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Mary Elliot Academy

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End of KS5 Curriculum Aim- all pupils leave Mary Elliot with enough functional English skills to become involved in the world around them.  


What is the purpose of an English Curriculum? More generally, the purpose of education is usually described as being about the following: 

  • Transmission of culture and society 
  • Preparation for work 
  • Preparation for effective citizenship 
  • Preparation for life (Dylan Williams) 

When describing the aims of a curriculum, Williamson follows with Education should; 

  • enrich students’ cultural capital and teach them explicit knowledge about how to think and communicate 
  • Sustained progress is preferable to rapid progress; learning is distinct from performance- linking with repetition and mastery of topics 
  • Is it good enough for my own children? 


When planning a curriculum which meets the needs of our KS3 and KS4 children at Mary Elliot, we need to think about the skills and knowledge our students will need to succeed in the wide world whilst also supporting life, long learners and promoting a love or Reading including selecting high quality texts in which to develop those skills. For this reason, our curriculum must constantly build upon the previous skill in order to develop repetition and mastery. In order for something to stick in a pupils long term memory, this needs to be taught and repeated over 200 times (Loveless 2018). For our pupils, this is of paramount importance in order for them to have some awareness of the world at an appropriate level- be this awareness of integration.  


For Students with additional needs, a mix between Functional and Creative lessons allow for a clear transmission of culture and cultural capital. It allows students to develop their artistic and imaginative side as well as giving them the skills they need to succeed in the preparation of life (Dylan Williams). Our curriculum has been planned to clearly support the balance of the two allowing for refinement in KS4 as they begin to prepare to the next stage of their learning. Our curriculum intent for English also shows a focus on giving children a language rich environment in order to develop vocabulary awareness. Our knowledge organisers and progression maps show how children develop new skills throughout the key stages constantly building on what has been previously taught to them. Again, this supports mastery for our learners.  


Reading for Pleasure VS Reading for Purpose 

Our pupils also have opportunity throughout the day to experience both reading to pleasure and reading for purpose. During story time, our pupils can select books which interest them and enjoy these for pleasure and developing a love of reading. These are chosen due to our pupils wants, needs and understanding and may not always be an appropriate academic level but selected through encouragement of choice, therefore supporting pupils interest (Schraw et al, 1998; Clark and PhythianSence, 2008). Reading for a purpose is where we give our pupils access to a more age-appropriate text during specific English lessons. The books chosen for Reading for a purpose should be high quality, thought through and allow for a build up of skills (Education England). All of our chosen texts and supporting materials are of high quality and underpinned by repetition of skills, knowledge and vocabulary to allow for information to become transferred into our pupils long term memory.  



At Mary Elliot, we want to categorise stories into 3 groups. Read to me, Read with me and independent reading. Our read to me books should be aspirational and age appropriate for our pupils. These should be stories covered in our English lessons which pupils may struggle to access independently without the support of props/ sensory input. Our Read with me books are books that pupils enjoy reading. These may not always be age appropriate but they encourage a love of reading for our pupils through pleasure. These stories may often have repetitive phrases that children can join in with and express interest. The children may regularly choose the same “read with me” story. Our independent reads will look very different and be personal to each pupil. This is where our phonics teaching comes in and we want pupils to independently access at an appropriate level be that reading an RWI book or eye gazing at an appropriate object, this is individualised for our pupils.  




Sensory Phonics. Using tactile RWI cards to introduce the sound. Children explore sensory letters, objects and sounds liked with the taught sound. Children are exposed to adults saying the sound in the environment as well as music linking to the sound. 

Children are given the opportunity to “choose” the correct sound as part of assessment.  


Pupils are taught Phonics through a personalised approach including verbally, TACPAC, 1:1, TEACCH tasks, group work and whole class teaching. Pupils are exposed to the RWI letter and rhyme. Pupils are encouraged to take part in MTYT through a communication method that suits them.  

Pupils then have their knowledge solidified and repeated through TEACCH tasks and 1:1 work.  



SLD department use RWI in a more “traditional” method. We follow the structure of RWI and use revisit, teach, apply and assessment format. Some classes also split groupings if this is appropriate. We complete Reading and Writing and phonics continues to be effective for most SLD students throughout KS3, KS4 and KS5 to ensure the best future for our students.  

The DFE 2022 stated that Phonics should be consistent, purposefully chosen and be a validated scheme showing the best possible start for our pupils. Our pupils will have had Phonics lessons from a young age as part of their Primary provision. As a Special School, we understand our pupils learn differently and need more repetition before the learning “sticks”. The purpose of Phonics at Mary Elliot is to give our pupils the best opportunity to succeed in life including awareness of the work up to gaining a job. At Mary Elliot, we use an adapted form of Read Write Inc as supported by Ruth Miskin Literacy (RWI, 2021). We ensure that Phonics is consistent for all including resources, structure and organisation but this needs to be adapted within departments. Using a recognised scheme will allow for our pupils to gain the best possible start and allow them to progress as they move through school (DFE 2022).