English is a busy, vibrant department which is totally committed to achieving the best possible results for every child.
Over the last year, we have enhanced our English curriculum by refining the topics studied to include a wider range of challenging and highly engaging topics to allow pupils of all abilities to achieve highly. English skills are developed and practised across the curriculum, with extended writing and complex reading tasks included in all subjects. This cross-curricular skill-building is further supported through the school’s value system and our Behaviour for Learning focus. A range of independent tasks, research projects and collaborative work are included in our English lessons, whilst these are also supported by purposeful homework.
In Years 5 and 6, English is taught in mixed ability tutor groups so class teachers can foster and monitor literacy skills across the curriculum and, at the same time, ensure appropriate support and challenge is provided.
At the end of KS2, in Year 6, pupils complete the KS2 tests which provide an independent benchmark of attainment and achievement and help pupils foster excellent organisational and study skills.
At the end of Year 6, more confident learners are placed in the R band; those who need extra support are placed in the S band where classes are usually significantly smaller and may also be supported by a teaching assistant. The English team regularly review pupil progress, and movement between groups takes place as appropriate.
All Key Stage 3 classes have four hours of English lessons each week which includes a half-hour Library lesson and a half-hour Spelling lesson.
At the end of KS3, in Year 8, pupils complete the Optional SATS which are independently marked and show that our pupils consistently perform well above the National and Hertfordshire average.
Writing covers a wide range of purpose and audience and pupils are encouraged to enjoy being creative and to share their ideas by getting involved in the many special projects, competitions and activities which are on offer at Ralph Sadleir: these include poetry competitions, book quizzes, author visits and creative writing projects.
Ofsted found the teaching of English at Ralph Sadleir to have many outstanding features and commented both on the high quality of observed lessons and on the high achievement of our Year 8 pupils.
Special Events in the English Year
– Author visits and book signings.
– Drama performances to parents to celebrate range of pupil achievement in Drama.
– Year 7 Shakespeare Workshop and Performance Morning. Pupils explore key themes in Shakespeare’s magical ‘Tempest’ and take part in a performance of Anthony Glenn’s one man show of the play. Together with Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom,’ the unit of work on The Tempest is a key part of the transition studies linking English at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3.
– Year 8 Shakespeare Performance Challenge. Pupils enjoy four days of Shakespeare workshops on ‘Romeo and Juliet’ which they also study in English lessons. During the workshops, and with the guidance and direction of actor/educator Anthony Glenn, Year 8 pupils develop their own interpretation of the play. This workshop production is performed first to our Year 7 pupils and then to parents. Pupils consistently tell us how inspirational they find working with a professional acting coach and how the workshops deepen their understanding, not only of Shakespeare but also of meeting deadlines and working as a team.
– Visit to Freman College each Summer to see a live performance of The Intermission Year Play.
Events and activities open to pupils in all years
– Further Speaking and Listening and Drama activities are incorporated into the curriculum both in English and in other subjects.
– Visits and trips are arranged as and when possible in order to promote and extend pupils’ enjoyment and appreciation of theatre and literature.
– National Poetry Day is usually on the first Thursday of October each year and the whole school participates in competitions and special events. The results and entries are celebrated in displays around school and in the newsletter and pupil magazine.
– Visiting poets (e.g. Ash Dickinson, who proved to be an inspiring writer, speaker and performer).
– In World Book Week, we hold our annual Book Fair when pupils and parents can peruse and buy new titles.
– In recent years, pupils have had their writing recognised in a number of competitions, including House Poetry and competitions run by Young Writers and The Buntingford Journal.
If you would like more information regarding our English curriculum, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org