
  • Gothic Horror
  • Short stories

Units of Work Studied by Pupils in Year 8:

  • Creative writing
  • Contemporary novel: ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck
  • Conflict poetry
  • Post 1914 play: ‘Journey’s End’ by R.C. Sherriff
  • 19th Century novel: ‘The Time Machine’ by H.G. Wells
  • Shakespeare study (exploring sonnets and extracts from various plays)
  • Careers-focused, active journalism team project

Clubs

The Book and Biscuit Club is run by Mrs. Hull. Members meet every Wednesday in room 13, at 12.15pm, to explore new works of fiction and discuss character, plot and themes.

The Real Cinema Club is run by Mrs. Hull, in room 13, on Fridays at 12.15pm.

The Creative Writing Club is run by Ms. Cronin, in room 3, each Friday at 12.15pm.

Homework

All years receive 3 weekly homework tasks, which consist of vocabulary and spelling. Year 6 also have a weekly reading homework task to complete.

KS3 Reading List

Click here to view

Useful links:


Bedrock

Click here to access Bedrock.

 

Accelerated Reader

Click here to access Accelerated Reader.

 

Learning Resource Centre

Click here to visit our Learning Resource Centre page

 

Advice for Parents/Carers: How you can help in English

Along with engaging in meaningful conversations, reading is probably the most effective way to help your child to progress - not just in English, but in different subjects too, as it underpins so many other skills.  The new Accelerated Reading system is excellent in helping pupils to progress independently and offers specific information and ways to improve. Encourage your child to really engage with their book and understand the meanings the author is trying to convey.  If possible, try to read with your child and ask questions, such as:

  • What is the meaning of this word?
  • Where/when is the book set?
  • How do you know this?
  • Who is telling the story?
  • What problems are faced by the characters?
  • Can you compare this to real life/another story?
  • Can you say why the author chose that word?
  • What do you think the character is thinking at the moment?
  • What makes you say this?
  • What would you do in that situation?
  • Why?
  • Can you say what might happen next?
  • What made you think this?
  • Do you like this book?
  • Why/why not?
  • Do you think the ending was effective?
  • Why/why not?
  • How might you have changed it?
  • What is your opinion on…?
  • What makes you think this?
  • What might the main character have thought about/done in this situation?
  • Why?

British Moral Values in English

At Scissett Middle School we believe that education is a holistic process encompassing the whole child; our inherent ethos is dedicated to making every experience a learning or enriching one.  It is important that our pupils become valuable and fully rounded members of society who treat others with respect and tolerance, regardless of background or belief.

Our aim is for every member of our school to embrace and promote the fundamental human values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs.

We expect all our children to understand the importance of these values and leave our school prepared for life in modern Britain.

Within the English Department, we believe that all we do is driven by cultural values and reflects the ever-changing world in which we live.  As such, we aim to select suitable high-quality literature and read, write and discuss about topics of local, national and global importance that shape our environment.  

Within the English curriculum, we explore these five strands in some of the following ways:

Democracy

We use discursive and persuasive arguments to debate, discuss and examine the power of words (both written and spoken) and images to influence and change opinion.  For example, children may be asked to write a eulogy for the funeral of Macbeth in order to change opinions from negative to positive sourcing evidence from the text.  Also, the plot of Macbeth generates discussion on the allocation of blame and how guilt is perceived and responsibility defined.

The rule of law

Through discussion and examination of selected texts, pupils will gain a greater understanding of the law, past and present.  Pupils may examine arguments for and against capital punishment or animal rights issues and compare and contrast laws that differ between countries.  Additionally, literature may be studied that gives rise to similar discussion, for example, should the key character, George from the novel Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, be imprisoned for the shooting of Lennie or could it be considered an act of compassion.  Also, in the book, Once, the overarching theme of the book is the persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust, which questions the rule of law within wartime.

Individual liberty

Students are encouraged to explore and discuss texts which examine individual liberty and the right to hold personal beliefs and opinions.  For instance, war poetry is studied in depth and the civil liberties of those involved in conflicts around the world, past and present, are also explored.  Another example is the use of the book Once, by Morris Gleitzman, which has an overarching theme of the Holocaust, where the treatment of the Jewish people is discussed.

Mutual respect

Pupils are taught to respect the cultures and beliefs of others through the media of poetry, narrative, journalism and other text types.  They are taught and encouraged to think and write with empathy and recognise that behaviour has its consequences.  It is crucial, also, in speaking and listening exercises that children learn to listen and respond appropriately and respectfully and expect this in return.

Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs

Tolerance is promoted by the varied text types selected.  Acceptance of others is fundamental to being able to empathise, which is a key skill of English.  Poetry from other cultures examines a number of issues of tolerance and Holocaust writings also generate discussion on the importance of being tolerant.  Historical themes, such as witchcraft and slavery, are also examined and the treatment of significant historical figures, such as Nelson Mandela, may be studied as biography.

‘It is impossible to teach English without constant reference, implicit or explicit, to the values embedded in language and literary culture.  NATE (National Association for the Teaching of English) believes that the subject should be seen not merely in instrumental terms but as a cultural study in which questions of values are constantly brought into focus for open discussion by reference, both to the enduring texts of literature, and to the emerging texts of contemporary media.’

Tom Rank, for NATE, 4 February 2015