English

Department Vision Statement

It is the English Department’s vision that all Newbridge pupils will be confident readers who can read texts both for pleasure and analytically, be confident in their spoken and written communication and keen to develop their language skills beyond school and into their adult lives.

Behaviour

The department will continue to maintain an excellent record of behaviour management so that all pupils can make the most of their lessons.

Challenge

All lessons will offer an appropriate level of challenge. Some concepts may require continuous scaffolding but on the most part, each lesson should allow for pupils to produce a high quality response, be it through writing or presentation.

Range

Staff will follow specified scheme of work with some freedom as to how they teach each objective. This will ensure that pupils experience a range of texts and genres meaning they can learn in a range of different ways.

Writing

Pupils will be able to write accurately in a variety of styles with the correct tone and register. Writing will be encouraged for pleasure as well as for school work.

Reading in School

Pupils will be given ample opportunity to read in school and be enthusiastic about Accelerated Reader. They will be taught reading skills such as predicting, rereading and finding their next book. Pupils will read a range of media in different ways such as through iPad and traditional paper books. All staff will demonstrate their own passion for reading in a variety of ways.

Reading for Pleasure

Pupils will read regularly and widely for pleasure. They will be confident in choosing books for themselves and will have the skills needed to progress as a reader such as learning and practising new vocabulary.

Spellings

Students will be equipped with strategies required to learn new spellings, enabling them to spell new words independently. Teachers will correct as many spellings as is necessary to enable progress and give pupils opportunity to learn them.

Speaking and Listening

Pupils will expect to be asked questions in lessons and be confident in answering them. Presentations to the class will be regular. Pupils will be able to take part in discussions and debates in a mature and thoughtful way.

ICT

Because pupils are likely to work in future in an environment where digital literacy is assumed, ICT will be used regularly via webquests, research and reading. Also, some writing assessments will be completed through word processing. iPads will be used to complement learning and encourage curiosity.

Current Affairs

Pupils will be given opportunities to read the news and discuss current affairs through use of ‘The Day’ and other newspaper websites. This will develop skills across the curriculum and help with acquisition of vocabulary.

Vocabulary

Pupils will obtain new vocabulary through reading, teacher talk and a word of the week. Pupils will be curious about new vocabulary and willing to use it in their work and through talk.

Accelerated Reader helps students keep track of whether they are reading enough, how many words they have read and whether what they are reading is challenging enough. When your child has read a book, they log on and complete a quiz on it. Accelerated Reader currently has over 25,000 quizzes available. These can be completed during library lessons, at lunchtime, at homework club or before the school day begins. Passing these quizzes will contribute points towards their personalised points target. Each time they pass a test at 85% or more they receive points. If your child reaches their target they will receive a certificate and prize, but most importantly, they will have increased their reading ability. There will be a new target for each term.
Your child has already done a reading age test which gives students an indication of the difficulty of book they should be reading. This comes in a numerical range. Most books in the library are labelled by difficulty and your child should aim to read between the range that their teacher has told them.
If you have purchased books for your child, you can see whether they are on Accelerated Reader at www.arbookfind.co.uk.

Curriculum

Pupils will complete a topic per half term in the following order:
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We are proud of the fact the curriculum we offer is constantly reviewed, enhanced and changed in order to provide the best variety of learning for our students.
In Year 7, 8 and 9 students have 4 English lessons per week including a library lesson once a fortnight. We have access to Accelerated Reader to help pupils make progress in their reading. Pupils are assessed in either reading or writing every half term along with regular feedback in exercise books. Also, pupils complete an unseen summative assessment in each year group.

We have three spacious teaching rooms which are large enough to accommodate drama activities. All rooms are equipped with projectors and computers that aid classroom activities and research. We also have access to iPads and PC suites for most lessons.
There are five English teachers and a team of experienced support staff. We have an excellent, well stocked Library and a resourceful librarian; these facilities contribute greatly to our aims of raising levels of literacy within the school.

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Student Groupings

Students are grouped into ability groups based on KS2 Test results and reading ability (Accelerated Reader test).  They are put into sets prior to their arrival at Newbridge so that, on entry, they can work at their pace and so that we target the appropriate level of challenge.
We review student sets three times a year to ensure students are in the right place for their ability.

Homework

Homework tasks include spelling lists; completion of tasks set in class; research activities; reading activities and responses to those texts; working on targets set in teacher’s feedback or marking. These will be set when necessary to the learning on a regular basis.

Reading Ages

Pupils are assessed four times a year using an Accelerated Reader Star Reading test. This generates a reading age. Reading ages are shared at the beginning and end of the academic year. A variety of interventions take place to help pupils increase their reading age where necessary.

Reading – How Can Parents and Carers Help?

Reading and extending your child’s vocabulary is the key to success in English. When your child is completing homework encourage them to use a dictionary and thesaurus to learn and use new words. You can also encourage your child to proofread their work by reading it to themselves or you.
Encouraging your child to read at home can really help. If they come across a word they don’t understand encourage them to find out the meaning. Please look at the reading lists section for some ideas for suitable books. There are thousands of books published for young readers every year. An easy way to access these is by visiting your nearest library, book shop or websites such as amazon.
If you are unsure whether your child is reading a suitable book, get them to do a SMOG test on their book (http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/campaign/SMOG.html). This test gives you an approximate idea of the readability level of a book. Alternatively, ask your child their Accelerated Reader difficulty range. You can then look to see whether the book they are reading is within that range by finding the book on www.arbookfind.co.uk and looking at the Book Level (BL).
You should encourage your child to read a range of texts:

  • Magazines
  • Fan Fiction
  • E-Books
  • Comics
  • Books (fiction and non-fiction)
  • Newspapers
  • Informative Websites
  • Graphic Novels
  • Reading anything is better than reading nothing!

Help your Child to Choose Books

  • Think about how you choose books and use that knowledge and experience to guide your child.
  • Look at the cover
  • Look at bestseller lists or books that have won awards
  • Select by author
  • Look at the size of the print
  • Ask a friend to recommend a good book
  • Have a look at the books available for sale in supermarkets
  • Choose a book from a series
  • Swap with a friend
  • Ask Mrs Zake, the Librarian or any of the English Teachers

How to Encourage your Child to Read

  • As parents you can support your child’s reading progress in a number of ways.
  • Take an interest.
  • Download free ebooks or find fanfiction on the internet. Many children find reading more enjoyable when they can do it on their tablets, computers or phones.
  • Agree that video game play/social media time is matched with some time reading.
  • Put subtitles on TV programmes and movies.
  • Listen to audiobooks.
  • Read the same book as your child to encourage discussion
  • Let your child see you reading.
  • Set a time for reading – studies show that reading a book before bed promotes healthy sleep.
  • Allow your child to read a range of texts, especially ones that match their interests. Comics, magazine, newspapers and lots more are all acceptable. Reading is not just about books.
  • Make buying books a treat/reward.
  • Encourage your child to look up new vocabulary.
  • Use the school or local library to obtain books.
  • If you listen to your child read, do it at a time that suits you both.
  • Make sure your son or daughter has some books to take with them if you go on holiday.
  • Spot words inside words. Help your child to spot words they know within larger, more complicated words.

Kindle App

Your child’s iPad has had the Kindle app preloaded onto it. The Kindle app does not require an Apple ID. This means that it can be used to download books for your child to read in school and at home. Kindle e-books come at a more attractive price, with many books that can be downloaded for free. Along with this, your child can download a sample of the book from the app’s ‘Book Browser’ to see whether they enjoy it. Also, the Kindle app has the added benefit of an in-built dictionary meaning your child only needs to tap a word to find out what it means. This is a great way to improve reading age and vocabulary. We hope that through the use of this app reading will become a more attractive prospect for your child with the ease, speed and functionality the iPad offers.
In order to make use of this app you will need to create an Amazon account for your child and then log onto it on the iPad app. If there is a book your child wishes to read, it can be purchased if you opt for ‘Buy Kindle Edition’ on the Amazon website. This will then automatically be sent to the Kindle App library ready for reading.
It is advised that the password for your Amazon account is kept secure and private from your child for safety reasons.
Children who are reading books through this app are welcome to use their iPad in their library lessons and silent reading sessions.
Please be reassured that Newbridge High School continues to stock and supply a wide range of books. The above is simply for your information and your child continues to have unlimited access to a wealth of free literature in the library and in English lessons. This approach is merely an option. Newbridge High School will also continue to encourage traditional paper book reading.

Audible App

Most children love being read to but this becomes a little more difficult as children grow older. A way of getting around this is by downloading the Audible app and paying a monthly membership, which enables readers to download an audiobook every month and download other audiobooks at a discounted rate. Your child could match their audiobook up with a book from our library and listen as they read.

Dictionary

Each iPad has a dictionary app downloaded to it. We also advise that you use the Cambridge Dictionary website because this provides helpful example sentences.