Formal English sessions are delivered by class teachers following planning designed by a subject specialist. The formal curriculum is centred around a half-termly topic, which is introduced with a “WOW” experience. These experiences can take any form: they could be art activities, trips, or theatrical experiences. The curriculum is constructed to draw on this experience and use it as a prompt for reading, writing, speaking and listening. Students in KS3 are assessed via the Castle gemstone levels. Students in KS4 work towards the OCR Entry Level English exam, and students in KS5 work on the Functional Skills qualification and OCR Life and Living.
Literacy is also worked on in daily targeted tasks in tutor time, such as spelling, high frequency words and handwriting. Speaking and listening skills are practised through class discussion activities, such as watching and discussing the news or playing role-play games. Reading and phonics are practised at school and at home via the Reading Eggs app. As students progress through the school, there is an increased focus on functional literacy skills needed for work and independent living, such as reading recipes in cooking, reading road signs, or writing out a shopping list or a menu.
Depending on individual needs and EHCP targets, some students may continue to benefit from targeted reading and other interventions such as Colourful Semantics and Clever Fingers to improve the fine motor skills needed for handwriting and letter formation.
For more information about the many interventions, approaches and techniques we use to build a bespoke literacy curriculum for each formal learner, click on an intervention on the right.