Do you remember your English teacher?
If you do, it's probably because they engaged your interest, encouraged you to think more deeply about issues and themes, valued your contributions to the lessons and stimulated your love of a subject that people sometimes take for granted.
At Hazelwood we are confident that our students remember us: our creativity, our enthusiasm for the subject, our diverse and varied curriculum and the value we add to their learning experience – these are at the heart of our department's beliefs.
Key Stage 1
Speaking and listening
These skills are vital in ensuring communication skills are well developed. Children are given opportunities to share their experiences with the class, to bring artefacts related to their topic work and recount events. They are encouraged to listen attentively and respond appropriately to questions. Their vocabulary is extended and developed.
All children in Years 1 and 2 read regularly with a teacher or teaching assistant. They also have a daily quiet reading time and they use books to find out about current topics and develop an understanding of how to use a contents and index page. During the course of their time in Years 1 and 2, children’s’ word-building skills will be developed, following our structured phonics programme. Children are encouraged to read every evening, with their parents and we guide them in their choice of books, providing them with a varied selection – fiction, non-fiction, picture books and serial stories, which will extend their vocabulary and knowledge.
Our aim is that by the end of Year 2 children will become thoughtful and critical readers able to differentiate between fact and fiction.
The children learn to write in a variety of styles. They are encouraged to write for a particular purpose, for instance an invitation, recipe or set of instructions. They learn the difference between factual and creative writing and are encouraged to use descriptive vocabulary. Poems are ideal for encouraging this rich use of language. The children are taught how to structure a piece of writing correctly and the correct use of punctuation including capital letters, full stops, question marks, exclamation marks, commas and inverted commas. Development of correctly formed, joined up, neat and well spaced handwriting is an important skill children acquire during their years in Years 1 and 2.
Accurate spelling is developed through a structured approach to the learning of spellings, based around a particular spelling pattern and linked to our phonics scheme. Word lists are sent home to learn and are tested each Friday.
Key Stages 2 and 3
Hazelwood English Department’s aims are to deliver an English curriculum that will:
- Enable each child to achieve their potential in the subject, recognising that this level will vary from student to student.
- Nurture the imagination and promote creativity.
- Develop every child’s ability to read with confidence and enjoyment and to interact meaningfully with a wide range of texts across all three literary genres (poetry, prose and plays)
- Incorporate a range of non-literary, non-fiction and media texts into lessons.
- Develop speaking and listening skills that allow children to articulate their thoughts in a variety of contexts and styles and to listen effectively and actively to the opinions of others
- Encourage independent thinking.
- Equip students with the skills to tackle Common Entrance at 11+ and 13+, Scholarships and other senior school examinations.
The proficient use of English is not only central to all areas of our curriculum but also to life beyond the school walls. English is therefore given a high priority throughout the school and the three strands of Literacy (reading, writing and speaking and listening) are incorporated into all the topics we teach.
We believe that all students should have an equal entitlement to learning and that each student should be helped to develop their abilities to the full in both the spoken and written word. The department sees it as its duty to assist all our students to become effective communicators in the English language.
As a necessary part of this strategy we aim to foster a love of reading and a love of the arts in general. English should not only develop skills, but also provide students with pleasure and broaden horizons. To this end we recognise the importance of activities that extend the curriculum even outside the school day, such as productions, competitions, National Poetry Day, World Book Day and school trips (to name but a few).
As a department, therefore, we believe that English should be valuable, stimulating, thought provoking – and memorable!