The English department has gone from strength to strength producing good SATs results. We pride ourselves on our high standards of teaching and excellent relationships with the students in our care. Our focus this year is ‘Becoming super spellers!’
We have a fantastic library here at Gamlingay and all pupils are encouraged to use both the books and ICT facilities both in and out of lessons. All pupils have reading records to record weekly reading and have a ‘Reading Buddy’.
All KS2 pupils are paired with a KS3 pupil as a ‘Reading Buddy’ and meet during form time every Monday to read together and discuss a chosen book. The aim is not only to develop reading skills but to build relationships between the key stages.
In Key Stage 2, Year 5 and 6 receive 5/6 literacy lessons a week. In year 6, provision for the SATS exams takes place from Christmas onwards and we offer a range of support mechanisms to help prepare students as much as possible for these tests; revision booklets are made available to each child and revision sessions are put on before and after school. Students are keen to adopt our positive and aspirational attitude, which ensures that all students achieve their very best. Attainment is reported in a Reading, Writing and SPAG grade each term, culminating in the final KS2 assessment SATS grades. Mrs Rider and Mrs Cooper teach year 5 for Literacy in class groups and Mrs Rider, Mrs Luck and Mr Ruzvidzo teaches year 6 in both mixed ability and set classes.
In Key Stage 3, students have four English lessons a week where they are set according to ability and taught to a high standard across the board. In Year 8, there is a move towards understanding GCSE exam skills ensuring that our students are prepared for the challenging years ahead as they move to upper school. At Key Stage 3, our schemes of work are continually updated in line with the new curriculum. We utilize a variety of texts and our interactive whiteboards are used to their full potential to ensure Language, Literature, Media and Drama are accessible to all students. Year 7 is taught by Mr Ruzvidzo and Mrs Luck, and Year 8 is taught by Mrs Rider and Mrs Luck
We work closely with the feeder schools, local middle schools and Stratton Upper School to ensure there is a carefully thought-out English curriculum from school to school. Literacy and English transition projects are a key development priority and we are working closely with our colleagues in the other schools to provide exciting transitional units of work to help pupils settle in to their new environment.
‘Literacy across the Curriculum’ is something we are very focused on here at Gamlingay Village College, ensuring that every member of staff is trained in teaching and delivering Literacy as part of their own subjects. To help promote the focus of Literacy across the curriculum even further we have “Every Child A Writer” days where students are grouped vertically and not by their year groups to partake in an activity day that celebrates a certain theme or topic.
We monitor the children’s spelling ages carefully at the start and at the end of every year and deliver a spelling programme during both form time and English lessons weekly which promotes the use of “Look, say, cover, write and check” to help learn the groups of words.
Extra-curricular activities play a significant role in the English department; visits to the theatre supplement class work on set texts and we regularly submit student work to a variety of poetry and writing competitions with many winning entries over the years. Recent theatre visits include, The Lion King, Matilda, War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night.
We also aim to put on at least one production every year in collaboration with the music department.
Key Stage 2
In Year 5 students begin their Literacy lessons by studying the legend of Robin Hood which acts as a wonderful stimulus for children to begin their life here at GVC. Other topics throughout the year include: looking at traditional stories and myths, Wind and the Willows and a robot project based around the text ‘The Iron Man’.
In Year 6, students begin the year with a topic on lions, focusing on the text ‘The lion, witch and the wardrobe’. Other topics throughout the year include; ‘All aboard’ a topic based around the text ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom’ looking at survival at sea and on a desert island and a ‘superhero’ topic to finish off the year. SATs preparation is embedded into literacy lessons with both SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) skills, reading and writing skills being at the heart of the year 6 curriculum. All pupils are issued with a revision book and opportunities to attend extra classes.
Key Stage 3
In Year 7 students start by studying the novel Skellig accompanied by excerpts from the film and drama activities. Written work includes a character profile and Empathy Writing. Students also study: a varied non-fiction unit focussing on travel writing; the classic novel Oliver Twist; Ballads and a media unit. There is also an exciting Drama unit which teaches the fundamentals of Drama skills and this concludes with an improvised and videoed class performance.
In Year 8, students study the novel Private Peaceful and the powerful contexts within which this text was written. Students also study: Gothic horror; Shakespeare; War poetry and autobiography work.