English at James Bateman Middle School

May I extend a warm welcome to you and introduce the English Department here at James Bateman Middle School.

Knowledge of language and the means by which we can communicate with each other is vital to each of our student’s successes. A child’s experience of each of the curriculum areas starts with their ability to communicate effectively. Here at James Bateman Middle School, our English team strives to ensure each individual student achieves competency in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Our passionate English team relish creating engaging, stimulating and innovative literacy lessons to allow our students to love words and appreciate their power.

The English team’s passion is to ensure all of our students learn to become enthusiastic and critical readers of narratives, poetry and plays as well as non-fiction and media texts. It is with the knowledge of each of these text types that students begin to form their own ideas and opinions and listen to the views of others with respect and consideration.

All of our English teaching rooms have access to an interactive whiteboard linked to the web. Adhering to all students’ learning styles is of great importance in ensuring a rich and diverse literacy lesson. Competence, creativity, critical understanding and cultural understanding are the four pillars to a successful literacy curriculum. At James Bateman Middle School, our English Team uses these four main concepts to provide an exciting, enriching and inspiring programme of study.

Which authors will be studied?

The literature studied at James Bateman Middle School reflects the experiences of people from different countries, cultures and eras. During the four years each of our students spends with us, they will have the opportunity to delve into the work of authors such as: Brian Selznick, Michael Morpurgo, R. J. Palacio and William Shakespeare.

Click here for a list of texts we study over the four years. Please try to ensure your child / children avoid/s reading these texts before they are studied in class if at all possible.

How are children who have a gift for language challenged?

If your child is noted as being particularly gifted in English, then they will be entered into our gifted and talented programme. This offers students reward and incentive days, such as our latest outing to the New Victoria Theatre to explore behind the scenes practice and professions within the theatre. We also offer these students the chance to work with students in the High School; this offers them further challenge and inspiration for year 9 and beyond.

How will my child be supported if they have an additional need?

The English department works closely with the Special Educational Needs department. Where appropriate, specific programmes of study are created for students who need assistance accessing the literacy curriculum. Our dedicated teaching assistants lead a variety of interventions, including one-to-one support programmes, small group catch ups and guided reading, as well as many more. It is the job of each member of staff to continually challenge and support every single one of our students, regardless of their ability. Our focus is to ensure every single student strives to attain more than expected and become determined, enthusiastic and inquiring young learners.

How do we improve literacy across the curriculum in school?

As the Government consistently place greater emphasis on the importance of embedding literacy across the curriculum, we continually improve and review the opportunities we provide our young people with, to ensure the best possible progression in whole school literacy. Our vibrant displays showcase the capabilities of our students and the effort they place into their literacy lessons.

As a whole school, we wanted to create a dynamic, thriving and lasting reading community. With access to modern facilities to support our reading, our results prove how much of an improvement we have made. Thanks to the hard work of our students, parents and staff, we can now confidently say we are a reading school. We do not just enjoy reading; we love reading. We are so proud of our community: thank you!

It is our continued aim to see all our students reading both in and out of school for enjoyment and pleasure. The countless prizes and incentives we offer have and continue to ensure all of our students develop the reading buzz!

How will my child be taught in years 5, 6, 7 and 8?

Years 5 and 6 are taught in a primary format, in a mixed-ability setting, by their own class teacher. Each term has a different theme and all learning that term is based around the central theme. All Key Stage 2 classes are also blessed with a full time TA to ensure support for all students. Years 7 and 8 are taught in ability groupings, by a subject specialist, in all core subjects and Modern Foreign Languages. This ensures that they are adequately prepared for the streaming sets in the High School. Although set by ability, the groups are still thoroughly differentiated to challenge each and every single student in the room. Within foundation subjects, years 7 and 8 are taught in a mixed-ability setting.

Please feel free to download our brief thematic curriculum overview; this will enable you to see what your child is covering in literacy and when. In order to really challenge your child, use the plan to help select a text with a similar theme to read at home together. Alternatively, merely talking to them about their next project can be very rewarding for the child, opening their mind up to possible questions that they want to bring to the classroom.

How can I support my child with their reading?

With plenty of engaging and stimulating books in the library, your child can access these at any time and bring them home to share with you. The students know how to select a book which matches their ZPD level; this is a colour that relates to their assessed reading age. Their colour will enable them to select a book which matches their ability. Please have a look in your child’s planner to look at their reading target for the year. Each child’s writing targets are in their English book, which can be taken home at any time if you wish to have a look.

Please take a look at our detailed ‘How to help’ information HERE!

What is this year’s reading reward?

Each year, we like to add an element of the unexpected to the reading rewards. Last year, the event ‘Battle of the Bands’ was held on site where we invited numerous bands and stalls to reward our students with for the afternoon. Watch this space for summer 2020…

Battle of the Bands 2019

Coming soon…

Batefest 2018

‘Batefest’ 2018 video!

Thank you so much for your continued support; it really very much appreciated.

Mrs H. Hawthorne Head of English

James Bateman Middle School