Developing English skills is vital for student’s access to learning and for life. Heathlands places a strong emphasis on the development of language and literacy skills through the teaching of English and cross curricular, so that all pupils achieve their potential.
Middle school classes are grouped according to ability and degree of individual literacy development. This allows some students to be following the National Curriculum at age appropriate levels and others to follow an adapted curriculum to support their learning needs. The curriculum for all classes ensures on-going development of skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Lessons include the study of a wide range of fiction and non-fiction across a variety of genre. In addition to daily English lessons students have an additional 30 minutes of reading where literacy skills are further developed across the curriculum.
The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy. At Heathlands we work to equip pupils with a strong command of expressive and written language and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in using language to communicate, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate
English teaching within middle school at Heathlands covers aspects of:
- Speaking and listening
- Word reading/ Vocabulary building
- Handwriting and presentation
English lessons in middle school are taught by teachers skilled in adapting work to the learning needs of deaf pupils. Books are often used as a starting point to contextualise learning and ensure motivation, with lessons being planned around these texts. Teachers select books that will motivate the pupils and achieve the curriculum objectives for the group. High expectations are maintained while recognising that some pupils need specialist additional support in order to achieve their full potential.
Shape coding is used with some pupils within middle school, particularly to support those pupils who need additional help in structuring their writing. The shape coding system is one of the ‘tools’ use to support the development of English structure (both spoken and written). The system was designed by Susan Ebbels (a speech and language therapist), to teach grammatical structure allowing the parts of speech to be demonstrated in a visual way.