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National Curriculum reform: KS3 English


  • It is surprisingly short in comparison to both the current programme of study (PoS) and also the draft PoS for English at primary level. Far less detailrecommendationsprescription than both.
  • The current PoS is structured around four areas: key concepts; key processes; range and content; and curriculum opportunities. In contrast, the new PoS appears to be trying to make the subject of English knowledge-based - and, in particular, based on knowledge of grammar and vocabulary.
  • No reference to assessmentattainment targets.
  • In the current PoS: "Pupils should be able to" whereas in the new draft PoS: "Pupils should be taught".
  • Repetition of "challenging" or "increasingly challenging".
  • Not compulsory for academies and free schools.
    • Main changes in three curriculum areas:

      • What is currently called "Speaking and listening" has been replaced with "Spoken English" in the draft PoS. "Listening" is no longer featured and instead there is an emphasis on presenting, recitation, debating, performing. (I was anticipating a larger focus on speaking and listening in the new PoS so this comes as a shock to me.)
      • Reading. Still a focus on literature over non-fiction. (No non-fiction text types suggested at all.) Sense of a curriculum that's more "English" in terms of content. One play by Shakespeare is still compulsory over the key stage. However, it is now expected that students will study "two authors in depth each year".
      • Writing. Increased focus on non-fictionfunctional skillsformal types of writing over creative writing, and a greater emphasis on planning, drafting, editing, proofing.
        • And the big change:

          • There is a new, fourth area: "Grammar and vocabulary". As presented, it appears to have equal weighting with the other three areas. (Currently, aspects of SPaG less prominent within the PoS.)
          • In addition, "Grammar and vocabulary" also feature quite significantly within the other curriculum areas of "Reading", "Writing" and "Spoken English".
          • As with the current PoS, students will still study "other varieties of language" but now the focus is on "using standard English confidently".
          • Applying" and "extending" SPaG knowledge from primary PoS.

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