English

Teaching British Values

English at Bilbrook prepares students for life in Britain by developing the secure literacy skills needed to be successful, and by fostering an interest in our literacy heritage through a study of our most influential writers.



Welcome to English at Bilbrook CE Middle School. Our aim is to inspire, engage and motivate our pupils with a wealth and diversity of learning experiences, committed staff and vibrant learning environment.

The key assessment areas for English are:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Spoken English
  • And Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling at Key Stage 2

Pupils in Years 5, 6, 7 and 8 are taught the same skills, but the order, depth and range of study will vary between pupils and classes working at different levels. Literacy is supported across the curriculum. All subjects are equipped to support and develop pupils’ literacy skills.

Homework is an essential part of English.  Pupils are expected to spend at least 45 minutes to an hour each week to complete the homework activity set by the class teacher. It is an expectation that pupils complete independent or supported reading at home and record their reading in a reading diary.

  • At Key Stage 2, pupils are given a termly spelling booklet. Each week they have a list of spellings to learn, they are then tested during their Literacy hour. Pupils are also given a Reading Diary. Pupils are expected to read for at least thirty minutes a week and then fill in their Reading Diary. We encourage parents to take an active part in their child’s weekly homework.
  • At Key Stage 3, pupils are given weekly homework to complete. Homework can range from reading and writing tasks to spelling tests and research projects. Pupils also have three termly reading projects: Reading for Pleasure, Wider Reading and Reading for Challenge. At Key Stage 3, we encourage pupils to begin to take responsibility for their own learning during out-of-school hours.

At Bilbrook CE Middle School, reading is paramount. All pupils, at all levels, are encouraged to read on a daily basis. Twenty minutes a week, sometimes more, is devoted purely to private or whole class reading where pupils are given the opportunity to enjoy a range of suitable books. In Years 5 and 6 pupils take part in a ‘Buddy Reading’ programme. This programme runs in the morning in the place of morning registration. During this time a designated member of staff or responsible Year 8 pupil works with the pupil on a one to one basis to improve their reading skills and ability.

Once a week each class is given the opportunity to visit the library where pupils are able to access a range of books. Pupils are given full access to the library on site where there are a range of fiction and non-fiction books, as well as electronic resources.

The English department offers extra literacy intervention sessions to support pupils’ reading and writing skills and enhance learning, as well as after-school sessions and trips.

Year 5

During Year 5, pupils study Roald Dahl as a ‘significant’ children’s author, looking at the distinctive features of: his characters, themes, settings and use of language to inform their own writing. They then have an opportunity to compare the style of Roald Dahl, both novels and poetry, with the much more contemporary, yet strikingly similar style of David Walliams. In addition to this, they look at classic literature and writing in the style of Lewis Carroll, as well as studying the features of myths, legends and traditional stories from other cultures to develop their own writing style. They also examine how story structure is used in film and have the opportunity to further develop their narrative style, using film as an inspiration.

Their poetry unit involves a specific study of The Highwayman, by Alfred Noyes, examining character viewpoint through drama and writing tasks.

In non-fiction writing, through their work on a variety of text types, children have opportunities to identify and understand key features of persuasive and informative writing, resulting in writing and editing their own compositions.

Pupils have a weekly session devoted to Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling skills.

Year 6

Pupils begin the year with a whole class debate about school uniform. Following this, they transfer their verbal skills to paper by writing a letter to the Headteacher in which they voice their opinions. In narrative reading and writing, pupils study a variety of genres, identifying key features for each genre. They have opportunities to share their favourite books with their peers, recommending them to others for reading. This leads to their own story writing within a particular genre, using the conventions of flashback as well as appropriate language and organisational features.

During their work on poetry, pupils study how poets use figurative language, as well as surreal, surprising and amusing images, to create effects in poems. Pupils study a range of authors from various periods in history, including Charles Dickens and C.S. Lewis, as well as contemporary authors such as Derek Landy.

They also examine the organisational and language features of a range of non-fiction text types which include: biography, autobiography, persuasive argument, discussion writing, formal and impersonal texts and journalistic writing. As a result, pupils further develop their ability to respond to, as well as write, across a range of text types to suit purpose and audience.

Towards the end of the year, they undertake a major project on marketing and advertising linked to their visit to Cadbury World.

Pupils have a weekly session devoted to Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling skills.

Year 7

Year 7 begins with a study of contemporary fiction, focussing on how themes are developed in a novel and developing their ability to provide extended responses to text, incorporating quotations into their answers. From this, they further develop their own narrative writing, developing key themes throughout their stories. Further opportunity to develop this is undertaken later on in the year. During these units, pupils study novels and plays by Lemony Snicket, F.E. Higgins, Gillian Cross and they also revisit Charles Dickens.

In non-fiction writing, students continue to develop their skills across a range of genres throughout the year ending with a particular focus on argument and persuasion where they study present day issues and speech writing.

Their poetry study explores some of the many specific types of poems, examining how structure and language can be used to increase mystery and tension.

Towards the end of the year, students study how the English language has evolved to the modern language we use today, as well as recognising how language is still evolving with the increasing influence of technology. Pupils are also able to discover more about writers in history, such as Geoffrey Chaucer, and their significance in our cultural heritage. This theme is continued when pupils develop their drama techniques through a study of a variety of Shakespeare’s plays, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet.

Year 8

In year 8, pupils begin with a short narrative unit resulting in the composition of a retold fairy tale. Following this, pupils engage with a media and film based unit in which they further develop their deductive and analytical skills. The half term ends with pupils writing, filming and starring in their own productions. Pupils then go on to study the theme of War in variety of literature that includes the poetry of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon along with the contemporary novel, Private Peaceful. They are given opportunities to write their own piece of descriptive writing and letters home as First World War soldiers.

They further develop their narrative reading and writing skills, particularly looking at the development of themes and characters through the study of Gothic Literature, including the works of Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley and Stephanie Mayer, to name a few. In addition to this, pupils also study texts from other cultures.

In non- fiction writing, they further advance their writing techniques for preparing a speech, examining the use of persuasive techniques used in iconic speeches delivered by Martin Luther King and Barack Obama, developing these skills in their own argument writing.

Pupils end the year with focus on travel writing, studying articles, leaflets and brochures, along with authors such as Bill Bryson and Bear Grylls.