Giving children strong foundations in English
We’ve worked with teachers from across the Ark network to develop English Mastery, a year 7 English curriculum designed to help children become literate and love literature.
The programme includes books, lesson plans and an online platform for teachers, and combines our teachers’ classroom experience as well as educational research from around the world.
The skills children learn aren’t just relevant to their English lessons – these skills apply across other subjects too, and will be essential long after students have left school. English Mastery also helps children to develop a love of literature that will stir their imaginations, open their minds and enrich their lives.
How is English Mastery different?
- English Mastery is made up of two distinct pathways: students with a reading age of 8 or below pursue a different route until they are ready to reintegrate.
- A commitment to close the reading age gap by the end of year 8.
- There are whole school approaches to teaching and consolidating basic literacy skills - meaning that English teaching is integrated into other subjects.
- There are four units of literature, whereas many schools will study six, allowing English Mastery students to study these units in more depth.
- There is greater emphasis on the teaching of grammar.
- There is extensive staff training and professional development for teachers using English Mastery and all staff have access to training videos of best practice.
What do students study in English Mastery?
English Mastery is made up of several different strands:
- Literature: In year 7, pupils study four different literary units: Oliver Twist, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a modern classic novel and an anthology of classic and modern poetry.
- Grammar: Pupils study two lessons of grammar each week.
- Reading for Pleasure and Vocabulary: Pupils have one lesson a week where they do shared reading of a modern novel. This lesson also includes an element of explicit vocabulary teaching.
- Fresh Start phonics: pupils who have a reading age below their chronological age have extra time each week to study the Read Write Inc Fresh Start phonics programme.
- Whole school literacy: The English Mastery approach is consolidated across the school with three whole school literacy strands. All staff receive training in three approaches to whole school literacy: marking for writing, vocabulary teaching, and summary writing. These three approaches are then taught across the curriculum.