Author Andy Cope at St Olave'sGive me a man or woman who has read a thousand books and you give me an interesting companion. Give me a man or woman who has read perhaps three and you give me a dangerous enemy indeed.
- Anne Rice, The Witching Hour

At the heart of the English curriculum at St Olave’s is reading.

Throughout their five years here all pupils have a dedicated weekly library session purely for encouraging reading for pleasure; they learn to appreciate a range of literature and gradually develop personal taste. They discuss novels, recommend titles to one another and are encouraged to branch out and try new and exciting literature as it hits our library shelves on a weekly basis. In addition to this, class readers are encouraged in Years 4 and 5 exposing children to new authors and supporting them in comprehension, inference and prediction when reading.

Books form the basis of most of our English teaching and written tasks are designed to complement the chosen literature, whilst ensuring a wide range of appropriate writing genre are taught and revisited during the five years at St Olave’s. Emphasis is on teaching pupils how to write effectively, using presentational features and language appropriate to the audience. A fundamental aspect of writing is the editing process and, throughout St Olave’s, pupils learn that their ‘best’ work is unlikely to be their first draft. From Year 4 onwards pupils evaluate their own work and comment on the work of others; they do this with increasing skill during their time here.

Spelling, handwriting and grammar are also valued as key elements of the English curriculum and, in KS2 one lesson per week is devoted to spelling and grammar. These skills are then embedded in real writing tasks within the scheme of work.

At Key Stage 3 we look ahead into the requirements for iGCSE. Before our pupils embark upon that course, we aim to give them breadth of study with a constantly updated curriculum that supports tradition coupled with modern literature. Years 7 and 8 pupils study a Shakespearian text, with a trip to The Globe forming part of this early Shakespeare experience. In addition to this Y7 and 8 explore a range of poetry and novels, adapting to embrace opportunities presented. Theatre opportunities are taken whenever relevant so that pupils can see work on stage, enhancing understanding. In addition to this the school works in partnership with The Theatre Royal in York and each class takes part in a bespoke workshop, linked to their English studies. 

English is a compulsory subject. Our overriding aim is that pupils grow to enjoy English and leave St Olave’s with the knowledge that they can form personal responses to literature, grounded in clear understanding and to appreciate that good English is intrinsically linked to the life experience.

The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
- Dr Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Curriculum

 

Christmas

Easter

Summer

J1

Family poetry writing

Persuasive letters

Story openings

Class novel – link to history ‘Invasion’

Free writing

Theatre day workshop

Winter poetry

Class novel – ‘Spiderwick Chronicles’

Descriptive monster writing

Travel/ holiday brochure

International buffet

Christophe’s story (novel)

Oral storytelling – drama

 J1 play

Letter writing to new pupils.

Instructional writing

J2

Diary extracts

Story writing – Mr Men stories

Play scripts

Class novel

Non-chronological reports: explanation

Newspaper report writing

Adverts

Class novel

Theatre day workshop

Study of a poet.

Kate Greenaway shadowing scheme – comparative writing

Descriptive writing

Class novel

J3

Biography/autobiography written and spoken
Study of class novel – ghost themed

Story writing – ghost theme (theatre day workshop)

Formal and informal letters
Debating an issue arising as part of prose study

Argument writing
Writing up a discussion

Class novel – Al Capone does my shirts

Creation of a pirate character- descriptive
Class play script: Treasure Island

Play script writing and performing

J4

Grammar and descriptive writing unit

Class novel – I am Malala

Survivor themed analysis

Review writing – focus on audience and tone

Use of PEE in comprehension

 Shakespeare: Mid Night’s Dream

Analysis of character (PEE)

Report writing on Globe theatre/ modern theatre

Time travel story

London visit – Globe and West End show.

Research, writing  and delivery of formal speech
Class novel study: Cloudbusting (poetry)

Analysis of theme from novel
Poetry project/ writing

J5

Grammar in poetry unit

Study of gothic novel

Gothic writing (300 words)

Analytical writing on novel

Poetry and prose comprehension skills

Shakespeare study: The Tempest

Writing sonnets

Character analysis and writing in role.

Comparative writing – study of film versions

Poetry comprehension

Dystopian literature study – ideally linked to theatre day.

Class novella

Enterprise project – linked with DT

In addition

  • Comprehension in all terms, in all year groups.
  • Handwriting focus in J1 and J2.
  • Spelling formally taught in differentiated groups in J1 and 2, with additional staff.
  • Intervention programmes for J1-3
  • Guided reading taught in mixed ability classes.