The aim of the English Department is to engender a love of the English language whether it be written or spoken.
English at Brandeston Hall is taught through the thematic approach from EYFS to Year 8 and also via a set text from Year Three to Year Eight. In this way we hope to develop not only a love of the written word from day one but also a love of literature.
At all stages there is also an emphasis on the spoken word and all the pupils are encouraged to participate in class discussions, debates and presentations or by taking part in our annual Poetry by Heart or Reading competitions.
The department also runs creative writing, handwriting and spelling competitions throughout the year as well as events during Book Week and National Poetry Day.
English is taught in the most part by class teachers, ably supported by learning support and gifted and talented specialists, but from Year Five children are taught in sets by specialist English teachers with the intention to prepare the children for both the 11+ and 13+ Common Entrance English papers. Some children are also prepared for scholarship examinations.
The school library also plays a central role, with the children having dedicated library lessons throughout the week and access to the library during break and lunchtimes. Care of the library is via an enthusiastic group of pupil librarians.
Regular visits are made to the theatre and visiting authors, theatre groups and storytellers also play a key role in bringing our language to life.
English is taught through the ‘Creative Curriculum’ which is a cross curricular scheme and is used in tandem with ‘Letters and Sounds’, ‘Support for Spelling’ and ‘Jolly Phonics Spelling and Grammar’. Themes studied include ‘The Seaside’, ‘Animals and their Habitats’, ‘Traditional Tales’ and ‘Food and Farming’. Further details can be found in the EYFS/Pre-prep section.
English is taught daily in Year 3 – 6, following the ‘Junior English’ scheme and supported by the reading of a set text, or texts, each term. During these years pupils are expected to establish strong and independent reading comprehension and writing skills and develop a love of literature through their reading of set texts and their own reading. Weekly spelling tests are carried out and listening and speaking skills are advanced. Themes, which are generally cross curricular, include ‘Knights and Castles’, ‘Recycling’, ‘Modern Fairy Tales’ and ‘American Literature’. In Years 5 and 6 there is a growing emphasis on the approaching 11+ Common Entrance examination and close links are established with Drama to encourage speaking and listening skills.
The same philosophy continues into the senior years, Years 7 – 8, although a further emphasis is placed on the 13+ Common Entrance examinations. Themes such as ‘War’, ‘Autobiography’ and ‘Myths and Mysteries’ are supported by texts such as ‘Private Peaceful’ by Michael Morpurgo, ‘Boy’ by Roald Dahl and ‘Skellig’ by David Almond. Formal spelling lessons still continue supported by the programs ‘Spellodrome’ and ‘Lexia’.