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Functional English

The aims of the English Department are twofold:

  • To develop each pupil’s ability to handle language in its spoken and written forms as widely, effectively and imaginatively as possible;
  • To encourage and extend each pupil’s enjoyment and appreciation of literature, based on an informed personal approach.

Key Stage 2:

All pupils receive baseline phonics, reading and spelling assessment when joining school. This will ensure staff can follow a program of learning to fit each pupil’s particular needs. Reading, phonics and grammar practise takes part in the first lesson of each day and the programs delivered are designed to suit each pupils needs and to engage them in their leaning.
Literacy units of work are delivered in the second lesson of each day; in these the pupils follow the units of works designed to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum. These will give each child the chance to engage in new literature, understand and use key skills in literacy, work independently or part of a group, take part in role play and active learning scenarios. The work is designed to meet the individual needs of each boy.

Key Stage 3:

At Key Stage 3, Literacy skills are taught, practiced and regularly revised. Emphasis is placed on mastering the ‘basics’ of spoken and written communication. Pupils are taught Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar through differentiated activities that are tailored to meet the needs of individuals and are completed daily. From this sound base, it is hoped to extend pupils’ ability to express themselves with increased precision, depth, maturity and confidence.
Pupils are given access to Literature in different forms – stories, novels, poetry and plays – in order to encourage enjoyment, and enable and ensure a deepening and gradually more closely focused response.

Key Stage 4:

In Years 9 and 10, pupils are prepared for an English Language GCSE qualification or, where appropriate, an Entry Level Certificate in English. There is no longer a controlled assessment element to GCSE English Language; it is a linear qualification.
OCR’s GCSE English Language has two exams, which both assess Reading and Writing. Paper 1 focuses on reading and writing non-fiction, including a short 19th Century text. In paper 2 students read modern literary prose and produce their own creative writing. We use a range of engaging and authentic texts to provide a rich curriculum and prepare pupils for the exams. Speaking and listening is central to English teaching and learning, and the pupils give spoken presentations for different purposes and audiences, including in a formal setting.

Accelerated Reading

In September 2016, we introduced the ‘Accelerated Reading Programme’ across the whole school. During the daily timetabled reading slots of twenty minute boys select books from a range of texts within their assessed colour bands and then complete a quiz on the computers which assesses their comprehension of the texts they have read. After completing a quiz, the computerised programme allocates reading points which are then converted into ‘house points’ and ‘currics’ at the end of each term. The programme generates information and data for individual pupils, cohorts and the whole school which is used to monitor achievements, identify intervention needs and track progress for all pupils.

Reading/Drama Club

In addition to the curriculum, it is important to foster the love of reading and to engage all pupils in this. The pupils will be given the opportunity to join either the Reading or the Drama club. These clubs aim to promote ‘reading for pleasure’ and to encourage pupils to develop speaking and listening skills through drama that are essential across the curriculum.

Literature related trips

To support the chosen text, we also arrange trips to places where the text is set, or theatrical performances of the text.


Students are entered for externally assessed awards as appropriate at the end of the course, namely OCR English Language, and ELC for those working below GCSE level.

In Key Stage 2 students are assessed against the end of year curriculum expectations of the objectives they have been working on throughout the year. In year 6 boys working at expected level will complete the required SATs examinations.

Qualification Pathways:

Year 11 OCR GCSE English or AQA Functional Skills in English
Year 10 OCR GCSE English or AQA Entry Level in English
Year 9 OCR English Language GCSE or AQA Entry Level Certificate 'Step Up to English'

GCSE English Language

The Year 11 boys take a GCSE in Media Studies

All boys are on the Accelerated Reading Programme. The whole school reads for 20 minutes every day.

Drama Club is an option for Bransdale and Glaisdale boys on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.