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Powerful Knowledge in English

Our ambitious knowledge rich curriculum exceeds National Curriculum requirements and provides students with the ‘powerful knowledge’ required for them to thrive in their studies but also in their life beyond school. We firmly believe that all students are entitled to an ambitious knowledge rich curriculum, which allows them to make a positive contribution to the world we share.

Our curriculum, across the Key Stages, is carefully sequenced and underpinned by the ‘powerful knowledge’ we expect all of our students to achieve, whilst also being underpinned by breadth, depth and challenge. In addition to the knowledge we expect students to acquire, we focus on teaching a range of carefully selected key skills, across each year group, which will ensure we are exposing students to the richness of Literature and Language whilst also revisiting key concepts at deeper levels.

By the end of their education, a student of English at Friesland School will:

  1. Acquire an innate awareness of the ‘writer at work’ and how the writer has consciously constructed a text in order to create meaning.
  2. Acquire a control over both written and spoken language, so that students can discover the power it has in the wider world.
  3. Have an understanding of the world around them and how they are connected to it.

Curriculum Features

We ensure the curriculum is intelligently sequenced so that each year builds upon what has come before and prepares for what comes after. Staff are careful and meticulous of what is learnt and, in what order, providing relevant and purposeful learning experiences for all of our students. In addition, 100% sheets provide students with a succinct format for the most powerful knowledge in English and ensure students are exposed to the knowledge needed in order to succeed.

Tier 2 and 3 vocabulary runs throughout the entire curriculum, which ensures students are equipped with the word power they need to succeed, at school and beyond. Whilst students are thoroughly prepared for any assessments, we also ensure this never cuts into learning time with the broadness of the curriculum being our key priority and the teaching of any GAPS in knowledge.

In years 7 and 8 students build on the foundations and fundamental knowledge learnt during their primary education so no time is lost on re-teaching what is already learnt, enabling students to form an ever wider and deeper schema. Our knowledge rich curriculum is designed to ensure students develop a body of knowledge, beyond the national curriculum requirements and to progressively help students master a number of key skills throughout Key Stage 3. Text diversity is a central pillar of our curriculum design, with students being exposed to a variety of books and genres, which reflect different worldwide views. The entire literary canon is studied throughout Key Stage 3, with a range of challenging and contextually appropriate texts read from the outset. Not only do we study Shakespeare every year, we challenge, stretch and engage students by reading whole novels/plays rather than extracts, with a focus on a solid understanding of the plot. In year seven, students study Animal Farm, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and 928 Miles from Home. In year eight we build on the strong foundations of literature studied in year seven and expose students to more contextually relevant themes: Stone Cold, Much Ado About Nothing and Refugee Boy are studied in year eight. Finally, in year nine we study the culturally significant Of Mice and Men, Blood Brothers and Romeo and Juliet. Working in conjunction with the whole school approach to reading and firmly embedding Accelerated Reader into our curriculum we will foster, amongst our students, a lifelong love of Literature.

In Year Ten, we ensure students have a solid grounding of plot, character and theme. There will be an emphasis on a rich knowledge base in Year 10, with students using their knowledge base to deepen their understanding of the texts studied. GCSE texts have been carefully selected to complement the knowledge acquired at Key Stage 3. For example, in An Inspector Calls students will explore the notion of responsibility and morality, linking back to the societal understanding they have immersed themselves in during the study of Key Stage 3. In Year 11, students sound knowledge base will allow students to have the confidence to articulately reference their content and ideas, whilst we maintain a focus on working in exam conditions, particularly in relation to stamina when producing sustained responses to exam questions. Formalised mock examinations take place frequently throughout the year, with the exact number varying depending on the needs of the cohort. Throughout Key Stage Four, students continue to build on their existing analytical skill, developed in Key Stage 3, and respond to a range of topical issues throughout the year. They master the skills of independent writing by regularly being expected to produce sustained pieces of work. Throughout the GCSE course we aim to improve student retention of knowledge; build student confidence ahead of assessments and ensure students are equipped with the stamina to achieve in their GCSE exams and the wider world.

At Key Stage 5, we focus on developing breadth and responding critically to a variety of texts, which span the literary canon. We ensure we develop curious, critical and independent learners by providing opportunities for students to pursue their own areas of interest and develop personal and independent learning skills, particularly in relation to the NEA component of the combined and Literature course.

Opportunities are built in to make links to the world of work to enhance the careers, advice and guidance that students are exposed to:

  • each unit taught has a ‘careers spotlight’, where students will explore professions linked to that particular unit of work.
  • through taking part in several national writing competitions, students will be given the opportunity to become published authors gaining insight into this career path and the process and competition involved in becoming a published writer.