Our English and Literacy Department is headed by a secondary trained English specialist who works closely with our specialist Literacy HLTA. Our aim is to prepare all of our students for independence with literacy in everyday life and also expanding and exploring their imaginations through creative work. Reading is at the heart of Brook Green and all students are encouraged to read for pleasure. We have an extensive library of both fiction and non-fiction books that cover many genres and a wide range of subjects. All year 7 and 8 students receive a free ‘Book Buzz’ novel of their choice and (through the Books Trust) we will continue to do this each year. In relation to both reading and writing, we celebrate a variety of days linked to literacy at Brook Green such as: Roald Dahl Day, National Poetry Day, Shakespeare Day and World Book Day. We aim to bring literature alive for students whilst also linking both literature and literacy to key skills linked to everyday life. Starting in 2014, we will also be producing a ‘Brook Green – Getting Your Voice Heard’ publication of students’ creative writing. Each student should make two levels of progress between years 7 and 9 and again between years 10 and 11. Year 7 also take part in 1-2-1 catch-up with English teachers and are programmed dependent upon their ability. This means that some students receive a year of 1-2-1 every week and others can receive two or more terms.
At Key Stage 3, students follow both the National Literacy Strategy and Framework with a focus on developing writing, reading, speaking and listening skills. Our aim is for students to be engaged through creative and enjoyable work and to develop both independence and confidence in all of their literacy skills. All KS3 students follow a phonics course in order to help them engage with texts at higher levels. In order to help students who find reading difficult, we have also developed our own Brook Green Phonics Course. Students are also engaged with creative and enjoyable texts such as Gangsta Granny, War Horse, Hank Zipzer, Stone Cold and Cirque du Freak as well as a variety of non-fiction texts. Students’ writing is improved through our ‘Grammar for Writing’ modules that focus on sentence structure and punctuation. Every student has personalised reading and writing targets to work on each term. These are specifically linked to their progress and are then reviewed every term. Alongside all of this, all students follow their own personalised Precision Training pathway where all students work on a daily 1-2-1 basis in order to improve their reading and understanding of a wide range of words.
All KS4 students will take either GCSE English Language and/or Functional Skills. We currently use the WJEC (EDUQAS) examination board for GCSE and Edexcel for Functional Skills. All students at Brook Green take Functional Skills English during KS4. Depending on the level students are working towards, students will then go on to study GCSE English.
Functional Skills in English allows students to develop their written work, reading and spoken language. Functional Skills is the equivalent of part of a GCSE at Levels 1 and 2. Work is based around ‘real world’ tasks and texts such as letter writing and reading comprehension. Students will sit two exams based on reading comprehension and writing. The exams for Level 1 and 2 are completed on a computer. The exams for Entry Level Functional Skills are completed on paper. All students will also perform two recorded speaking and listening tasks. One task is a formal presentation and the second task is an informal group discussion.
GCSE English students develop their writing, reading and speaking skills whilst also studying texts such as Of Mice and Men and A Christmas Carol. This qualification consists of 100% examination. There are two examinations based around Component 1 (20th Century Fiction) and a writing task and Component 2 which is based around 19th Century and 21st Century Non-Fiction. All students are given extract based homework very week in order to build up skills learnt during the week and also to extend their reading base. We will be using extract based text centered around different themes such as identity, struggle, other cultures, sports and other themes. Students will also perform one speaking and listening task of their choice based around the form of a presentation. All performances will be recorded for examination board moderation and department moderation.
The examination content is based around ‘real world’ situations such as reading media and non-fiction texts and writing to different purposes and in different forms such as writing a persuasive speech or creating an informative letter.QUALIFICATION/S: GCSE English Language / Functional Skills English
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