English language and literature are fundamental aspects of education, equipping students with vital communication skills, critical thinking abilities, and an appreciation for the written word. In Jersey, the English curriculum at Key Stage 3 (KS3) and Key Stage 4 (KS4) is designed to nurture students’ spoken language, reading, writing, and spelling, punctuation, and grammar (SPAG) skills. Let’s take a look at the skills learners will be engaging in, and how teachers, tutors and families can support learning.
How does this differ from study at Key Stage 2?
The Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 Jersey Curriculum for English builds upon the foundation laid during Key Stage 2 but introduces more advanced concepts and skills, which our English tutors in Jersey often find students need extra support with. Here are some key differences between the Key Stage 2 curriculum and the subsequent stages:
Depth and Complexity: The Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 curriculum delves deeper into the study of English language and literature compared to Key Stage 2. Students engage with more complex texts, explore sophisticated themes, and analyze literary techniques in greater detail. Many learners who we tutor benefit greatly from one to one discussion and careful guidance from our English tutors here in Jersey.
Expanding Literary Range: While Key Stage 2 introduces students to a variety of literary genres and texts, the later stages of the curriculum broaden their exposure to a wider range of literature, including classic and contemporary works. This allows students to develop a deeper understanding of different literary periods and styles. Often, this will also mean that there are a wider variety of accessible options such as film, theatre and even graphic novel versions which can also support learning.
Critical Analysis: Although children at Primary school are encouraged to analyse texts, there is a much stronger emphasis on this at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. Students are encouraged to analyze texts in a more nuanced manner, considering authorial intent, themes, symbolism, and stylistic choices. The learning experiences children have had at their Jersey primary schools, as well as conversations around reading with tutors and family members, support development in this area.
Independent Thinking and Writing: As students progress to the later stages, they are encouraged to express their own ideas and opinions more independently. Writing tasks become more complex and require greater depth of analysis, coherent arguments, and evidence-based reasoning. Our English tutors in Jersey have significant experience in supporting learners with key skills such as structure, planning and editing written tasks.
Language Skills: Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 focus on refining language skills, including grammar, vocabulary, and spelling. There is an increased emphasis on accuracy, precision, and understanding the nuances of language use.
So what will our children be learning?
The Jersey Curriculum recognizes the importance of spoken language skills in effective communication and encourages students to develop confidence and clarity in expressing their ideas. At KS3 and KS4, students engage in various activities to enhance their spoken language abilities, including:
Speaking and Listening – Students participate in discussions, debates, presentations, and role plays, both individually and in groups, fostering their ability to articulate thoughts and listen actively.
Presentation Skills – Students learn to structure and deliver engaging presentations, utilizing appropriate language, tone, and non-verbal cues.
Speaking with Fluency – Students are encouraged to speak fluently, using appropriate vocabulary and grammatical structures, while adapting their language to different audiences and purposes.
The English curriculum in Jersey places great emphasis on developing students’ reading skills, encouraging a love for literature, and fostering critical thinking abilities. The following components are integral to the reading curriculum at KS3 and KS4:
Literary Analysis – Students explore a range of texts, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama, and learn to analyze themes, characters, narrative techniques, and the author’s intent.
Reading Comprehension – Students develop strategies to comprehend and interpret texts effectively, including inference, deduction, skimming, scanning, and close reading.
Wide Reading – Students are encouraged to read widely, both within and beyond the curriculum, to develop their understanding of different genres, styles, and cultures.
The writing curriculum aims to nurture students’ ability to express themselves effectively through various forms and genres. It focuses on developing their creativity, clarity, and accuracy in written expression. Key components of the writing curriculum include:
Creative Writing – Students are given opportunities to explore their imagination and develop their creativity through short stories, poems, descriptive pieces, and scripts.
Persuasive Writing – Students learn to construct persuasive arguments and present their viewpoints effectively in essays, speeches, and articles. Our English tutors in Jersey regularly find that students require additional discussion and practice around this skill, especially if they are challenged to write from a point of view which they do not agree with personally.
Writing for Different Purposes – Students develop skills in writing for different purposes and audiences, such as informative writing, narrative writing, and formal letters.
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar (SPAG):
The SPAG curriculum at KS3 and KS4 focuses on equipping students with the necessary skills to write accurately and coherently. The curriculum encompasses the following aspects:
Spelling – Students learn spelling rules, patterns, and strategies, and are encouraged to expand their vocabulary through regular reading and exposure to new words.
Punctuation – Students develop an understanding of punctuation marks and their usage, including commas, apostrophes, colons, and semicolons, to enhance the clarity and coherence of their writing. These finer punctuation marks are tricky to grasp, and our English tutors in Jersey often work with students who are grappling with them; it certainly isn’t unusual!
Grammar – Students learn and apply grammatical concepts, such as tenses, sentence structures, subject-verb agreement, and parts of speech, to enhance their writing skills.
Assessment and Progression:
The Jersey English Curriculum employs a range of assessment methods to monitor students’ progress and inform teaching and learning. These assessments may include written tasks, presentations, reading comprehension exercises, and SPAG tests. The curriculum ensures a clear progression from KS3 to KS4, building upon foundational skills and knowledge. As learners are studying towards taking vital qualifications in these subjects, it is essential that any misconceptions or lack of progress is addressed quickly. Our team of English tutors in Jersey are always happy to provide extra support to students, especially in key examination areas as we understand just how important GCSE qualifications are in terms of future employability.
Teachers are encouraged to provide regular feedback and support students in setting goals for improvement. The curriculum promotes a holistic approach to English education, aiming to develop well-rounded language skills in students.
How can families support learning?
Families play a crucial role in supporting and enhancing learning at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. Here are some ways families can actively support their children’s education during these stages:
Establish a Learning-Friendly Environment: Create a dedicated study area at home where your child can focus on their schoolwork. Ensure the space is quiet, well-lit, and free from distractions. Encourage regular study routines and set aside specific times for homework and revision.
Encourage Reading: Foster a love for reading by providing access to a variety of books, magazines, and online resources. Discuss and explore literary themes, characters, and narratives with your child. Encourage them to read widely and discuss their reading experiences.
Engage in Conversations: Encourage meaningful conversations with your child about their studies. Ask open-ended questions to stimulate critical thinking and encourage them to express their opinions and ideas. Engaging in dialogue helps develop communication skills and deepens understanding.
Support Homework and Revision: Take an interest in your child’s homework assignments and projects. Offer guidance and assistance when needed, but also encourage them to take responsibility for their own learning. Help them develop effective time management and organization skills.
Utilize Online Resources: Explore online learning platforms, educational websites, and digital resources that can supplement classroom learning. Encourage your child to use these resources to reinforce concepts, practice skills, and explore areas of interest.
Emphasize the Importance of Well-Being: Recognize that maintaining a healthy balance between academics, extracurricular activities, and personal well-being is vital. Encourage regular breaks, physical activity, and sufficient sleep to support their overall well-being and academic performance.
Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate your child’s achievements, both big and small. Praise their efforts and successes, which can boost their motivation, self-confidence, and enjoyment of learning.
Be a Role Model: Demonstrate a positive attitude towards learning and engage in your own intellectual pursuits. Let your child see your curiosity, reading habits, and commitment to lifelong learning. Be an active learner yourself and share your own experiences and knowledge.
By actively engaging in your child’s education and providing a supportive home environment, you can significantly contribute to their academic success, overall growth, and development during Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.
In conclusion, the Jersey Curriculum for English at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 prioritises the development of spoken language, reading, writing, and SPAG skills. It aims to equip students with the necessary tools to communicate effectively, analyze texts critically, and express themselves confidently in both spoken and written forms.