The English department at STARS creates a positive learning environment, for all pupils, through imaginative lesson planning and the use of a diverse range of learning activities.
Our aim is to develop a love of literature and the English language and to ensure that our pupils are confident, imaginative, clear communicators. The study of English language gives pupils the flexibility and confidence to write in a variety of forms: creative writing such as stories, poetry or scripts, as well as persuasive writing such as letters, essays and speeches. Through Literature, pupils explore what it is to live in the varied, ever changing and exciting world we inhabit.
At STARS we seek to instil the habit of reading for pleasure, and its value as a skill for life. Pupils read for pleasure every day in lesson time and are encouraged to read at home, every day, in addition to weekly homework. We currently run a whole school reading challenge, across the curriculum timetable, which has made a huge impact on our pupils’ engagement with reading. Pupils have also been involved with ordering new books – visiting book shops as well as recommending titles. A project, encouraging reluctant readers to read to primary school children on a weekly basis, has also been running and has been beneficial to all those taking part. A new project involving reluctant readers, reading to a dog, began last term and continues this year.
We hope our pupils will leave STARS with competent literacy skills, enabling them to continue after their schooling as confident and articulate communicators, fully prepared to enter the adult world; enabling them to read, understand and access examination materials so that they are able to achieve their potential; developing their abilities to think and learn.
The English department offers two GCSEs: English Language and Literature, as well as Entry Level qualifications. Learning and teaching is outstanding across the department, as evidenced by our excellent GCSE exam results. Overall, pupils make expected or accelerated progress in English, in line with the national expectations.
Pupil views: Thorough planning and creativity are at the core of the English department, leading to exciting and challenging lessons, for all abilities. Pupils at STARS enjoy English lessons and the opportunity to discuss, analyse, perform and create. Pupil progress is evident in books and feedback from Pupil Voice questionnaires is overwhelmingly positive.
The pupils’ classroom experience is enhanced by extra-curricular activities such as theatre trips, which have included ‘My Mother Medea’, 'romeo and Juliet' ‘Blood Brothers’, 'Poetry Live', pantomimes at Christmas etc
There are also visits to such places that will broaden pupils’ understanding of the literary world such as visiting Dickens’ house in London or attending creative writing workshops as part of a project at Sutton library, using portrait images from the Knights-Whittome collection as inspiration to produce an anthology of original works.
The English department have become involved in the local community in other ways, such as fundraising for various charities, including ‘Bad Hair Day’ for Great Ormond Street and supporting ‘Sutton Night Watch.’
There are also opportunities for all pupils to be part of the Carnegie Book shadowing group.
Each year, as part of the school’s continual self-evaluation, judgements are made on the performance of different subject departments. A report for each department area is made to the Management Committee (our Governing Body) each year. This includes detailed analysis of performance plus priorities for development.
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