At the centre of our curriculum is the belief that through the reading of fiction and non-fiction, we can better understand ourselves and how the world around us forms our identity. Our curriculum is designed to expose students to a range of challenging and enriching texts that will fulfil this purpose. Our curriculum and the texts we teach are constantly evolving to better support us in this purpose. We have increased the breadth and diversity of texts in our curriculum that students are exposed to, considering genre and text type, as well as ensuring that we represent diverse voices reflective of our community, so students have a richer and more complex understanding of themselves and the worlds they live in.
We also believe that our curriculum must equip students to enter the world with the knowledge they need to thrive. Therefore, our curriculum aims to support students to read, write and speak with fluency and confidence allowing them to express their identity, feelings, arguments and opinions in the wider world. Our aim is to ensure that every student, no matter their background or experience, is able to articulate ideas with confidence. By embedding this knowledge strategically, revisiting and testing it, we seek to close the gap for disadvantaged students and to enable them to deepen their ideas and expression of them.
Homework and explicit teaching of revision skills is fundamental to this. Our curriculum has a rigorously planned rich knowledge base that aims to develop the cultural capital of our students and develop their vocabulary. Our classes are mixed-ability, and we are passionate about teaching to the top and including challenging content, while offering scaffolding and modelling so every student can access the curriculum.
In constructing key knowledge for units, we reflect also on the moral purpose of key knowledge, for example spending significant time addressing the civil rights movement and the history of feminism because we believe it will enrich our students as human beings as well as students. We constantly reflect on and evolve the knowledge for each unit, considering what are the bigger questions that the unit seeks to address. Each unit and lesson are centred around key questions that are shared with students and answered through our curriculum: the knowledge and vocabulary supports students to answer these questions perceptively and conceptually. Inspired by Julia Sutherland’s study on the impact of reading (‘Just Read’), we ensure that every module, whether reading or writing focused, includes a core set of reading and treat this as integral to learning in lessons, not just a vehicle for other tasks.
The English Curriculum is sequenced to develop student propositional and procedural knowledge, as well as their conceptual knowledge of literature and the wider world. In Key Stage 3, each year has a specific procedural knowledge focus, developing an understanding of language, followed by structure and finally purpose. Each year develops students’ conceptual understanding of how themselves and others are impacted by the world around them, focusing on the impact of settings, society and relationships on the individual. Through the sequencing of modules in a year, students will encounter texts of increasing rigour, length and challenge.