“God is the light that illuminates the darkness... and a spark of divine light is within each of us.” Pope Francis
Our Vision and Intent
We believe pupils should be exposed to and explicitly taught ambitious vocabulary, in order to best articulate themselves and the ideas in their heads. We feel that access to a wide range of challenging, age-appropriate texts, is critical, as this will widen our pupils’ repertoire for reading. We believe that fiction and non-fiction texts open doors, and we want to take our pupils to new places; to experience other cultures and societies within which they may otherwise never behold. We will passionately teach Shakespeare, not only because it is a requirement of the National Curriculum, but because the relevant themes and ideas intertwined in his writing transcend through time and give pupils greater understanding of our todays and tomorrows. We will read poems and travel with our pupils through periods in time, as poetry is our history and heritage. We will write creatively, in a variety of forms, because we believe that freedom of expression is a God-given right, and the words our pupils write are worth reading. Furthermore, we will renew and enhance our opportunities for speaking and listening across our curriculum, because talk is valuable, and the foundation for effective literacy and communication in the real world. We believe the English curriculum should be about exploratory experiences that pupils remember long after leaving our school community. Our vision is to provide education in English that is impressive due to a rigorous and challenging curriculum. Our departmental planning will be forward-thinking, creative and aimed towards developing academic excellence. Our English curriculum will underpin outstanding teaching, learning and attainment.
Within the English Faculty, our mission as leaders of literacy and literature is to create a learning environment which allow pupils to become:
- Independent Enquirers
- Creative Thinkers
- Reflective Learners
- Team Workers
- Effective Participators
These Personal Learning and Thinking Skills underpin our day-to-day pedagogical choices and practice. Our team are the instructors, the facilitators, the mentors: of deep thinking and layered learning. Our lessons provide the vehicle for enquiry-based learning, with pupils firmly placed in the driver’s seat for their learning journey.
In God’s Light
All pupils, no matter what race, background, religion, creed, ethnicity, are provided with the same, stimulating curriculum as their peers. Our department will never attach materials, texts or topics to specific ability groupings of pupils. Everyone is taught without prejudice in our English curriculum. Furthermore, our relationship with God is central to our education in English, as we are underpinned by the mission and ethos of our Catholic school. For this reason, the English department recognise their role in developing spirituality, in our relations with:
- Myself – in the past, at the moment and in the future
- Others – family and friends, peers, neighbours and community
- Society – local, national and global levels
- God – who is creator and redeemer
We understand how our pupils, in an increasingly secular world, need to meaningfully connect the Catholic faith to the texts we read, the discussions we have and the words we write. Our curriculum is moulded to ensure that God is at the heart of our mastery of the English Language, our individual skills and talents, and our explorations into the literary world.
Literacy (including subject vital vocab)
Literacy skills are implicitly and explicitly embedded throughout the KS3 and KS4 English curriculum and assessment model at Brownedge St Mary’s. Spoken language, and the opportunity to verbalise and articulate thoughts, ideas and processes, is at the centre of our English provision from Year 7. We recognise the value and impact of the spoken word, which is reflected in the meaningful spoken language assessment tasks pupils access each year, including performance poetry and topical presentations.
Furthermore, the vast range of reading materials we provide for pupils to enjoy and study reinforces our philosophy: open books, open minds. Fiction, nonfiction, plays and poetry are carefully selected and mapped into unit anthologies, to ensure that all pupils have the same, core literacy opportunities to explore characters, themes, issues, cultures and places which they may never have otherwise been exposed to.
Linking to this, reading helps us understand how to become better writers. Writing is explicitly taught in English as a tool for presenting a viewpoint, perspective and voice. Words have power, and we not only investigate how writers create effects, but how we can mirror these methods in our own written communication. We enjoy focusing on accuracy, creativity and form in order to create writers of the future. Pupils at Brownedge St Mary’s will have multiple opportunities to create poetry, letters, original narratives, descriptions, verse novels, newspaper articles, speeches and analytical essays.
Literacy is naturally at the heart of all we do in English, which feeds into the formal expectations of the GCSE assessment objectives at KS4. In English Language, reading and writing are both weighted at 50%. There is also the spoken language component which is separate but 100% oracy-based. In English Literature, critical reading is the most heavily weighted aspect of the course, but accuracy written communication still holds a 5% weighting. Beyond these percentages, pupils are taught how academic register, in particular tier 2 vocabulary, can heavily impact and enhance achievement in English Language and Literature. This is part of our vision as a department to ensure that all of our pupils have the capacity to express themselves with clarity and precision in the next steps of their education and working lives.
Careers and progression
English, as a fundamental subject and skill, allows access to a vast range of vocational and academic areas post-16:
- A levels and degrees, such as English Language, English Literature, journalism, creative writing.
- future jobs may also include editor, screenwriter, teacher, lexicographer, publisher, journalist, lawyer, librarian, social media manager.
Not only this, English implicitly links to other subject areas which may be of interest to our pupils: sociology; psychology; criminology; media; advertising; editing; drama; law; public relations. English is the foundation for most subjects, particularly at degree level, and therefore a strong grasp of English will help you in any career path you may wish to follow.