It has been a busy time this year in Edenhurst’s English Department, as we have been working to develop and build on what we are teaching and look at ways to enhance it. Innovation and development are critical to ensure that the children feel a sense of challenge and engagement in their lessons, and likewise to help them see that English is a subject that covers a range of disciplines. Comprehension, spelling, grammar, reading and writing, speaking and listening are not discrete blocks; rather, they are skills that complement, enhance, support and indeed ensure success in all other subjects – and I include other languages here, both modern and classical.
As a team, we have been revising our approach to link our teaching with specific themes. This means that a theme may spread over a half-term or over a term, according to the year group. Thus, for example, Prep 3 have looked in-depth this term at the Romans (linked to their History topic – they’re looking forward to their Roman day next week!); Prep 5 linked their teaching to World War 1; Form 2 have been looking at famous people; and Prep 6 are currently becoming young journalists.
A thematic approach gives a sense of purpose to the development of skills to be taught in English. When they reach into other subjects and disciplines, all of a sudden barriers disappear and discussions become all about learning and progress, rather than about whether one enjoys English, History, Geography etc.
As we move forward into next term and new themes to include Staffordshire, The Victorians, The Ancient Greeks and Memories of Edenhurst, do ask your child(ren) about WHAT they’ve learned, but also HOW they’ve learned it. In the article about the Learning Review, Miss Saul and her team noted our strengths throughout the school in collaborative learning, a sense of purpose and – most importantly – enjoyment. The use of technology, such as Google Classroom, has been a factor, as well as having guest speakers to bring further interest and focus.
Importantly, it’s been evolution, not revolution. The teaching of English is a strength throughout the school – our recent ISI report and continued success at 11+ shows this – and the eloquence of Edenhurst pupils in the spoken and written word is frequently commented upon by guests and visitors.