At St Matthias Academy, we believe the skills of reading, writing and communicating effectively are essential if students are to make the most of life’s opportunities and interact competently with the world around them. We strive to overcome barriers to learning, address cumulative dysfluency and re-engage students in a core subject that students often see as daunting. By offering a varied curriculum that develops core literacy skills, whilst preparing students to access the broader English curriculum, we aim to empower students and instil the self-belief needed to flourish in English and beyond. Each term is structured to allow students to focus on both literature and language and nurtures skills such as language and structural analysis, reading and writing stamina and speaking and listening.
We chose challenging and engaging texts and topics to stimulate discussion and debate and actively promote the British values of tolerance and respect. These texts aim to help our students develop empathy and knowledge of the world around them. Students benefit from a multimedia approach with opportunities for discussion and creativity and explore a diverse range of language across different time periods and geography.
At KS3, students benefit from engaging with both classic and contemporary literature and non-fiction texts. Students’ skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening are developed through a broad range of topics and engaging texts. At KS3, these include war, Shakespeare, Terror Kid, poetry from other cultures, The Hunger Games, Gothic texts, Of Mice and Men amongst various other topics.
At KS4, Y10 students also study conflict poetry and ‘An Inspector Calls’, by J.B. Priestley to help prepare them for the new 9-1 GCSE exam. Each unit aims to engage students with a variety of different writing styles, reading materials and lively discussion. Students have the opportunity to be creative, enter competitions and win prizes with their work. Each topic includes elements of both fiction and non-fiction. Year 11 students follow an intensive skills-focused programme of study to prepare them for the AQA English Language GCSE and the Edexcel Functional Skills qualifications.
At St Matthias Park, students’ progress in literacy is a very high priority. In addition to a varied English curriculum At St Matthias Park, our students have extensive opportunity to improve their literacy skills in regular, targeted literacy sessions throughout the week. These focus on revising and extending specific skills, and engaging students in articles about news and current affairs. We identify each pupil’s areas of development and provide an individualised programme of interventions to address any skills gaps. This approach is enhanced by access to Lexia and other computer software for targeted support.
The initial induction period at St Matthias Park allow us to identify skills gaps and target areas in the form of baseline assessments, CATS tests and reading age assessments. Impact is measured regularly through re-assessment and this cycle of reflection drives a fluid and reflexive approach to teaching and planning.