“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”
The English curriculum at Atlantic Academy Portland is designed to unite the important skills of reading, writing and speaking. Contributing to students’ understanding of and communication within their world, language and literature are vital, essential tools that allow students to access other subjects.
Through providing an outstanding English curriculum, including nurturing a love of reading for pleasure and teaching core knowledge, students are enabled to achieve at the highest possible standard.
Read, Write, Inc (Reception and Year 1)
Talk for Writing (KS1)
Accelerated Reading (KS1-KS4)
Core knowledge booklets
Opportunities for application
Interleaved curriculum (KS4)
Identification and challenging of misconceptions
Assessment for learning, including high impact whole class feedback, continual improvements through lessons
Implementation of cognitive science principles to support learning over time
To provide an enriching, stimulating and inspiring English curriculum that challenges and supports strong learning outcomes in phonics, reading, writing and speaking so that students can master age related expectations and beyond.
EYFS and Key Stage 1
In Key Stage One, students develop a strong foundation in phonics in order to support early reading, writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Phonics is taught within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and within Key Stage One (KS1) using the ‘Read Write Inc’ Scheme. Children in Year 1 consolidate the learning taught in Reception and are assessed by completing a Phonics Screen Check administered during the Summer Term. Phonics is taught daily for a minimum of 30 minutes in KS1 and 1 hour in EYFS.
In Reception and Year 1, every child takes home a Book Bag book linked to the Read Write Inc scheme. Each book contains the appropriate sounds taught to individual children and enable students to consolidate the learning already taught at school. Once the children have read all the books in grey level, children from Year 1 and above are assessed on their reading ability using the Accelerated Reader Programme. From completion of a Star Test, children are given a specific reading range, enabling them to select and choose an appropriately challenging book to read. Once the book has been read, a quiz is completed with their progress tracked and recorded. In KS1 all children are expected to read for a minimum of 10 minutes per day.
In EYFS and Year 1 a carousel Guided Reading approach is delivered directly from the Read, Write Inc programme using the appropriate colour banded reading book linked with a specific sound taught within the scheme. Children are assessed and grouped according to their phonological understanding and read with an adult in a Guided Reading environment once a week. Teacher notes are recorded onto an Atlantic Academy Reading Proforma updated weekly to monitor reading progress of each child.
Children in EYFS and Key Stage One are taught to write using Talk 4 Writing. Children read a text and recall parts of the text in order drawing a story map. From this children orally rehearse sentences, innovate and make changes, ready to rewrite their own version. During these lessons, Year 1 and 2 students practise and apply the skills for spelling, punctuation and grammar independently in their written work. The children are expected to be able to put into practice all the skills required from the ‘Teacher Assessment Framework by the end of Key Stage 1.
Grammar is taught discretely (from Year 1) as well as being interwoven within English Lessons. Grammar lessons are taught for a minimum of 20 minutes. Lessons are planned with objectives taken from the English National Curriculum using a specific area of focus for children to practise and consolidate learning. Grammar focussed tasks are evidenced within the children’s English books, with children using purple pens to mark and assess the learning against the objective.
Children in Key Stage One, particularly Year 2, follow the ‘Spelling Shed’ spelling scheme. Spelling is taught discretely, recorded in books and assessed by a weekly online quiz. Spelling follows the pattern of Look, Cover, Say, Write, Check. Within their writing, children are taught to use a dictionary, ready for Key Stage Two in order to find spellings of words they are unsure of.
Key Stage 2
Throughout Key Stage 2, students develop their reading, writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar skills through high quality teaching and learning.
Students undertake a daily thirty minute reading lesson which is based on a shared class book. These anchor texts are identified in the overview below. The chosen books are carefully selected to ensure that they are challenging the most able readers in the year group whilst good teaching enables all pupils to access the texts with success. The key skills of retrieval, inference and evaluation are taught. The use of P.E.E. (Point, Evidence, Explain) in upper Key Stage 2 enables pupils to demonstrate their understanding; reference the example from the text; relate it to their own experience; and empathise with the characters and scenarios.
Pupils undertake a one hour writing lesson each day. The lesson is often inspired from the class novel and a variety of text types, both non-fiction and fiction, are taught and developed throughout each year. As students move through the key stage, the features of each genre are developed in order to meet the requirements of the ‘Teacher Assessment Framework at the end of Key Stage 2.’ In upper Key Stage 2, opportunities to combine text elements result in students producing hybrid texts such as narrative recounts.
During these lessons, students are expected to apply the skills for spelling, punctuation and grammar independently in their written work.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar:
Students undertake a daily thirty minute spelling, punctuation and grammar lesson throughout Key Stage 2. These lessons are based around the concepts identified in the English Knowledge Organisers which are produced for each year group.
This daily session provides opportunities to introduce, learn and practise: spelling patterns; a range of different types of punctuation; and grammar- specifics. These lessons are at the centre of developing our students as high-quality writers.
Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3 students develop a range of reading and writing based skills through studying novels, poetry, short stories, non-fiction and drama. Students learn how to structure writing for a variety of purposes with explicit teaching of grammar and vocabulary.
As part of the Aspirations ‘No Limits’ curriculum design, all Year 7 students across the Aspirations Trust follow a core English curriculum. The sequencing of the curriculum linked to the ATL assignments and curriculum intent.
Year 8 and Year 9:
Each Year 8 and Year 9 unit of work includes an ‘anchor text’ and a wide variety of texts from different periods and genres. Based on a theme, each unit allows students to engage with the idea that ‘reading and writing helps us to make sense of the world we live in and the experiences we have’. Using a knowledge based curriculum, students build on their reading, writing and speaking skills developed in previous years while keeping in mind their GCSE aspirations.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4 students prepare for AQA English Language and AQA English Literature GCSE exams. The KS4 English curriculum has been planned as an interleaved curriculum (September 2019: Year 10; September 2020: Year 11) so that students are continually participating in retrieval practice and spaced learning. Over two years they learn to analyse and write about their set texts:
Jekyll and Hyde
An Inspector Calls
AQA anthology: Power and Conflict poetry
Students also develop their writing skills through exploring creative writing in preparation for English Language Paper 1 and writing to argue and persuade as preparation for English Language Paper 2.
The GCSE is assessed through four exams: two in English Language and two in English Literature.
GCSE students are encouraged to follow the English department on Instagram. We use social media to promote revision tips, books recommendations and English competitions.