At Wakefield City Academy, we are committed to raising attainment through the teaching and embedding of essential skills, but also enriching young people’s lives through the exploration and analysis of high quality literature, both contemporary, from different cultures and from the literary heritage. The English department aims to ensure that all students, regardless of ability, are able to learn to communicate effectively in speech and writing, to understand and respond imaginatively and critically to what they read, hear and discuss. A variety of differing media are utilised within the department, allowing students to enjoy both modern and classical literature in its many varied forms. Students are also taught how to adapt their writing for differing audiences and purposes in a variety of formats. Our Year 7 students are also taught a supplementary lesson of literacy every week, fast tracking their functional literacy skills and allowing for the smooth transition from KS2 to KS3 English skills.
Through our programme of study, pupils leave our academy equipped with the necessary tools to broaden their horizons in the increasingly competitive sectors of education, training and employment. The acquiring of sound communication skills, both verbal and written, is essential to success in later life, and the English department strive to make their lessons reflect this real need for life long literacy skills.
Extra Curricular Opportunities
The English Department strives to offer opportunities, outside of normal curricular time, where students are able to experience other aspects of the subject, while maintaining the focus on improving literacy and communication skills.
Key Stage 4 students are given the chance to attend the annual national Poetry Live! conference, where students can see famous poets from the WJEC anthology perform their poetry and answer questions posed by the audience. Not only is it a rare chance to see famous poets like the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and John Agard, but it also provides the students with a deeper understanding of the texts they study for GCSE.
Booked Up is an amazing initiative that is run by the Book Trust, which provides every year 7 pupil with a free book of their own choice. What a great way to encourage reading at the start of Key Stage 3!
Spelling is an obvious link with reading, and The Times newspaper runs an annual competition called The Times Spelling Bee. Over 1000 schools take part, including Wakefield City Academy who, in 2009, got through to the semi-finals with a team named the Wakefield Warriors. Here’s hoping that 2012’s team get through to the finals – fingers crossed!
A special mention must be made to Year 9 student, Joshua Moxon, who entered the BBC Shakespeare competition ‘Off by Heart’. Josh spent months learning the soliloquy ‘Is this a dagger…’ from Shakespeare’s play Macbeth and performed in front of a crowd of 200 people in Birmingham. The judges, who included BBC directors and RSC actors, praised Josh on his performance, stating that his acting made the whole speech come to life. Well done Josh!
Improvement in reading is absolutely vital to success and achievement in school across the whole curriculum, so the English department have been running ‘Reading Buddies’, a scheme where Year 10 and 11 student mentor year 7 and 8 students, listening to them read once and week and giving them advice on how to improve. It has been running for three years now and gets more and more popular every year.