Head of Teaching & Learning: Mrs S Kashmiri
2/ic: Miss E Groves
Mr G McCusker
Mrs C Duncumb
Mrs N Howarth (maternity leave)
Mrs S Green
Mrs A Radmore
Ms T Millington – Key Stage 3 Coordinator
Mr A Everitt
Miss E Thorne
Mrs J Bance – Librarian
Mrs J Moulds – English Intervention & Teaching Assistant
“Books and doors are the same thing. You open them, and you go through into another world.” Jeanette Winterson
Our vision is to create a learning culture in which pupils leave Downlands confident and highly literate citizens, citizens who are lifelong readers, able to deconstruct and make sense of the complex world they inhabit. A world in which they can articulate their feelings and opinions through the spoken and written word. We will ensure that every child makes the most of their considerable potential order to flourish and excel.
“Studying English at school was my first, and probably my biggest step forwards towards mental freedom and independence. It was like falling in love with life.” Ian McEwan
At Downlands, we firmly believe in the value and educational benefits that come with fostering a love of reading, both at school and at home. The Literacy Trust has conducted research that indicates that a child who reads for pleasure outside of school has a significantly higher reading age than those who do not. Given the demands of the English GCSEs, reading outside of school can substantially enhance a child’s ability to read, understand and analyse the complex texts the students study. Furthermore, research has shown that children who read outside of school develop key literacy skills that will help them cope with subjects across the curriculum. Children who read for pleasure gained more fluent writing ability, stronger comprehension of texts and grammar, a wider breadth of vocabulary, more positive attitudes to reading, greater self-confidence as a reader and were more likely to read for pleasure in later life. In a 21st century world in which children of all ages are faced with ever-growing amounts of information they must critically interpret, developing a love of reading is of the utmost importance.
Given the value of reading, at Downlands, we aim to create confident, well-read, critical thinkers of our students. Every day, students in Years 7-9 are given a dedicated ten minutes of reading at the start of their fifth lesson called “Drop Everything And Read”. DEAR time is a fundamental aspect of the Downlands’ reading culture as it provides an opportunity for reading to become a communal activity as well as demonstrating a model for good reading practices, from other students as well as from teachers.
We also encourage all pupils to become confident articulate writers. All pupils will write for a variety of purposes and audiences and learn to appreciate the benefits and joys of writing. The School’s magazine The Buzz provides a wonderful opportunity for pupils across the key stages to work together, gaining insight into the world of media, often helping to write press releases for local newspapers.
We also want our pupils to recognise the power of talk and will be given many opportunities to express ideas and appreciate the views of others.
The English Department hosts the Public Speaking club for students in Years 7 to 11, with weekly meetings taking place during Wednesday lunch times. Students of all ages enjoy developing their speaking and listening skills and teams are entered for both the Rotary Club and English Speaking Union annual public speaking competitions.
“Winning ‘Best Team’, to be honest, was the last thing on minds – proven by the thank you chocolates, which we presented to Ms Kashmiri and Ms Groves (our mentors) during the intermediate event , in order to sweeten the disappointment of a loss, but win we did! It seems that the judges didn’t mind Charlotte’s bad Instagram puns or Monica’s eloquent savagery in response to her question from the floor. In fact, it seems that they thought us worthy of representing their district in the next round (which will take place in Maidstone, Kent) at which we promise to give our all.” by Charlotte Eastham, Monica Yell and Josephine Leggett
The English Department fully recognises the importance of the school’s Moodle website, understanding the way in which teachers and students can communicate on a virtual level, developing teaching and learning in new and exciting ways.
We enjoy our status as one of the favourite subjects of our pupils and seek to teach each one and assess their progress in a personable, caring and transparent way, ensuring that every child understands how they can become confident and articulate citizens, making the most of their considerable potential.
World Book Day – this is definitely worth a look, it’s a PDF and when you click on the pictures it takes you to a YouTube video of the author reading from their story.
Awarding Body: AQA
Long Term Plans for English
Key Stage 4
At Downlands Community School we begin the GCSE curriculum in Year 9.