English at the Isle of Wight Education Federation – Unapologetically Academic-Unashamedly Ambitious (Jennifer Webb, 2019, How To Teach English Literature)
If a child believes they are capable of being challenged and their teacher believes in them and tells them ‘this is tough but I know you can do it’ in our experience – they rise to that challenge; they believe it too.
We want our students to have knowledge of the wider world, and to have the skills to participate in that world. We want them to be able to communicate both verbally and in writing to a high standard, to stand their own in an argument and be able to persuade others. We want them to show compassion and humanity. We want them to understand the nuances of the English Language.
So whilst our students will eventually be given four exams on topics taught at KS4, giving them GCSEs in English Language and English Literature, along the way they will be empowered to give their view, find joy in creativity, be inspired; shout when there’s injustice and do it all in good, standard English, using the most impressive, tier 2 and 3 vocabulary. Accordingly, they will learn to organise their views well so that they can be leaders, inspiring entrepreneurs; tenacious parents and interesting, well rounded young people.
The English Department at IWEF prepares pupils to take an active part in the world beyond school by developing their all-round communication skills. Therefore, all of our schemes of work encompass opportunities for those essential skills of reading, writing and oracy. Texts chosen for stimulus, which our SOWs are framed around, are chosen for their challenge and their ability to contribute towards a greater cultural knowledge – a knowledge of the world in which our students live. Consequently our schemes are built around abstract themes such as fate, poverty and freedom.
Specific skills and knowledge is plotted within these schemes so that there are spaced opportunities to practise, revisit, refine, deepen understanding and progress towards life-long readers and writers.
Language and Literature are taught as combined courses throughout both key stages and all pupils are entered for GCSEs in both subjects.