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English


English

Louth Academy English Department believes in the power of the English curriculum: its powers to liberate, connect, ennoble, inspire and engage. We know that people in life who understand the way that language works; who can articulate their understanding and who can move others with the effects of their own writing, are the people who will change the world; live enriched lives and flourish on whatever path they choose to take beyond the school gate.

By engendering an appreciation of the written word through a study of fictional and non-fictional texts we aim to show students that they can craft their own writing to affect the people who read their work. By studying good examples of writing, students are encouraged to make conscious decisions about the words they choose, the grammatical structures they employ, the tone, form and register of their own work.

We aim to provide all students with a stimulating curriculum and working environment which allows each of them to voice opinions which they know are valued; explore issues and themes of a challenging nature and ultimately achieve the very best of their abilities.

Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own progress through the support and guidance of their teachers.

Please explore these pages to find out more about what we offer.


Ethos & Values

Our aims are:

  • To deliver an English curriculum of the highest standard. A curriculum designed to lead students through many different genres, both as readers and as writers. A curriculum which builds on key skills and themes year by year, underpinned by cognitive learning theory.
  • To put English skills at the heart of the school’s curriculum. To encourage students to maximise their full potential in the three areas of language development: reading, writing, and speaking and listening and understand how these are relevant to all aspects of the curriculum and life beyond the school.
  • To ensure that learners build confidence, feel valued, motivated and informed about their own progress and are proactively involved in reviewing and evaluating their individual achievements.
  • To have consistently high expectations and match these with high quality resources and learning strategies.
  • To provide a range of learning experiences appropriate to the age, ability and needs of the students. Students are encouraged to actively participate in lessons, developing the ability to communicate effectively, accurately and with confidence, both orally and in writing, in a variety of styles and situations.
  • To support the English Curriculum and every student's progress through the development of independent learning at home.

Knowledge & Skills

The sequencing of the English curriculum at Louth Academy intentionally allows students the opportunity to experience key themes and skills at KS3, prior to mastering these at KS4.

Students are exposed to challenging, ambitious texts and materials from a range of rich and varied literary heritage.

As we progress throughout the curriculum we will revisit key skills and themes; students are encouraged to start making links between texts and applying skills more confidently and independently as they move through the curriculum.

We scaffold the learning of our students to ensure they are exposed to curriculum themes and skills gradually and repeatedly throughout their educational journey. The more exposure students have to these themes and key skills, the more confident they become to approach and enjoy ambitious texts and writing forms as they progress throughout the course.

  • All students are encouraged to develop their speaking, reading and writing skills, through their study of interesting and challenging texts, both fictional and non-fictional.
  • Students are encouraged and helped to broaden their vocabulary and understanding of the way language works.
  • Students are taught about explicit and implicit meanings and are taught the skills necessary for identifying and evaluating texts.
  • Students are taught to craft their writing for maximum effect.
  • All students learn how to structure their ideas for maximum effect.
  • Students develop their ability to read for different purposes - for information, research and personal enrichment.
  • Students develop their written communication and are taught to vary their style when writing for a variety of different audiences, in a variety of forms for a range of reasons. Accuracy in spelling, punctuation, grammar and paragraphing is emphasised and the opportunity for honing these skills is supported by the department's schemes of work and personalised feedback.

Resources & Facilities

  • Students have access to reading rooms, where there is a range of texts available to read for pleasure and to assist them in their studies.
  • Reading Plus is available to year 7 and 8 students to support them in their reading journey.
  • A range of interesting texts are made available to study at both key stage 3 and 4.
  • Classrooms include an interactive whiteboard to support the learning of all students.

Courses & Qualifications

Key Stage 3

We believe Year Seven should be exciting and challenging, and show children how the skills and knowledge they have learned at Primary school have prepared them for more sophisticated texts and ideas.

We also recognise that some students will not have grasped all of the word and sentence level work they will have been taught in KS2 and even KS1, and it is therefore essential we revise skills and build upon knowledge.

Year 7

Over the course of Year Seven, students will read a range of exciting and challenging texts and extracts of texts as they explore different areas of English language and Literature study.

In Year Seven Language lessons students begin with an exploration of a key theme, Human Experience, in the 'Life Writing' module, with a keen focus on speaking and listening skills. Students then examine the power of words and persuasive techniques used by advertising and the media, where they start to develop an awareness of language and meaning, before moving on to study the legends and myths which have helped to shape the canon of English Literature. A module about Quest stories helps to develop creative writing as well as helping to make sense of their own life stories. The summer term asks them to look at the emotional aspect of letter writing as well as the functional skills required to set one out properly as we explore 'Letters of Note' before ending the year with a study of the language of newspapers and broadcasting, in the module, 'Breaking News'.

Literature lessons allow students to enjoy a class novel – an adventure story, a range of classic poetry, a range of myths and a dramatic version of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' as a gentle introduction to the Gothic genre and link to the key theme of the Supernatural.

Year 8

In Language lessons, students begin the year with the module 'Out and About' examining descriptive techniques in classic modern literature and non-fiction texts. We also make links to the Year 8 school wide theme of Travel. We move on to examine the science fiction genre and how it has been used to explore possibilities and imagine developments, with a focus on using language creatively. We move on to a media module, and learn how to write articles and express opinion in an engaging, persuasive way. The next module focuses on the story of a refugee and her biographical writing, here we link to the previous learning from students on Human Experience. In the summer term we switch our attentions to Victorian literature written for children and touch on the Romantic period as we examine philosophical and historical ideas which have affected literature. This starts the process of students thinking about the social and historical context of texts and how that can affect our understanding of them.

In Literature lessons students read two whole class novels: one focuses on how relationships between characters unfold and one is a 'Who Dunnit?' to introduce children to the genre. They will also study key scenes from some of Shakespeare's plays, with the opportunity to see a performance in school.

Year 9

Year Nine is an important year, preparing students for starting their GCSE course in Year ten, by exploring texts and writing genres which will feed into their understanding of the skills and themes they will encounter next year. We know that the way to do this is by developing a genuine interest in, and engagement with the language of non-fiction texts and works of Literature.

In their Language lessons Year Nine will study the short story genre in the first module, 'The Art of Story-telling' as well as how autobiography can be used as the basis of creative writing in the module, 'Shaping Moments'. The modules, 'What it is to be Human' and 'Points of View' allow for the study of themes such as Human Experience, Perspectives and Overcoming Barriers and Challenges; providing skills and ideas which will be invaluable throughout life. In the summer term, 'The Art of Articles' returns to opinion-based reportage and the way professional journalists shape their work to engage and persuade their readers.

In Literature lessons Year Nine begin the year by examining a range of poetry, building on their knowledge of how poetry works and why it is written and learning to annotate and analyse in more detail. We move on to read and study a classic novel such as 'Of Mice and Men', linking in to the year 9 curriculum theme of poverty and the economy. The year ends with the study of a classic drama text such as 'Blood Brothers', 'Educating Rita' or 'An Inspector Calls'. As well as broadening students' knowledge and experience, these texts develop the skills and understanding of broad themes necessary for the study of their GCSE texts the next year.

Key Stage 4

Our priority at Louth Academy is to deliver an exciting and enriching KS4 which uses the GCSE courses to underpin an inspiring, life-enhancing, serious study of literature and language. We teach students to express themselves fully, powerfully and individually using the spoken and written word. We believe that English Literature is a necessary part of a meaningful existence; developing cultural capital and an understanding of broad themes that support students living a full and well rounded life beyond the school gates.

Year 10 & 11

All students undertake the study of two separate GCSE courses for English. They continue to be taught as two separate classes: English Language and English Literature.

The focus of lessons is preparation for the examinations at the end of the course, but ideas and skills are delivered in an engaging way as we continue to link to a range of broad themes through modules such as 'Changing Perspectives', 'Transactional Writing', 'Literary Fiction', 'Eye-witness Accounts' and 'Travel Writing'.

In Literature lessons students will study Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' and Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' in Year Ten and in Year Eleven examine the themes of 'An Inspector Calls' as well as studying the Power and Conflict poetry anthology, making thematic links and learning to make comparisons. The course continues to build on skills and themes that have been built upon throughout key stage 3 and the learning continues to be underpinned by cognitive load theory to maximise the student’s potential.

Courses

Eduqas English Language: this GCSE consists of two examinations; component 1 is 1 hour and 45 minutes and component 2, is two hours. Across the two papers, students will answer reading assessment questions on texts from the 19th, 20th and 21 centuries, followed by answering a range of writing tasks.

Students will also complete a Speaking and Listening endorsement, where students will be asked to perform a speech in front of a small audience.

AQA English Literature: Paper 1 assesses understanding of a Shakespeare text and a text from the 19th century, chosen from a list prescribed by AQA. At 1 hour and 45 minutes long, it is worth 40% of the final grade. Paper 2 is 2 hours and 15 minutes and consists of four questions based on a modern text, an anthology of poetry and two unseen poems.


Learning Outside The Classroom

Touring theatre companies are used to enhance students' dramatic experiences and ensure that all students are able to see at least one live performance of a play during their time at the school.


Where Does This Take Me In The Future?

As English underpins all other subjects in the curriculum, it plays a major role in preparing students for further study, working life and being a well-rounded member of society.

Focusing on skills of analysis and evaluation, as well as developing the ability to empathise with others and imagine viewpoints and perspectives different to our own, means that English study and qualifications prepare individuals for participation and success in every area of work; for life-long learning and for having a sense of one’s own unfolding story.

An English Language qualification at a pass grade or above is a pre-requisite for entry on many courses at college, or university and provides students with key communication skills needed for future study and the work place.

An English Literature qualification is an excellent way of showing the analytical and evaluative skills many employers and colleges value.


Reading – How Parents Can Help

1. Encourage your child to read

Reading helps a child’s wellbeing, develops imagination, cultural capital and supports learning in all areas of the curriculum. Just a few minutes a day can have a big impact on children of all ages.

2. Read aloud regularly

Encourage children to read aloud on a regular basis, this could be to a parent, carer, friend or sibling. Sharing books with younger siblings is a great opportunity to add funny voices and accents. Don’t be afraid to join in!

3. Encourage reading choice

Give children lots of opportunities to read different things in their own time - it doesn’t just have to be books. There’s fiction, non-fiction, poetry, comics, magazines, recipes and much more.

4. Read together

Choose a favourite time to read together as a family and enjoy it. This might be everyone reading the same book together, reading different things at the same time, or getting children to read to each other. An audio book on a long car journey could be a great way to engage the whole family.

5. Create a comfortable environment

Make a calm, comfortable place for your family to relax and read independently - or together.

6. Make use of your local library

Local libraries also offer brilliant online materials, including audiobooks and ebooks to borrow. See Libraries Connected for more digital library services and resources.

7. Talk about books

This is a great way to make connections, develop understanding and make reading even more enjoyable. Start by discussing the front cover and talking about what it reveals and suggests the book could be about. You could talk about how the book makes you feel and whether it reminds you of anything.

8. Bring reading to life

You could try cooking a recipe you’ve read together. Would you recommend it to a friend? Alternatively, play a game where you pretend to be the characters in a book, or discuss an interesting article you’ve read.

9. Make reading active

Create word association games based on the text you are reading, encourage everyone to join in. Draw pictures of characters and settings of the books you are reading, make a board game based on the plot.

10. Engage children in reading in a way that suits them

You know your child best and you’ll know the best times for your child to read. If they have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) then short, creative activities may be the way to get them most interested. If English is an additional language, encourage reading in a child’s first language, as well as in English. What matters most is that they enjoy it.

Where to find books…

Booktrust.org.uk: find reading lists of various genres for different age groups.

Lovereading4kids.co.uk: excellent recommendations, downloads and first chapters for free.

Amazon: search for a book your child has enjoyed reading and see what other people then bought.

The reading room/library at school: gives students an opportunity to browse and ask for advice and to borrow a book.

Charity shops always have a book section and often have great books to buy quite cheaply.


Writing – How Parents Can Help

Writing can be approached at word level, sentence level, paragraph level and whole text level.

Word level involves a child's range of vocabulary including subject specific words but even more importantly general words which can be used in all areas of life. 'Word level' also relates to spelling.

There are several ways of helping a child with their spelling. The 'Look, say, cover, write, check' method is one most students will have come across at school. Breaking a word down into syllables and learning the smaller chunks before putting them back together can be useful too e.g. 'in…de…pen…dent'. Sometimes it helps to pronounce the word as it is spelled rather than as it is usually heard e.g. 'bus…i….ness' becomes business. Mnemonics work well too – little rhymes or sayings which help children remember a spelling 'it's definite init?' or 'it is the gum that sticks the argument together'.

Widening a child's vocabulary is a matter of deliberately choosing to use words yourself and explicitly pointing them out. Praising a child for then using the word is a really positive way of reinforcing the idea of being excited about vocabulary. For a word to become part of a child's vocabulary they have to use it.

Encourage a child to be like a magpie picking up shiny words you and others leave lying around? A good example of this is the word 'eclectic' meaning varied - split it into syllables and explain its meaning, give an example of its use and hopefully next time they are asked what sort of music they are into or what sort of books they like reading they won't respond with 'lots of different ones'.

Sentence level involves grammar and punctuation. It involves choices to create effects and craft meanings. All students can learn how to order words to create specific effects and can make their writing more sophisticated once they have mastered the basics of clauses and commas.

Varying sentence length is important for writing to have impact. It shows a writer is aware of the rhythm of their writing.

Here's a clever way of getting your child to think about their sentences in a different way: Write down a mobile phone number. If there is a zero in it, replace the zero with a nine and if there is a one join it to its nearest neighbour. Now you have a challenge as this tells you how many words you can have in each sentence. So 07947 159658 becomes 9,7,9,4, 7,15,9,6,5,8 This forces the writer to be experimental with the construction of sentences.

This forces the writer to be experimental with the construction of sentences.

Structuring a paragraph is a skill worth mastering. Topic sentences work in Y6 and Y11: a sentence to start the paragraph which is a clear and bold assertion. This should be followed by a series of sentences which set about proving the first, or elaborating upon it. They can be joined together using connectives (joining words and phrases) which signal to the reader that they are being led through the idea. 'Before, once, despite, although, whereas, consequently, since, yet…) The paragraph can then finish with a bold statement which either sums up the content of this paragraph or points forward to the next one. It's a good idea to start and finish a paragraph with a shorter, punchy sentence.

Audience, Purpose and Form are key prompts all children need to think about before they start to write.

Audience: Who am I writing for and how does this affect my tone and my vocabulary?

Purpose: Is this a draft to gather my ideas, cross out and rethink or is it the final piece which is trying to record an event; persuade to my point of view; argue a case; give instructions; evaluate or discuss?

Form: What type or shape of writing is this and how does that affect my language and tone? Is it a letter; an essay; a piece of journalism; a review; an experiment? What are the conventions for that type of written form?

Finally, a note on handwriting. It is important that your child's handwriting is legible. It does not have to be joined up or fancy. At KS2 joining up letters was an essential skill, but at secondary level the choice is left to the child about whether letters are joined up or not.

Starting secondary school is an opportunity for children to find their own handwriting style. Some children will welcome the opportunity to print letters again or to join up some letters and not others. The important aspect of handwriting is that it communicates clearly and suggests that the writer wants their reader to enjoy the experience of reading what has been written.


Further Information

KS3 Websites to enhance English studies

GCSE English Language Revision Websites:

  • www.bbc.com/bitesize - This website has a variety of activities to support the study of the AQA English Language GCSE course. You can explore model responses, support with sentence starters, success criteria for each question and much more. Paper 1 & Paper 2.
  • www.youtube.com – 'Mr Bruff' Language tutorial videos range from Level 4 support if you are struggling with the basics and offers a range of high-ability videos if you are reaching for the stars and pushing yourself.
  • lifemoreextraordinary.com/revision/revise-english-language-gcse-aqa/ - An engaging video tutorial of Language support exploring the top tips and must have exam skills.
  • www.englishbiz.co.uk - An engaging website that offers a wide range of GCSE English Language skills and resources to practice at home.

GCSE English Literature Revision Websites:

  • www.bbc.com/bitesize/ - This website has a variety of activities to support the study of all the Literature texts students are studying at GCSE. Make sure you know your Marley from your Scrooge!
  • www.revisionword.com – This website has a variety of activities to support the study of all the Literature texts students are studying at GCSE. Make sure you know your Macbeth from your MacDuff!
  • www.studywise.co.uk – Various links to revision sites and tuition videos.
  • www.quizlet.com – Variety of flashcard activities focusing on Literature texts e.g. Characters, key quotations, themes etc.
  • www.youtube.com – 'Mr Bruff' Literature tutorial videos range from Level 4 support if you are struggling with the basics and offers a range of high-ability videos if you are reaching for the stars and pushing yourself.
  • www.sparknotes.com/nofear/shakespeare/macbeth/ - Spark Notes provides a modern day 'translation' of Macbeth which facilitates your understanding of the play as a whole, including support notes and annotations to further develop your critical analysis of the text. Have No Fear!

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Louth Academy
Principal

Philip C Dickinson
BA (Hons) MA PGCE.
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