The English Department has designed its curriculum on the premise that students should be taught to ‘play the whole game’ of English from Year 7. As far as possible they should carry out processes that mirror the work of professionals who read, write and orate for a living. The interesting thing about this is that no one is exempt from these processes or skills! A master of English does not become an ‘Englishian’ or an ‘Englicist’; masters of English are at the top of their chosen field whatever that may be. Lawyers read and dispute contracts; plumbers use and create manuals; estate agents cajole and persuade; the list goes on with parents perhaps having the greatest need of all to infer and negotiate. In short, we believe that a secure grounding in English extends far beyond the discreet academic subject – it prepares the way for our students’ success in adult life.
‘Playing the whole game’ means that students learn to:
• Reading: Understand the writer at work; interpret meaning from the writing of others
• Writing: Be able to write convincingly for a range of audiences / purposes; communicate meaning effectively
• Oracy: Be able to speak articulately, adapting language as appropriate for audience/purpose.
The KS3 English Curriculum at KAA has been devised by working back from the skills and knowledge required for achievement at the highest grades at A Level and GCSE. There is no formal requirement for pupils to be familiar with the different critical schools of thought at GCSE. There is, however, no doubt that by introducing literary criticism and the tenets of Feminism, Marxism and Structuralism before they are explicitly required by the exam board specifications, pupils locate their own interpretations and connections between texts within a broader conceptual framework.
Thus, the ‘flight path’ to GCSE for this skill/knowledge looks like this: