English (including English Literature)
The English curriculum at Wymondham High Academy embodies the wider vision and values of the school by providing a broad, inclusive curriculum that promotes choice and recognises diversity, enabling all to fulfil their learning potential. The study of English has a unique role to play in developing engaged and compassionate citizens. By fostering a love of language and reading, our ambitious curriculum seeks to develop students’ understanding of themselves, the world, and its people. The design of the English curriculum cultivates and develops students’ literacy skills, in order to equip them with their entitlement to converse and express themselves confidently in a demanding and constantly changing world.
Because background knowledge is the key to academic reading and therefore vital to academic success, the English curriculum is knowledge rich. Students study a broad range of challenging and diverse Pre and Post-1900 texts from different genres, exploring prose, poetry, fiction, drama and non-fiction. The English curriculum demonstrates great breadth by enabling students to delve into the history of English Literature as well as promoting an appreciation for contemporary influential texts. However, English is also a subject that should inspire students through the texts that they encounter, encouraging and challenging their thoughts and perspectives on a range of topics. Accordingly, we ensure students are exposed to many different voices: some from the literary canon, but also those that are more marginalised.
We have designed a seven-year English curriculum split into three distinct learning phases:
The ‘core curriculum’ aims to shape a strong working knowledge of the origins and development of English language and literature. Taking a chronological approach, students encounter a varied range of writers and texts, from classical mythology to modern classics. They will also follow a sequence of grammar and vocabulary instruction, ensuring that they can express themselves both orally and in their written work with clarity and assurance. By the end of this phase, students will have engaged with each of the literary contexts and concepts that they will need for success in the ‘focused curriculum’.
The ’focused curriculum’ intentionally challenges students to apply their burgeoning understanding of language and literature to seminal literary works and unseen extracts. From Shakespeare and the Victorian novel to poetry anthologies and post-war fiction, the ‘focused curriculum’ continues to provide breadth and challenge. Students will also use their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary at this point to hone their skills of interpretation and argument, thus enabling them to produce extended creative and discursive responses. The ‘focused curriculum’ culminates in GCSE examinations in English Language and Literature.
For students taking A Level English literature at Wymondham High Academy, the purpose of the ‘specialised curriculum’ is to embolden students to engage critically and creatively with the texts that they read. By exploring the relationships that exist between texts and their contexts from the genres of tragedy and crime, both of which they will have studied in earlier phases. Students will investigate and connect their reading, using a variety of reading strategies and perspectives. The ‘specialised curriculum’ completes students’ English study at Wymondham High Academy and is assessed by the A Level English literature examinations.
The English curriculum is sequenced purposefully to support students. A chronological approach early on allows students to make links and track changes over time, creating a firm foundational knowledge of language and literature which can be applied to more advanced study. The ideas and concepts learned in the ‘core curriculum’ are revisited and strengthened in the ‘focused’ and ‘specialised’ curricula. The nature of interleaving subject matter in this way ensures that powerful knowledge and vital literacy skills are consolidated for all learners.
Finally, the English curriculum aims to enhance students’ enthusiasm for the subject with a varied enrichment offer which includes opportunities to experience: visiting authors and performers, writing workshops, creative writing competitions, story writing links with local primary schools, theatre trips, public speaking events, and more.