The English curriculum at Fosse Way has been crafted to provide each student with the literacy skills they need to communicate effectively in the wider world. This includes diverse methods of communication, such as PECS and Makaton, and suitable, accredited qualifications that help students to develop their communication skills.
Each student is treated as an individual, where class teams are focused on developing the most important aspects of communication for that particular student.
At all key stages and levels, two key elements are prominent: effective communication and enjoyment. We aim that each of our students will leave Fosse Way as an effective communicator and that they will enjoy learning to be one.
The English curriculum at key stages one to three is based on the National Curriculum alongside the EQUALS curriculum, providing the flexibility that teachers need to differentiate for all learners effectively.
The English curriculum has its foundation in the quality teaching of phonics for reading and writing. Fosse Way uses Unlocking Letters and Sounds as our phonics teaching programme, it is a highly structured high-quality programme, which provides clear progressive building blocks for the simultaneous teaching of reading and writing. We believe this is the foundation for developing effective readers and writers. Phonic sessions take place daily for students from Rec – KS3 with interventions taking place to support students who may need extra support. This alongside daily reading opportunities, quality classroom teaching differentiated for students’ individual needs, provide students the opportunity to develop and consolidate these skills. Likewise, our diverse curriculum and well stocked library provide students with the opportunities they need to be challenged and grow.
Communication is the foundation that allows us to build relationships and is essential for learning, play and social interaction. At Fosse Way, we use “language boards”, a resource specifically designed for our students, to help them build the key skills that will support them for lifelong learning. Moreover, Fosse Way school also has a number of teaching assistants who are trained in how to develop children’s language skills using the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI), which is designed to consolidate and improve the spoken language ability; all sessions focus on listening, narrative and vocabulary skills.
In addition, sensory stories are used, where stories are told using words and sensory stimuli, giving children the opportunity to take part in the story telling experience and learn the important skills of listening and responding.
Teachers are creative in their planning and delivery of English and literacy lessons, with popular methods being Colourful Semantics, Talk4Writing and sensory stories.
Reading and story are key parts of our curriculum, learners are encouraged to explore and immerse themselves within a range of literary genres and mediums, through sensory stories, multisensory activities, theatre, film and real-life experiences, such as our annual whole school World Book Day celebrations.
Students’ reading ages and abilities are measured through the use of the Accelerated Reader programme, where appropriate, with this information being used skillfully by teachers to pitch learning appropriately and to track progress.
In year 11, students who are working towards taking the GCSE English Language qualification are offered the opportunity to join a ‘booster’ class, in replacement of one of their selected options classes. This provides students with additional, GCSE specific practice in the lead up to exams, taught by a specialist English teacher, with a focus on modelling exam skills and sharing example answers. These sessions build upon the skills already shared in their timetabled English sessions, but are more streamlined and focused on specific areas of the exam components of the qualification.
The curriculum at key stages one to three, provides students at all levels with the foundations they need to communicate effectively, whatever their needs and abilities.
Students within key stage four work towards a range of qualifications that are suitable for their individual needs, such as EQUALS accredited units, AQA Entry Levels (levels one to three) and for some students, GCSE English Language.
At key stage five, students have the opportunity to work towards an English Language GCSE and Functional Skills English qualifications at a range of levels, allowing them to work towards the level most suitable for them and their future.
At Fosse Way, we believe that all aspects of our English curriculum provide students with the skills they need to be successful in any career they chose: literacy is a key element of the real and working world.
The teaching of skills linked to independence and those related to careers are made explicit to learners, and where appropriate their parents and carers, to ensure that they are embedded and practiced at both school and home. This could include practicing reading, rehearsing verbal prompts in shops or using PECS to communicate at meal times.
Likewise, the English curriculum covers a range of skills needed to be an effective member of the world of work, such as: working with others, verbal and written communication, language processing and comprehension of the spoken and written word. At key stages four and five in particular, there is a focus on interview and interpersonal skills, developing the comprehension and language knowledge needed to understand job adverts and specifications, as well as the writing skills needed to produce a C.V and to complete applications.
Some of our learners are keen readers and writers, they are provided with opportunities to explore possible job roles in this area, through trips to theatres and libraries, visits from authors, illustrators, story tellers and poets, and through teachers modelling how classroom activities and skills can be used in the wider world.