At Sherfield the aim of our English curriculum in the Prep School and is to provide pupils with the skills that they need to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing. We attach great importance to the development of strong reading, writing and speaking and listening skills. These skills are practised regularly and are embedded into the curriculum across the full range of subjects as well as within dedicated English lessons.
Pupils are actively encouraged to listen and ask questions, to formulate and articulate their own ideas and opinions and to consider those of others. Drama, discussions and oral presentations are used to enhance and develop language skills. All Prep School pupils have the opportunity to participate in a drama production and regularly lead assemblies.
Spelling, handwriting and grammar are the key skills necessary to develop fluent, confident writers. Regular spelling practice is given to each pupil and grammar is integrated into daily teaching. Pupils are taught to write using a cursive script.
In Sherfield Prep School there are daily 40 minute English lessons for all pupils. Pupils are given the opportunity to work in ability-level and mixed ability groups. Lessons are structured to encompass the whole curriculum, enabling pupils to undertake reading, writing, spelling, handwriting and grammar tasks through written and oral work.
Regular reading is encouraged and actively promoted across the school through initiatives both in the classroom and as part of national events such as Book Week. Pupils are encouraged to take home a practice book selected from a range of fiction and non-fiction texts and also have access to a well-stocked library where they can experience different authors and genres. They have a dedicated library session each week. From Year 3 onwards pupils follow an online Accelerated Reading Programme which is designed to promote wider reading and to raise the reading age of all pupils.
The English curriculum is enriched by special events and visits, recent examples being an English and Drama Challenge Day, a visit to the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery and theatre trips linked with texts being studied in class.
In years 7 and 8 pupils follow a broad and balanced curriculum. This includes the study of modern novels including titles such as Abomination by Robert Swindells; and Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo. Each year there is a Shakespeare Unit of Work where teachers choose the most appropriate text for the group and balance the study of comedies, histories and tragedies. Pupils will also undertake Creative and Discursive Writing as well as the study of Media/Non-Fiction Units and Drama. All pupils analyse a range of Poetry from other cultures and historical periods, often culminating in the writing of their own verses. Every summer, the English Department organise a week long Poetry Festival, where each pupil from years 7 and 8 perform a poem of their choice, as well as have the opportunity to write their own.
Pupils in Years 7 and 8 are also given the opportunity to attend a creative writing residential trip through the Arvon Foundation. Students in Year 8 are often given the opportunity to see a live stage production of Macbeth.