As English is a core subject, there will be four periods a week in S1 and four periods in S2.
The junior phase for pupils involves receiving a broad general education until the end of S3. S1, 2 and 3 pupils are engaged in working through the Broad General Education of a Curriculum for Excellence towards Level 3. Some pupils will be able, and will be encouraged and supported, to achieve at Level 4. To aid development of skills, as far as possible classes will remain with the same class teacher in S1 and S2.
In class, pupils are encouraged to work on improving their skills in reading, writing, talking and listening. During the school session, they are assessed at appropriate points, arising naturally from the teaching and learning process.
In S1 and S2, pupils are in mixed ability classes and a variety of flexible teaching methods ensure that the differing needs of pupils are met. Staff make use of formative assessment and active learning strategies to support and develop the accrual of skills. Pupils are encouraged to achieve their personal best, to work independently and to develop study skills, as well as to reflect on their strengths and to set personal targets to meet their development needs.
At Strathaven Academy, our aim is that by the end of S2 pupils should have:
- Experienced each Level 3 Experience and Outcome at least once
- Read and studied at least one novel, one play, one film/media text and a selection of poems
- Knowledge and understanding of the key elements of prose: plot, character, setting, style, genre, theme
- Knowledge and understanding of the key elements of drama: structure, staging, plot and conflict, characters and relationships, dialogue, theme
- Knowledge and understanding of the key elements of poetry: subject matter, forms, comparisons, sounds, rhyme and rhythm, theme
- Read a wide variety of personal reading texts including journalism
- Knowledge and practice in key close reading skills – awareness of purpose and audience and ability to show understanding, analysis and evaluation skills; ability to understand key command words – identify, explain, summarise, analyse, evaluate; ability to employ ‘formula’ answers
- Understanding of principles of spelling, grammar and punctuation – when and how to form paragraphs and sentences; use of noun, adjective, verb, adverb, pronoun, conjunction; function of common punctuation marks; strategies for improving spelling
- An appreciation of Scots as a language in its own right and part of their heritage
- Learned the basics of critical essay-writing and practised improving these skills – planning relevant ideas in response to a given question/task, expressing relevant points, selecting appropriate evidence, analysing and evaluating evidence
- Knowledge and experience of the techniques involved in writing imaginatively
- Knowledge and experience of the techniques involved in writing reflectively
- Knowledge and experience of the techniques involved in writing discursively/functionally
TALKING AND LISTENING
- Knowledge, understanding and practice in key solo presentation and group discussion skills – content, structure, delivery, audience awareness
- Knowledge, understanding and practice of core listening skills – identifying purpose, audience, key ideas, language techniques
- An ability to work collaboratively to produce work/solve problems
Assessments are carried out in class as far as possible and pupils are encouraged to produce work which represents their best effort and shows off what has been learned.
Assessments come after a block of teaching and learning and allow pupils to show off what has been learned. Pupils will undertake a range of reading, writing, talking and listening assessments across the BGE. The reading assessments will be regular progress checks. Pupils can revise their reading question formulas at home – resources to support pupils and parents are available on our website.
The class teacher, the pupil and class peers are all involved in the assessment process and pupils are encouraged to correct/improve work and to set a target based on feedback. Pupils are encouraged to revisit and act upon targets when they return to, and build upon, the same skills/type of assessment. The assessment profile becomes a record of pupil progress through the Broad General Education.
At various points in the session, the assessment folder will be sent home for parents to see and discuss the tasks undertaken, the targets set and the progress being made.
While each class will work on different content and texts, the same skills will be covered and the same number and type of assessments carried out.
All pupils will sit the same standardised Reading Progress Assessments.
All pupils will produce:
August – December
- 2 pieces of Writing of different genres
- 1 Talk Activity (Solo Presentation or Group Discussion)
- 1 Reading Progress Assessment (testing Understanding and Evaluation skills)
January – March
- 1 piece of Writing
- 1 Talk Activity or 1 Listening Assessment
- 1 Reading Progress Assessment (testing Analysis and Evaluation skills)
April – June
- 1 piece of Writing
- 1 Talk or Listening Activity
- 1 Progress Check
- Completion of Coursework
- Progress Check
Personal Reading Programme
Homework tasks for pupils in S1, 2 and 3 will predominantly involve pupils in reading for enjoyment and in thinking/writing/talking about what is being read.
Pupils have access to the library during class time in English and some dedicated time for personal reading. S1/2/3 pupils also have time for personal reading in registration twice a week.
We encourage pupils not only to undertake the Strathaven Academy Reading Challenge, which is to read 30 texts across the session, but to read a wide variety of texts including high-quality journalism.
A Literacy Challenge booklet is issued to all pupils in S1-S3. The Literacy Challenge booklet is used to foster engagement with, and enjoyment in, personal reading. The good habits that the regular tasks encourage are invaluable in terms of organisation, taking responsibility for progress and preparing for life in the senior school, where pupils will be required to read sophisticated texts independently across the curriculum.
English homework for all pupils S1 to S3: Pupils should be reading at home for at least 10 minutes per day and should complete at least two tasks from the Reading Challenge Booklet per month.
Pupils will also be set tasks to prepare for, or to consolidate, classwork. This will be set by individual class teachers as and when such tasks are appropriate to the classwork being undertaken.
This may involve:
- Reading of class texts
- Preparation for individual talk assessments – preparation and practice of presentations or for participation in group discussion
- Research for projects or cross-curricular work
- Completion of a classwork task
- Extension work on course content
- Revision of core English skills
- Completion or redrafting of written work
Should pupils wish to undertake additional English tasks outwith school, there is a selection of spelling, language, writing, close reading and analysis tasks in the ‘Rich Tasks’ folders in the Resources section of the Strathaven Academy website.