Our Curriculum key principles:
- Knowledge Rich – The knowledge that we have selected to include in our curriculum ensures a wide breadth and balance through our text choices. We offer a wide range of texts in terms of genre, gender and other cultures in order to develop a deep and broad knowledge of literature and media texts from around the world and from different eras.
- Vocabulary Rich – A broad, sophisticated vocabulary is integral to all aspects of our curriculum. We explicitly teach vocabulary and promote students’ development of sophisticated “tier 2” vocabulary throughout the key stage to build the complex active vocabulary that will prepare our students for the demands of Key Stage 4.
- Lasting Learning – We’ve designed our KS3 curriculum as a separate, enriching and valuable stage in and of itself that develops what has been taught at KS2 and provides the skills essential for success at KS4. It allows learning through making connections to ensure an effective transition between Key Stages. The quality of the curriculum must enable learning which will provide students with durable, flexible knowledge and skills. Time is planned into our curriculum for retrieval of prior learning in both KS2/3 to ensure progress and learning is lasting: ‘Learning for good, not just for now’ (Bjork).
- High Aspirations – Our curriculum is intentionally challenging as we try to extend the learning of all our students. Work given to more able students leads to deeper understanding. At the heart of our curriculum is high aspirations for all learners. We teach to the top and scaffold skilfully where needed with a view to taking that scaffolding away. The focus is on differentiating the support not the task.
- Cultural Understanding – We ensure that we explore and teach a wide variety of cultural allusions to ensure the concepts help students have a gateway to social mobility and a greater understanding of the world that we live in. Context is taught explicitly to help students understand the authorial intention, but also the wider cultural significance.
- Oracy Skills – The ability to express and discuss ideas is fundamental to English, Media Studies and Drama. It is essential to the development of students as individuals and as articulate communicators.
Explicit Grammar instruction – Key to developing students’ literacy and therefore their ability to communicate effectively in writing, is mastery of grammar. We take a systematic approach to the teaching of grammar focusing on grammatical structures at word and sentence level to promote students’ confidence in recognising and applying these structures independently.
Reading for Pleasure – Our curriculum embeds wider reading throughout KS3 and KS4.
Exploration and Application of Practitioners: Students will learn to confidently explore and investigate how practitioners create and make performances. They will learn how to apply these processes to their own creative work and progressively deepen their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the drama.
Subject Specific Skills: Students will develop a range of subject-specific skills, language and techniques; they will learn how to compose, create, perform, devise and experience drama in an imaginative, engaging and creative way.
Reflection: The curriculum will be delivered through regular and structured opportunities to reflect and evaluate their own and others’ work across a range of cultures and content.
Critical Thinking: the media studies curriculum aims to develop our students’ confidence in critically engaging with media texts of all styles and types. Across the course of study, students will develop an understanding of and analytical approach to television, radio, music, video games, advertising, film, print media and online and social participatory media. The curriculum is designed in order to encourage critical evaluation skills and personal approaches to a variety of texts- within the study of these close study products (CSPs), students will be prompted to consider their own experience and approach to the media industry and analytically consider the role that it plays in their own lives.
Theoretical Exploration: Within the media curriculum there are frequent opportunities for cross curricular links with aspects of English language, history, politics and psychology and sociology. In particular, the reference to multiple theoretical studies allows students to explore how media texts are purposefully manipulative, and the strategies that media production teams have utilised and refined over the last century.
Evaluation of the key concepts of Media: The media curriculum is underpinned by an engagement with the key concepts of media studies: industry, audience, language and representation. Each of the CSPs will be used as a representative example of their specific sub-category of media text and are designed to invite close scrutiny and analytical evaluation.
Reading skills: to retrieve information; support ideas; understand the writers’ methods; infer/analyse information; understand how texts are influenced by social, cultural and historical traditions.
Writing skills: to produce texts appropriate to purpose audience and form which are engaging; to structure text effectively; to vary sentence structure and type; to use a wide range of ambitious vocabulary and to write with technical accuracy.
Spoken language skills: To express challenging ideas and feeling using a range of vocabulary; to organise talk to meet the needs of the audience; to listen and respond perceptively to questions and feedback and elaborate ideas with further ideas and information.
We focus on the six assessment objectives defined by Ofqual: reading to identify information, make inferences, compare ideas and analyse language as well as context; writing that is effective, and accurate, for a range of purposes and in a variety of contexts.
Our curriculum ensures that topics are interconnected with multiple cross referencing between units of work enabling students to have a variety of pathways to access knowledge and skills. The design helps students to have an overall picture of the five-year curriculum and significantly helps them with the ability to recall information from each component. This also assists us in our teaching as we have become more conscious of when to link sections of the course and how to sequence it.
The multiple themes running through the topics covered provide numerous opportunities for students to engage with the texts and develop strong lines of arguments when writing responses. Knowing the content of the text and the authorial intention behind it is imperative for successful progress and therefore forms the first port of call before moving on to detailed inference and analysis. The development of writing all stems from this initially as students are encouraged to piece together arguments to form and essay and then by creating stories which can be advanced by emulating the way authors develop theme, use characters, sentence structure, plot, vocabulary etc.
Each unit of work has a knowledge organiser which tracks the progression of all concepts, subject specific vocabulary, knowledge and skills. These are stuck in the students’ exercise books and regularly referred to both in the classroom and for homework.
Processes are assessed, modelled and implements as part of the learning process.
Assessment has been carefully integrated into the curriculum. Each unit has an initial baseline formative assessment which tests the students’ ability to recall prior learning which is integral to the unit of work. It also provides an opportunity to review their initial response to the new learning informing teachers how to adapt the unit to meet the needs of the class. Feedback is in the students’ books so that they can easily access it and see clearly how to make improve. Lesson time is dedicated to responding to feedback. Good practice is reviewed, modelled and implemented.
We have moved away from regular summative assessment as a school and instead use a variety of formative methods to give students regular feedback and time to act upon it. A summative assessment is completed at the end of the unit to establish the retention of the content, knowledge and skills.
All assessments across classes and year groups are used to evaluate and develop the quality of progress and learning. As all students do the same assessments at the same time it enables us to effectively identify areas that need reinforcing or ones where we can extend ideas further. It also facilitates the departments’ ability to standardise, moderate and reflect upon the learning.
In Drama, students will explore a range of genres and theatre styles that will prepare students for both GCSE Drama. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the history of theatre exploring Greek Theatre and its influences on modern theatre as well as devising strategies and political theatre through the study of practitioners. Students will be able to devise their own work within those styles as well as exploring more topical and social issues and themes.
They will also have the opportunity to study playscripts including Noughts and Crosses and Teechers. Students will learn how to analyse and evaluate performance in both written form and verbal feedback. The feedback culture in KS3 Drama is crucial as it enables them to be self-reflective and highlights thier understanding of the subject.
In KS4 we are reshaping our curriculum and are introducing the study of Drama practitioners and Theatre Companies such as Stanislavski, Brecht, Frantic Assembly, Wise Children Theatre Company and many more in order for students to understand the different methods of creating material and theories about the world of Drama. This will greatly aid students when it comes to creating and developing their own pieces of theatre and writing in exams. Students will be required to complete three components as part of the AQA GCSE.
Component 1: Understanding Drama (1hr 45 mins) 40% of the GCSE
Students will be required to sit a 1 hour and 45 minute exam that tests their understanding of drama and theatre. Students will answer general questions based on job roles, staging types and positions as well as answering questions based on a set text which will be Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers, testing their knowledge of the play and how they would approach certain scenes from a variety of different roles such as: a performer, director and designer. Students will also be asked to analyse and evaluate the work of live theatre makers using drama terminology. This will be based on live theatre viewed throughout the year.
Component 2: Devising Drama (practical) 40% of the GCSE
Students will be given the opportunity to create their own pieces of theatre on a topic of their choice. They will contribute to these pieces in groups as either a performer or designer. Alongside this module students will need to maintain a devising log that outlines their initial steps, development of the practical pieces and an analysis and evaluation of the final product. This work will be marked by the Drama department and sent off for moderation.
Component 3: Texts in Practice (practical) 20% of the GCSE
Students will be tasked to perform two extracts from a play showing character progression and development. The play chosen in this section will contrast from the play studied for the set text. This performance will be watched by a live audience as well as a visiting examiner who will award the final marks for this component.
The key concepts represent the toolkit required by media students in order to engage with media texts critically and analytically. The four concepts are: industry, language, representation and audience. At the beginning of their media course, students will be exposed to audience theory and consider the ways in which audiences are manipulated by media texts. They will critically evaluate the extent to which these audiences are aware of their own manipulation and consider their own experiences of media manipulation. Media language will be introduced to students to allow them to articulate ideas about the production of media texts and technically consider their construction of reality. Industry will be introduced through the consideration of how texts are approved and made, as well as monitored and regulated. The concept of representation, perhaps most crucial, will involve a comprehensive consideration of varied groups within society and the multitude of ways in which these groups are depicted and constructed within mainstream media texts.
Subject Specific Language: The media curriculum includes a deliberate focus on broadening students’ media technical language, something that is supported by our knowledge organisers, as students are actively encouraged to experiment with the application and use of technical and theoretical terminology throughout their studies.
Independent Study: The independent coursework task will allow students to creatively design and produce a media product of their own and actively apply the theoretical approaches to the industry that they have acquired across the course. The freedom of personal choice in their design represents the overriding intent of the media course, which is to encourage passionate, personal interaction with this vast, creative and constantly shifting industry.