Intent: The Big Ideas in English at Atherton High School
English at Atherton High seeks to inspire, engage and empower. Our curriculum is broad and diverse, dealing heavily with ideas of social justice through its exploration of race, gender and humanity over both time and space. Our aim is to prepare our young people to navigate, interpret and critique the diverse world beyond the school gates by permeating their learning with big ideas, rich vocabulary and powerful knowledge.
Throughout KS3, Atherton students are invited to engage with a wide range of texts and literary styles to encourage them to build and challenge opinions. Shakespeare is taught in year 7 and 8 to build a strong foundation and confidence in the analysis and understanding of challenging texts. Delivery of The Tempest in year 7 endeavours to introduce powerful ideologies of power, discrimination and voice; the study of Romeo and Juliet in year 8 builds on this knowledge of control whilst introducing abstract concepts of love and revenge with the dissection of love poetry both old and new. Around these seminal texts, which allow us to expose students to ideas around love, power, violence and marginalisation, the KS3 curriculum explores wide ranging topics, texts and perspectives. Our students will study units on ‘Myths and Legends’ and ‘Literature through Time’ during year 7 and 8 in order to give them an elevated platform from which to explore concepts like the duality of human nature in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, nature vs. nurture in Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers and stories of triumph in the face of adversity through the study of novels by Zephaniah and Christy Lefteri in year 9. The power of ‘voice’, and the study of those marginalised voices that have been repressed in the past, also permeates our curriculum, inspiring our young people to develop and use their own voice and speak out for what they believe in.
A KS3 rich in opportunities to read, write and explore all that English has to offer, fosters a formidable knowledge base from which our young people can successfully tackle their GCSEs. Topics and texts continue to grapple with engaging content from powerful poetry and battles against social injustice through An Inspector Calls, to Dickens’ didactic and ultimately uplifting tale of A Christmas Carol. Atherton students will also be exposed to wide ranging texts in preparation for their language exams, allowing them to explore texts from news reports on Jack the Ripper to crafting creative writing inspired by Armistice.
Throughout every unit we endeavour to enrich students’ vocabulary in such a way that they have to tools to comment critically on the unit of study, whilst also building the skills to confidently, and articulately, engage in the world around them.
Knowledge is generative; the more we know, the more we learn. Through the delivery of a knowledge rich curriculum, we intend to allow our students to create a meaningful personal connection with their learning in English while embedding this learning explicitly in the context of the outside world and becoming lifelong learners.
Knowledge Organisers – Spring Term
Knowledge Organisers – Autumn Term