English

"Teaching is consistently outstanding in English and mathematics. School leaders have implemented very effective literacy and numeracy policies which have contributed to the high levels of attainment in English and mathematics" Ofsted, June 2014

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Intent

The English curriculum at Aston Fields Middle School, across all year groups, is carefully designed specifically for our pupils. Its intent is to not only cover all aspects of the national curriculum, but to also nurture well-read, insightful, knowledgeable, inquisitive and enthusiastic readers and writers, who are confident communicators and attentive listeners. Ultimately, it is our intent that pupils read as writers and write as readers.
Literacy underpins all other subjects at school and is the basis for producing well-educated adults who will flourish in their future lives. Therefore, the acquisition of language skills is of the utmost importance at Aston Fields Middle School and the teaching of English is given a high priority across the school.
Our pupils are immersed in a language rich environment throughout their time here. Through high quality, carefully chosen, thought provoking, yet challenging texts, our pupils develop a love and appreciation of literature that we are proud of.
As a department, we recognise the importance of pupils being able to place texts within their historical and cultural context and that pupils are allowed to explore their cultural value. Additionally, a well-rounded learning experience when reading, writing and using spoken language is vital. Instilling a love for reading, a passion for discovery and a confidence to explore their own imagination is something all pupils are allowed to do here, so that they become lifelong learners. Carefully sequenced learning ensures all of this is possible. Throughout their four years at Aston Fields Middle School, the building blocks of learning are laid down meaning our pupils are consistently challenged to know more, remember more and do more.
We truly believe that all of the staff at Aston Fields Middle School are teachers of literacy and the highest standards are upheld by all. The English department is led by Mrs Birrell and she is supported by a team of English teachers, whom bring not only passion and a love of literature to their classrooms, but also have many years of valuable teaching experience. The English staff regularly share good practice and continually collaborate with one another to ensure your child’s experience in the classroom is second to none.


Implementation


Underpinning all we do within the English department is the absolute belief that all pupils here at Aston Fields Middle School have access to, and the right to, a broad and balanced curriculum in English. We offer a sequenced scheme of learning that builds across the year groups, meaning our pupils leave us with the skills necessary to be lifelong learners.
Reading is a fundamental part of everything we do here at Aston Fields Middle School. Right from the very start of your child’s education, here at Aston Fields Middle School, they are exposed to high quality texts in the classroom and are encouraged to read a wide reaching selection of literature with the help of our enviable library facilities. Reading skills are taught explicitly in all year groups. Carefully sequenced lessons mean that our pupils leave us with the skills necessary to understand what they are reading, infer the meaning of unfamiliar and challenging vocabulary and become inquisitive, questioning readers. Opportunities to explore writer’s techniques are interleaved throughout our schemes of work. We strive to ensure pupils become confident to discuss their preferences, likes and dislikes and are able to justify their opinions. These are vital skills not just further into their academic careers, but also in life. Renaissance Reading is an integral part of our approach to reading for pleasure and the high profile of reading in school is further enhanced by the numerous reading initiatives we carry out throughout the year.
Writing skills are taught through the range of high-quality texts and exciting stimuli: visual literacy, visitors, real life experiences and extracurricular visits. Pupils develop a rich vocabulary, which will enable them to bring their writing to life. Basic skills and non-negotiables, such as grammar, punctuation and spelling, underpin writing in all areas of the curriculum. Teachers model the writing process and demonstrate the ambitious high standards expected of all pupils. Every pupil is encouraged to let their imagination and personality shine through in their writing and, as such, our pupils truly do produce outstanding pieces of work. In every area of the curriculum, throughout their time here, pupils are encouraged and expected to apply their knowledge and understanding of the writing process in all of their lessons, refining their drafting skills, developing resilience to write at length and developing a conscious control over their writing.
Public speaking, performance, debating and listening skills are also honed during their time with us. Pupils are always encouraged to ask questions, to discuss what they are learning whilst developing their own confidence, enjoyment and mastery of language.

Impact


Pupils leave Aston Fields Middle School with a love of literature and a strong command of the spoken and written language. We pride ourselves on knowing that our pupils leave each year group having a wealth of transferable skills, as well as high aspirations and self-belief, having experienced a broad, rich and deep curriculum. As pupils move on to continue their education, they do so with a passion for English that will continue to grow and develop as they do.
We ensure that our pupils’ attainment is in line, or exceeds, their potential when we consider the varied starting points of all our pupils. We measure the impact using a variety of methods whilst always considering the age-related expectations for each year group. The impact of the English curriculum is monitored carefully through formative and summative assessment, monitoring of pupil books, pupil-teacher communication, knowledge and vocabulary in lessons and pupil voice. We intend that the impact of our English curriculum will ensure our pupils are academically prepared for life beyond middle school. The intent is always that they will be able to know more, remember more and ultimately do more.

British Values in English


At Aston Fields Middle School, our values are at the heart of all we do. Within our English teaching, we strive to provide opportunities for pupils to develop their own core values whilst instilling Fundamental British Values. Here are some examples of how we consolidate our pupils' knowledge of British Values hand-in-hand with our own English curriculum:
Democracy: Pupils will learn about democracy through the choice of novels studied.
Individual Liberty: Pupils will develop their individual liberty through freedom and choice of the content, audience and purpose of their writing (including developing and justifying their own opinions).
Tolerance and Mutual Respect: Pupils will learn about mutual respect through exploring character's relationships, friendships and behaviours. Pupils will be provided with the opportunity to discuss, debate and justify their own views and opinions and, therefore, develop empathy for others.
Rule of Law: Texts chosen, at Aston Fields Middle School, provide our pupils with a chance to explore how laws are enforced in an age-appropriate manner.