‘O this learning, what a thing it is!’
(Shakespeare, ‘The Taming of the Shrew’)
At St. Nicholas, English is an essential part of the curriculum. It is important that every child is given the opportunity to develop their literacy skills throughout their time here so that they have the maximum chance of achieving their potential in life. A substantial part of the school week is given to English, reading and literacy lessons and pupils are taught in ability groups across the school.
Pupils are given the opportunity to study a variety of texts including poetry, novels, short stories and Shakespeare, and a wide range of teaching methods is employed to create interesting and engaging lessons. Alongside this we use the Dockside reading scheme to develop phonic awareness, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and comprehension. Spoken language activities are a regular feature of our schemes of work and we will often set up discussion and presentation activities for our pupils to hone these skills.
In KS3 texts are used to support topic learning, for example The Great Kopek Tree is studied during our Rainforest unit. At KS4 pupils also study towards their Functional Skills qualification looking at more practical and applied uses of English. A small number of pupils are currently following the Edexcel 9-1 English Language GCSE where both reading and writing skills are developed to a high level.
We have a good selection of differently levelled reading books in the school library and pupils are encouraged to read widely at their reading age and just above. Reading certificates are awarded when reading targets are met.
Drama is taught as a discrete subject in KS3 where students work on developing voice and movement skills alongside building confidence and groupwork skills. St Nicholas School is a regular participant in the Shakespeare Schools Festival.