At the heart of English at Westhaven School is a commitment to developing students’ literacy skills to allow them to access learning across the curriculum. We strive to ensure that every student is able to engage in conversation with others in a considered and thoughtful manner, that they are able to read with confidence and pleasure and that they can write clearly and accurately.

We have a range of strategies to enable this. In the first instance, we encourage students to read for pleasure. We have a well stocked library which students visit on a regular basis and are able to choose books from to take home. Next, within the guidelines of the new National Curriculum 2014, we select texts which inspire and engage our students, studying a range of authors including Michael Morpurgo, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe and Dr Seuss as well as non-fiction texts such as The Diary of Anne Frank. Finally, we set a wide range of written tasks which engage our students and allow them to write freely, both by hand and by word processor. The process of planning, drafting and redrafting is taught and repeated throughout.

English lessons are further supported by our phonics sessions which run three times a week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings after registration. Spellings are set and tested during these sessions (see Phonics for further information).

Lower School

In Lower School we have five lessons of English a week. The week combines a mix of topic based learning, SPaG, handwriting and motor skills as well as free writing opportunities and mark making. We have a heavy emphasis on reading using a phonics approach, and all students read to an adult at least twice a week. We use interactive e-book sites, such as Bug Club as well as utilising our school library. We are developing our bank of books for guided reading sessions and are very much looking forward to sending home reading books in our new book bags very soon. A range of practical, creative and written activities are delivered in English sessions with a flexible focus on child-led interests at the core. A diverse selection of texts are studied in each class, ranging from Traction Man to The Twits to Handa’s Hen to The Diary of a Wimpy Kid and many more.

Middle School

Middle School groups have English 4 times per week. Of these lessons, one is dedicated to SpaG, one is dedicated to targets and the remaining lessons cover topic and reading skills. Students follow a 2 year programme, studying a variety of authors from a range of genres and eras. These include Charles Dickens, Roald Dahl, Dr Seuss, Edgar Allan Poe, The Brothers Grimm and William Shakespeare. Non-fiction texts include The Diary of Anne Frank and author biographies. Homework is set once a week.

Upper School

In Upper School, there are 2 English groups per year. All students in Upper School follow an accredited English course from AQA Entry Level, AQA GCSE English or Functional English. Due to the changing nature of the qualification landscape at KS4, we are constantly striving to identify new qualifications which are appropriate and challenging for our students. Students study a variety of texts from a range of authors such as Shakespeare, Michael Morpurgo and John Steinbeck depending on the qualification they are working towards. There is a significant emphasis on word processing work and writing for purpose (e.g. letter writing, composing emails) and students are encouraged to read independently and form opinions on what they have read.