Our intent for the English curriculum at Vandyke Upper School is to equip the young people in our care with the fundamental life skills of literacy, communication skills and exploratory, independent thought. We want our students to have a clear sense of the world around them and to appreciate their place within it.
Alongside the teaching of knowledge and skills is our moral purpose - to build meaningful relationships that foster self-belief and instil a sense of personal responsibility. Above all, it is our intention to ensure students leave Vandyke as young adults with the tools and confidence needed to navigate their way as citizens of an increasingly complex world but also ready to explore a world filled with wonder and opportunity.
Central to achieving our intent is an ambitious, rich and inspiring curriculum, crafted around a core concept: the human condition. Schemes of learning are masterfully designed to promote creativity, curiosity and cultural capital. We are passionate about reading. Through a diverse range of carefully chosen texts, we expose students to an array of voices, experiences and cultures. We place emphasis on the importance of the spoken word and the power of voice; exploratory talk and debate are integral components of every lesson where we support and empower students to use their voice with confidence and impact.
From KS3 to KS5 the curriculum is built upon the fundamental knowledge structures within the discipline of English studies: context, storytelling, metaphor, argument, pattern and grammar. At KS3&4 English Language and Literature are co-taught with careful sequencing and interleaving to ensure that students revisit key concepts and practice key skills at frequent intervals. Collaborative sequencing and planning, adapted pathways in lessons and over time ensures that needs of all students are met and that learning has both meaningful and memorable impact. We place no ceiling on attainment: teaching is aspirational and our English teams are committed to stretch, challenge and inspire students in every lesson.
Learning extends beyond the classroom through a varied homework programme and a wealth of extracurricular opportunities including our book club, revision sessions, creative writing group, public speaking competitions, philosophy hour, theatre trips and in school drama workshops.