Team Leader: Mr A Sammons

  • English is a crucial subject for young people; whether we look at it spiritually, morally, culturally or academically, it a cornerstone of any child’s education. Meaningfully encountering stories that are crucial to our own (and others’) cultural heritage, as well as studying historical and contemporary fiction, non fiction and poetry helps young people to become aware, outward looking and – above all – decent citizens. This is what drives our team to deliver to the very best of their ability every day.

    At Kettlethorpe High School, we believe that every child has the right to be taught essential skills that will support them to access the curriculum across the school. We are incredibly proud of our curriculum; during its design, we thought deeply about what we wanted to achieve, and used the considerable wealth of experience across the team to help us to achieve our goal.

    As we see it, the aims of the subject are:

    • to teach pupils to be confident readers
    • to develop pupils’ ability in writing for a variety of purposes and audiences
    • to teach pupils about different cultures, societies, morals and values
    • to teach pupils to write confidently, and to be able to proof read to ensure writing is technically accurate
    • for pupils to be able to express their ideas clearly and precisely
    • for pupils to have opportunities to express themselves creatively.

    Our pupils are encouraged to read for pleasure in to perfect their reading skills, and they are continually supported in decoding language, exploring the meanings created by writers and giving personal and critical opinions. When pupils write, they are explicitly taught technical accuracy and how to ensure writing is aimed at the correct audience and has purpose (as well as a degree of formality).

    The English department prides itself on providing engaging enrichment and intervention opportunities, in both KS3 and KS4. These opportunities run at various points during the year including: paired reading groups, theatre trips, in-school workshops, World Book Day and Readathon. We also have an extensive extra-curricular programme coordinated by Miss Boucher – we have a number of reading clubs, a school newspaper and we also offer a number of out of school excursions each year. Not only do these opportunities give pupils the chance to engage with a text they are studying, but they are also great opportunities to develop personal, social and communication skills.

The English Journey at Kettlethorpe High School

  • Curriculum Overview:

    Key stage 3

    In Year 7 and 8 English, we foster in our pupils a love of reading and give them the tools they need to be competent, confident writers. Our curriculum is designed to cover a broad range of fiction, non fiction and poetry from classic to contemporary. Pupils have three main curriculum lessons a week and two skills lessons; this is to ensure that pupils are equipped with the necessary expertise to both enjoy the subject and achieve exam success.

    We have high expectations of our pupils as learners and expect engagement outside the classroom as well as inside. Each week, we encourage daily reading at home, vocabulary activities on the online Bedrock programme and revision of a key spelling, punctuation or grammar skill.

    In Years 7 and 8, we following a thematic curriculum; this underpins our constant rotation of fiction, non fiction and poetry, allowing breadth and depth in terms of the content that we study. As an example, two of our thematic units are ‘Heroes and Villains’ and ‘Love and Relationships,’ but within each of these, pupils study them through the lens of fiction, non fiction and poetry. In essence, whilst we are proud that our curriculum is engaging, it is also underpinned by a clear framework of knowledge that we would expect our pupils to have acquired when they commence their Year 9 studies.

    Alongside our thematic curriculum, for two periods a week, we also teach the core knowledge required to read and write accurately and with flair. Based on reading age and grammar test data, we place pupils on one of two pathways: Core and Mastery. In our Core pathway, pupils revisit the fundamentals of grammatical and punctuation knowledge, and in our Mastery pathway, pupils consolidate and move into more challenging concepts that will underpin their reading and writing.

    For further information on KS3 English at Kettlethorpe, please contact Lead Teacher Mrs Sophie Joyce at sjoyce@nullkettlethorpe.wakefield.sch.uk

    You can support your child by:

    • ensuring they complete their Bedrock Learning lessons (two per week)
    • ensuring they have read a minimum of 20 minutes per day and recorded this in their Accelerated Reader log book
    • supporting them with their weekly spelling and grammar exercises

    discussing and encouraging them to read books from our recommended KS3 list here 

  • Year 9: Gateway to GCSE

    We are extremely proud of our Year 9 ‘Gateway to GCSE’ curriculum. Although we read the texts that the pupils will eventually cover for their GCSE studies, we spend the vast majority of year 9 studying a fiction, non-fiction and poetry anthology designed by our own English team. By viewing GCSE texts through a contemporary lens, we feel that this places our learners in a much better position from which to enjoy and understand the texts. Rather than simply studying the texts in isolation and repeating these during years 10 and 11, we ask the following questions-

    • What is the downfall of Man? (Macbeth)
    • Are humans fundamentally good? (A Christmas Carol)
    • Can we fully take responsibility for our actions? (An Inspector Calls)
    • Does absolute power corrupt absolutely? (Power & Conflict Poetry)

    Alongside our Gateway curriculum, for two periods a week, pupils read a range of fiction texts, including tasks that seek to improve their core knowledge of reading and writing. As with the Gateway Anthology, the underpinning tasks are designed solely “in house” in order to ensure that we are extremely clear about the knowledge, sequencing and application that the pupils need to be familiar with in order to succeed.

    You can support your child by:

    • Discussing their anthology with them and asking them what they have been reading in class this week
    • Ensuring they complete their weekly Reading Plus tasks (homework)

    Key stage 4
    Exam board – AQA

    In Year 10, although we understand the importance of acclimating pupils with their exams, in Language, we continue to focus on units such as social justice and mental health, as well as exposing them to a wide range of high quality fiction and non-fiction with a real focus around crafting writing. We feel passionately that we ought to focus on understanding the mechanics of language and literature in year 10, as this will ultimately serve our learners much better in the future.

    In Year 11, we focus much more directly on the quality of exam technique; in essence, we begin to more directly translate the learning and experiences of the previous four years into exam practice to ensure that all pupils achieve their very best.


    As well as class-based assessments, the following ‘whole school’ assessments inform our interventions:

    • Year 9: A ‘hybrid GCSE’ assessment that asks pupils to form critical opinions on texts before offering an evaluation, and undertaking both fiction and non fiction writing
    • Year 10: A series of class based GCSE style Language and Literature assessments that combine with an end of year PPE to give us an accurate indication of pupil progress
    • Year 11: As well as rigorous class based exam style questions, we undertake three full PPEs (of which at least one is externally marked by exam board markers).

    We are proud to have a number of colleagues in the team that have marked for our exam board; this greatly helps the quality of our moderation and accuracy of assessment.

    You can support your child by:

    • Encouraging them to speed plan essays and paragraphs using our practice exam papers; a range of knowledge building activities and exam practices can be found on our online drive of resources here – http://bit.ly/KHSAQA
    • Encouraging them to access and use massolit.io independently

    Discussing and encouraging your child to read quality fiction and non fiction; for high quality comment pieces and reading, we thoroughly recommend The Guardian, and as well as the link above a wonderful range of fiction can be found here –  http://bit.ly/widerreadKS4

If you would like to know anything more in relation to our English curriculum, please contact Mr Andy Sammons – asammons@nullkettlethorpe.wakefield.sch.uk.