Hayley Ross | Vice Principal | Hewett Academy | Norwich
Highlights of the last year are definitely seeing students in my own class, and in others during learning walks, confidently and enthusiastically responding to questions. In English Mastery classes this is completely due to the knowledge-rich curriculum they are following and the engaging resources and lesson plans provided.
I have been particularly impressed with lower achieving students who have made excellent progress over the year and have gained a real sense of accomplishment in their secure knowledge of the texts such as 'Oliver Twist' and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. These are students who struggle with their written expression, spelling and vocabulary and are still able to appreciate the texts and obtain better marks due to the way that the curriculum supports them and provides them with essential knowledge regardless of their ability. There's no 'dumbing down' and students have responded extremely positively to this - they have risen to the challenge.
Running alongside this, another highlight for me is the use of explicit grammar instruction. I am the biggest fan of grammar teaching. Using the language, marking and strategies not just within English classrooms but across the whole curriculum has enabled our students to avoid repeatedly making the same errors and freeing them up to focus on the essential knowledge they need to gain and analyse. The students also completely understand the reasoning behind the programme. I love when we have visitors to these lessons and a student can recite word for word the benefits of grammar lessons and they actually mean it - it isn't just because we've told them to say it! The difference between those students who have followed the programme and those in the higher years that missed out is simply staggering.
My own teaching practice has certainly improved since we joined English Mastery - the Assessing for Mastery days being an essential part of this. Also as a department we have utilised the planning documents, set staff reading homework using the resources provided and we have used the form and layout of English Mastery lessons in other year groups with great success.
This is all possible due to the exceptional support offered by the English Mastery team. Every element of the curriculum is supported and every question we have had has been swiftly answered.
I am most thankful for the revival of my enthusiasm in my subject. This isn't something that KS3 provided previously and I have enjoyed immensely and appreciated the conversations, debates and ideas that the curriculum has provided for me and the department.
Then contact our friendly partnerships team who will be happy to talk you through the programmes and help you decide on the right approach for your school.
As teachers ourselves, we understand how extraordinarily difficult this period has been for all schools. We have made some important changes to our mastery programmes this year to help support you in the months ahead.