Curriculum Information for English

At Tottington we aim to provide an inclusive curriculum where all students are taught ‘to the top’ so that they reach their full potential, regardless of ability. During their English journey students will experience and engage with a range of literature texts which provides them with an insight into other cultures, perspectives, worlds and experiences that go beyond the classroom.

Our intentions are to instill a love of reading by providing a great variety of texts and expose students to powerful language. We endeavour to inspire critical thinkers who can substantiate their ideas and arguments which will result in students with the skills to articulate themselves confidently and fluently – both through the written and spoken word.

Our vision is to prepare students for the rigor and academic challenge of our curriculum and develop the resilience to study at a high level within school and beyond and therefore instill a love of lifelong learning.   

The English curriculum is an inclusive curriculum where all students are challenged, supported and taught ‘to the top’. Through the implementation of the curriculum we want students to   experience and engage with a range of Literature texts from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens to Small Island by Andrea Levy and Helen Edmundson. Our students receive a rich and fulfilling curriculum that provides them with an insight into other cultures, perspectives, worlds and experiences that go beyond the classroom.

We aim to instil a love of reading by offering students the chance to read a great variety of texts during our Reading for Pleasure lessons and through Sparx Reader our homework platform.  

Our curriculum provides students the opportunity to become critical thinkers who can substantiate their ideas / arguments and the ability to articulate themselves confidently and fluently – both through the written and spoken word.  It also exposes students to the power of language.

Overall, we aim to prepare students for life outside of school / beyond education and equip them with the tools necessary them to reach their full potential, regardless of ability.

Our Curriculum is a five year ‘Learning Journey’

At KS3, each year has its own theme and key focus / knowledge which is supported by the texts / SOL. In year 7: morality is the key theme. In year 8: duality is the key theme and in year 9 the key theme is multiplicity. 

The years are sequenced to ensure that as students progress through KS3, they are continuously and consistently developing key skills and knowledge, providing them with a strong basis for further study (KS4+). 
Within each year, SOL are sequenced to further support the development of skills and knowledge. 

There are clear links between SOL within year groups and across the key stage. (Prior / Future learning). This aides the development of schemas (generative learning) which improves / assists retention. 

This can also be seen through the assessments which increase in complexity, developing skills and knowledge simultaneously. 

With regards to KS4, we follow the AQA specifications for English Language and Literature. 

Units are taught through designated Language and Literature weeks which are interleaved. 

Units have been sequenced to reinforce prior learning from KS3 but also to ensure that more complex texts are taught later in the course when skills / knowledge have been substantially developed. 

Each unit / SOL in KS3 and KS4 have key vocabulary (tier 2) and subject terminology attached to them. These are embedded in lessons and through student responses. 

English Learning Journeys

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KS3 is not designed to merely be a prequel to GCSE, rather it builds on the foundations established at KS2 to develop learners in all aspects of their English education. It provides students with opportunities to explore a vast variety of texts whilst developing their reading, writing, oracy and critical thinking skills.

All the texts that students study from year 7 through to year 11 are sequenced for progression covering themes of power, conflict, duality, morality, poverty, guilt and many more.

There is sequenced progression of key vocabulary across the curriculum, this is explicitly taught and is revisited to unlock key concepts throughout the student’s learning journey.  

The curriculum is knowledge rich and the supports the students in building English disciplinary knowledge. It focuses on explicit, discrete grammar instruction at KS3 to embed accuracy and automaticity where it has not been secured at KS2.

There are multiple opportunities for writing embedded within the curriculum - this implemented via academic writing as well as creative writing at both KS3 and KS4.

Bigger Picture: Students to be made aware of the significance of this scheme and specific lessons in relation to prior and future learning. Students to be prompted to make links between prior key knowledge and skills in this scheme and those they have already studied. 

Checking For Understanding: Comprehension questions; think, pair, share; cold call; questioning; class discussion; mini whiteboards with a 3, 2, 1 reveal; weekly low-stakes quizzes. 

Live Modelling and Guided Practice: I Do (a metacognitive approach), We Do (under the visualiser or on the board), You Do (independent work with scaffolding); exploration, assessment and deconstruction of effective and ineffective model answers; resilience time. 

Explicit Teaching of Vocabulary: I say, you say; exploring the root and etymology of specific words; using key vocabulary within sentences; using key vocabulary in different formations and contexts; HOT words to develop tier 2 vocabulary. 

Teaching to the Top: All lessons included in the Mastery schemes are designed to stretch and challenge students. However, staff will adapt to ensure that the challenge in each lesson is appropriate for their class. 

Links to Wider Reading: Non-fiction texts used to create further understanding of literature texts and contextual knowledge. 

Retrieval Practice and Recall: Low-stakes quizzes; mini whiteboards with a 3, 2, 1 reveal; Do Now tasks; Link It tasks where students are prompted to recall prior knowledge and/or skill and make meaningful links to current learning. 

Students are assessed in a variety of different ways in English.

At KS3 students complete fortnightly quizzes that assess their understanding of what they have been previously learning. The quizzes give staff an opportunity to reteach some of the trickier content. Students are assessed regularly through mini-assessment tasks, exit tickets, comprehension questions and many more.

At the end of each term students complete an assessment based on the topic that they are studying at KS3 these are:

Year 7

How does the writer present Bill Sikes? Oliver Twist

How does Shakespeare present the theme of conflict? A Midsummer Night's Dream

How does the poet present Tom the cat? Poetry

How do storytellers effectively share their stories (spoken language) 

Year 8

How does Conan Doyle consciously craft characters for effect? Sherlock Holmes

How does Shakespeare present the character Caliban? The Tempest

How does Orwell present the theme of corruption? Animal Farm

Write and perform a speech that challenges an injustice you feel strongly about.

Year 9

Explain how Bronte presents Hane's childhood experiences. Jane Eyre

Which main character changes the most by the end of the play (Small Island)

Compare the way poets present a theme in two poems. 

Write a range of appropriate and engaging non-fiction text types. 

Key Stage 4: Years 10 and 11

At KS4 in English, regular assessment takes place but with a particular emphasis on live feedback throughout the lesson. We do this to address any misconceptions throughout the lesson and ensure that all students leave the lesson with the knowledge and skills of the key concepts for that lesson.

We dedicate two lessons a week to English Language and two lessons a week to English Literature. This has been put in place to ensure that all students have studied both language papers and all the literature texts by the Spring term of year 11.

At KS4 there are assessments at the end of each topic/text that is taught which are exam-based questions for literature. For the English language examination, regular assessment is done based on each question that students are taught and they are assessed by completing a full exam paper once all of the content has been taught.

Examples of previous English Literature questions can be found below:

Previous AQA English Literature Questions

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Students at Tottington study English and English Literature through the AQA specification. 

Homework is set through Sparx Reader at Key Stage 3 to enhance and develop their vocabulary and students are also actively encouraged to read for pleasure. In Key Stage 4, students utilise a variety of sources for homework, GCSE Pod, Seneca Learning, past exam papers and revision guides. 

From September students will be given the opportunity to visit Manchester Magistrates, the Bury Art Gallery, work collaboratively with other students to create a book of short stories. Year 9 students will be vising Media City at Salford Quays. Year 8 students will have the opportunity to take part in a debate in school and against others schools. 

English can lead on to further study at A-Level and degree level in Media Studies, English Language and English Literature. English underpins any role and career, however some that are more specific to English may include: 

  • Publishing 
  • Writing 
  • Editing 
  • Teaching 
  • Law 
  • Human Resources
  • Journalism
  • Politics