English throughout all Key Stages at St Dominic’s School is seen as underpinning the entire curriculum and is vital in terms of empowering the pupils and therefore preparing them for adulthood. The English department, which comprises appropriately qualified teachers and Special Support Assistants, considers the teaching and learning process to be a collaborative one. Regular planning and assessment meetings with departmental staff, which includes the Special Educational Needs Coordinator, Speech and Language and Occupational Therapists ensure that the complex needs of the pupils are met. All three attainment targets: Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing are therefore made accessible for each child.
Each lesson is differentiated to meet the needs of the pupils, either through outcome or specifically designed programmes of study which take into account the pupils’ individual needs and cognitive ability. The multi-sensory approach to learning, which includes visits to places of interest, is used, and caters for different learning styles.
In addition to this, access to interactive whiteboards and the use of ICT and Drama within lessons reinforces and enhances the teaching and learning in class. Additional support is provided on a weekly basis for those pupils with particular areas of weakness. These may include spelling, reading or writing.
English is viewed as a developmental process whereby previously learnt skills are reinforced and extended every year. At the end of Key Stage Four, therefore, the pupils either gain an Entry Level qualification in English, a GCSE qualification or both.
As a result of the enthusiastic teaching carried out by the staff in the department, pupils at St Dominic’s not only make sound progress but also enjoy the interesting and creative approach to English.