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Horbury Academy

Horbury Academy

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Department Overview

The English department is staffed by a strong and forward-thinking team of specialist teachers and an intervention support team who provide additional support where necessary. Our vision is to motivate, enthuse and inspire all learners so that they have a curiosity and interest in English and are active participants in their learning. Through our curriculum, we aim to foster and encourage a lasting enjoyment and appreciation of both literature and language, enabling every student to achieve his or her potential. Ultimately, we want our students to be skilful and confident communicators who are prepared for adult life in modern Britain.

Curriculum Leader: Ms S Wilmot 

Key Stage 3

Students are taught in year blocks and have four one-hour lessons per week.

Our Key Stage 3 curriculum includes many engaging, challenging and kinaesthetic learning opportunities for students. Our schemes of work are driven by a strong passion for literature and include ‘Animal Farm, ‘Sherlock Holmes, ‘Shakespeare’ and a range of English Poets. Our schemes focus on an integration of language and literature skills in order for students to understand the strong link between these two elements.

We use the PiXL (Partners in Excellence) mantra of Diagnosis, Therapy and Testing (DTT) to enable our students to master their skills within English.  Half-termly assessments, which are shaped around the DTT model, help to inform our teaching and to identify where intervention is necessary.

Reading is given an extremely high status within the department and we promote it as a way of broadening the mind, developing the imagination and widening vocabulary, as well as simply being an enjoyable activity. To support this vision, the challenge around reading has recently increased. There is an expectation at Horbury that our students are presented with challenging texts through the curriculum but also that they will become independent and resilient readers who develop through an independent passion for reading.  To promote and grow this mindset, we expose our students to a variety of texts within the classroom from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century. To be successful at English you must be a strong and independent reader.

Key Stage 4

Students are taught for four hours per week.  Key Stage 4 begins early at Horbury Academy with Year 9 seeing students beginning to study their English Language GCSE course that they will sit at the end of Year 10.

There is a real excitement around the recently launched new AQA English Literature and Language specifications. Our curriculum offers a challenging programme where students will study 19th century fiction (A Strange Case of Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde; modern drama (A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time); Shakespeare’s (The Tempest); an anthology of poetry (Either Love and Relationships or Conflict and Power) has been selected and the skills around this are successfully developed until students feel confident with Unseen Poetry. Students will be assessed at the end of the course (which for English language is the end of year 9) with four exams; two for language and two for literature.  

Supporting our Students

We recognise that not all students develop in the same way. Sometimes, to ‘Fly High’ we need to support students to achieve a greater success through smaller stepping stones.  In order to do this the English department has a large Intervention Team that drives the intervention and support for all of our students.  We screen students for reading and spelling and use this, alongside other data, to formulate strengths and areas for development for each and every student within the Academy. A programme called Step-Up to English is used in order to ensure that our KS3 students are GCSE ready by the end of Y8.  At KS4, and alongside the PiXL model of DTT, students are supported in order to ‘Boost and Secure’ their GCSE performance.   

How the English Department actively promotes British Values through the curriculum

With a broad and balanced curriculum, the English department strive to prepare students for life in modern Britain. The curriculum includes study of a range of British heritage texts and authors, as well as modern poetry and non-fiction, to ensure that all students are aware of the diverse and rich literature culture at their fingertips. We explore current and topical issues through a variety of media and literature and at the very least ensure that every student accesses at least three Shakespeare plays, a Louis Stevenson novel and an anthology of poetry from 1790 onwards. 

Some of the British authors and playwrights we study

Robert Louis Stevenson- ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle- ‘The Sign of Four’, Simon Stephens- ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ (play script); William Golding- ‘Lord of the Flies’; George Orwell- ‘Animal Farm’.

Some of the British poets we study

Love and relationships

Lord Byron  When We Two Parted 
Percy Bysshe Shelley Love’s Philosophy
Robert Browning Porphyria’s Lover
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Sonnet XXIV - I Think of thee
Thomas Hardy Neutral Tones
Maura Dooley Letters from Yorkshire
Charlotte Mew The Farmer’s Bride
C Day Lewis Walking Away
Charles Causley Eden Rock
Seamus Heaney Follower
Simon Armitage Mother, any distance
Carol Ann Duffy Before You Were Mine
Owen Sheers Winter Swans
Daljit Nagra Singh Song!
Andrew Waterhouse Climbing My Grandfather

Conflict and power

Shelley Ozymandias
Blake London
Wordsworth The Prelude: stealing the boat
Robert Browning My Last Duchess
Alfred Lord Tennyson The Charge of the Light Brigade
Wilfred Owen Exposure
Seamus Heaney Storm on the Island
Ted Hughes Bayonet Charge
Simon Armitage Remains
Jane Weir Poppies
Carol Ann Duffy War Photographer
Imtiaz Dharker Tissue
Carol Rumens The Émigrée
The Émigrée Kamikaze
John Agard Checking Out Me History