The English language permeates every aspect of our lives - at home, work and play - and is fundamental to our ability to think and communicate.

The English curriculum at Northbourne Park School is centred around the National Curriculum for England and, in Years 7 & 8, the Common Entrance syllabus. This takes our pupils close to GCSE level, and beyond for those who plan for Scholarship.

Our aim is that all pupils are taught to express themselves clearly in both speech and writing and to develop their reading skills. They are taught to use grammatically correct sentences and to spell and punctuate in order to communicate effectively.

English is a creative subject and is taught through practical and interactive activities in pairs and groups, in combination with more traditional methods and the opportunity for individual study and challenge. Children are encouraged to reflect on their own progress and that of the others in the group on a regular basis through peer and self assessment.

The curriculum incorporates the key areas of Spoken Language; Reading; Writing; Spelling, Grammar & Punctuation.

There are frequent opportunities to develop speaking and listening skills through group and class discussion, through peer discussion of their work and the work of others, and through giving and receiving instructions or relating events. Through role-play, improvisation, participation in group presentations and events such as the Public Speaking Competition, the children have the chance to develop their confidence in speaking and performing. They are encouraged at all times to talk with confidence and clarity and to listen and respond to others with courtesy.

We aim to foster a love of reading and an enjoyment in using language and the children are encouraged to read at home as wide a range of material as possible.

In addition to fiction from a variety of cultures and eras, pupils learn about a range of non-fiction texts including newspaper reports, autobiography, travel writing, and the study of poetry is a core part of the syllabus. In lessons they also study texts in depth and learn about the writers’ craft and some specific language techniques.

As well as reading for enjoyment, which is essential, the children are taught how to approach an unseen text with an enquiring mind and be able to analyse the purpose, layout and language of a variety of genres. Regular analysis of texts and answering different types of question forms a key part of preparation for the Common Entrance exam.

The children write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Their writing will include stories, poetry, descriptions, books, reports, reviews, instructions and letters.

Writing in different styles, for different purposes and in response to different stimuli gives pupils opportunities to demonstrate their creative talents, but is also essential to their learning across the curriculum; developing their ability to organise and communicate ideas.

They are encouraged to use a variety of sentence structure, vocabulary chosen for effect and to employ effective proof-reading skills.

It is important that creativity is always supported by sound basic skills in handwriting, spelling and punctuation.

The children learn to pay close attention to accurate spelling and to make plausible attempts at unknown words, using taught letter patterns and significant key words, particularly those which are likely to be required in an exam. They are expected to use a neat, joined up handwriting style and to consider the quality of the presentation of their written work.