Dyslexia makes some things harder to learn - it puts barriers in the way of progress. But, almost always, those barriers can be overcome, especially with the right kind of help and support.

Our curriculum is dynamic, creative and relevant while still ensuring that children learn key skills. Five hours a week of English paves the way for success at GCSE whilst an additional two hours a week of Literacy in Key Stage Three allows us to focus on the reading, writing and spelling skills which underpin that success.

All our teaching is multi-sensory and based on speaking and listening giving everyone the opportunity to use their strengths to support their weaknesses. Computers are also used widely to assist students in producing their very best work and to develop as independent learners.

To keep track of progress from entry to AQA English Language GCSE we mark books and identify “Next Steps” weekly, assessing students more formally every half term. These assessments are reported to parents in terms of GCSE grades 1-9. In this way we make sure that every child is making progress based on their previous attainment and is being guided towards the highest possible achievement at the end of the course.

Finally we strengthen students’ experience of literature and drama through reading, film and theatre visits throughout the year. In this way we aim to overcome the barriers to learning and ensure all individual needs can be carefully addressed.

English GCSE

Exam Board: AQA

English Language is a compulsory curriculum subject for all. We consider that every student, regardless of their literacy difficulties, should participate fully in the English GCSE course.

At Shapwick we follow the AQA syllabus for English GCSE which develops the skills established in Key Stage Three. Students will learn to read and understand prose literature text from the 20th and 21st Centuries. They will also compare how different viewpoints are presented in non-fiction by writers from the 19th century onwards. Students will consider style, purpose and audience when writing creatively and when expressing a viewpoint. Additionally students will complete a Spoken Language assessment which leads to a separate endorsement.

There are two examinations of one hour and forty five minutes each (plus extra time where awarded). Reading and Writing are assessed in both papers and are each worth 50% of the marks. Paper One will include an extract of prose literature text from either the 20th century for analysis plus a descriptive or narrative writing task. Paper Two will include two linked texts from different time periods and genres and a second written task.

Examination grades will be given as a number from 1-9 (where 9 is equivalent to an A*). The benchmark for a good pass is Grade 5. There is no controlled assessment or coursework for this examination.

English Literature

Exam Board: AQA

Offered as an option for students who wish to develop their enjoyment and understanding of literature; this course builds on the skills covered in English language but is designed to motivate students who wish to further extend their reading range. Literature is a highly respected subject in the eyes of colleges and employers: it encompasses a grasp of cultural history, philosophy, religion and the Arts that indicates a wide general knowledge, and an ability to analyse, question, empathise and argue a point of view. It is a subject that is the foundation to many others, and can be rewarding for students on many levels, preparing them for college, the work place and life and relationships in general. F.Scott Fitzgerald said, "That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not alone and isolated from anyone. You belong."

The AQA English Literature course consists of two papers which students will sit at the end of the course. Students will be focusing on the study of modern play scripts (for example JB Priestley's An Inspector Calls' and Stephens' 'A Curious incident of the Dog in the Night Time'), poetry, 19th century fiction and a Shakespeare play. It is important that students are willing to read in and out of lessons, although the use of technology will be encouraged. Teaching will be through reading, discussion and the use of film, where possible. Essay and comprehension skills will have an important focus, but students may also apply their knowledge of creative writing techniques, to enhance their own writing. Finally, as C.S. Lewis said "Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it."

Modern Foreign Language (MFL)

A modern foreign language is not formally timetabled, however this can be delivered as an additional subject.