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Vision & Values:
It is often argued that studying literature allows us to analyse the human condition: what it means to be human and the issues surrounding our lives (birth, death, growth, emotionality, aspiration and conflict, for example). This, and the ability to empathise with others, is at the heart of our teaching and Chetwynde English Department believe every child has the right to a broad and balanced curriculum to explore such issues.
At the heart of a thriving school should be the commitment to reading for enjoyment; thus we have Drop Everything And Read time daily for all Key Stage 3 students. This supports our Accelerated Reading programme, which aims to improve the reading ability of all students and create a lifelong love of reading.
Equally, writing is at the heart of society and being able to express our views clearly in different styles is essential for successful citizens. Therefore we aim for all students to confidently promote their views through the written and spoken word in any situation. Moreover, we encourage students to share and value each other’s writing both in class and beyond. We regularly take part in national competitions and encourage all students to apply, no matter what their academic ability.
Chetwynde English Department is proud of its teachers’ passion and commitment to the subject. We are all avid readers and share this passion with our pupils. We believe in extending students’ learning outside the classroom, to ensure that English does not become a series of standard tests, but an exciting, imaginative and thriving world into which we can all be immersed.
Supporting British Values:
British values, including those of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs are embedded throughout the English curriculum.
Many of our texts have democracy, the rule of law, mutual respect and tolerance at their heart. These issues are explored through each year group studying a Shakespeare text, novels, non-fiction and poetry. Teachers explicitly explore such ideas, alongside how historical context affects the way we read texts in the modern-day. Combining the abstract with the modern often allows students to explore societal issues and address these difficult concepts with confidence.
Furthermore, we believe our classrooms support such values in the way we work together. Democracy is provided through the way we structure our rooms to enable all to have a voice. This is further developed through our use of peer assessment and choice in homework/ classroom texts where appropriate. We thus aim to promote freedom and independent learning in and out of the English classroom. Furthermore, our Accelerated Reading programme allows a real choice for students to read material that interests and engages them. Pupils’ choices are accepted and they are encouraged to share their ideas in many ways.
The social, cultural and historical context of written texts allows us to examine the rule of law and tolerance in a measured and detached way. Tolerance can be addressed in many texts and having the space to explore this in a safe environment is massively beneficial to many students. Using a variety of texts that show how others have treated tolerance and respect means we can benefit from others’ thoughts and understand how certain choices affect others.
By studying English literature (including that written by famous British people) students develop an awareness of how writers have influenced (and been influenced) by the nation in which we live. Thus linking Blake to the enlightenment period or Alan Bennett to 1980s popular culture enables us to examine how British values have been addressed throughout the ages. Moreover, we can examine issues of respect and tolerance through such texts and explore how these have changed over time.
These values are engendered in our daily teaching and learning, by showing respect for different viewpoints and ideas, as well as in the ability to work well together both individually and in groups.