Language is the key building block of culture and social interaction. At QCPS, we aim to ignite a love for English language and literature by promoting an exciting and effective curriculum, equipping our pupils with the essential language skills they need to communicate successfully and creatively. We encourage a lifelong passion for reading in all the girls at QCPS and instill in them an ability to engage with, question and challenge any text that they encounter. Inspiring creative writers is at the heart of the QCPS English ethos.
We have a creative, theme-based curriculum in Reception and Form I, where cross-curricular links are made at every opportunity. From Form II to VI, the curriculum ensures the pupils access a variety of text types and have the opportunity to write in many different styles. From narrative to newspapers, discursive to descriptive, all pupils will master a range of skills within these genres.
The English syllabus at QCPS is drawn from the National Curriculum. In Pre-Prep, English lessons include guided reading, phonics, writing, speaking and listening, role-play and drama. To help our girls develop phonic and spelling knowledge in the most comprehensive way, we follow the Letters and Sounds Programme throughout Pre-Prep and into Prep, if appropriate. The programme focuses on teaching sounds and the letters that represent them. This skill is essential for children to read and spell words accurately. All children from Reception to Form II have dedicated daily phonics lessons.
In Pre-Prep, pupils develop an understanding of language through a creative, balanced and engaging approach to reading, writing, speaking and listening. A range of text types are explored, such as stories, information texts and poetry. Through a topic-based approach, children are engaged and motivated to become confident and fluent early readers and writers. Our role-play areas are inspiring and meaningful, giving our pupils a learning environment which encourages and develops their oral and written language skills.
Our approach to teaching reading integrates both decoding and comprehension skills. Pupils have access to a wide range of high-quality fiction and non-fiction texts and picture books.
There are plenty of opportunities for modelled, shared and independent writing. Transcription skills are explicitly taught through a comprehensive phonics-based approach. Pupils in Pre-Prep will also begin to use strategies for planning and monitoring their writing.
In Prep, the girls are exposed to a wide variety of engaging and stimulating texts. These books range from historical fiction to journalistic writing, adventure stories to myths and legends. An array of reading and writing opportunities are planned across the year, based on these texts. Extended writing and comprehension feature weekly to ensure these skills are embedded and built upon as the girls progress through the school. In addition to text based units, the girls have the chance to respond to visual literacy, in the form of short films, animations and music videos. Discursive and persuasive writing also form an integral part of the Prep syllabus. Our aim is to ensure that all girls are confident in articulating themselves and are able to form and express clear opinions. This is in the spoken and written form.
Alongside this rich and creative curriculum, the girls are well prepared for the 11+ and North London Consortium exams.
Teaching and Learning
The department seeks to employ a full range of learning styles, catering for all educational needs. Drama workshops which cross over into history, trips to the theatre, author visits and Public Speaking Week are just some of the many ways in which QCPS seek to enrich the curriculum and inspire the girls.
The girls will carry the many skills learnt in English at QCPS forward. They learn, amongst many things: how to draw inferences; to predict; to summarise, discuss and evaluate; to reason and use evidence; to make ambitious choices of language; to proof read; to draft and edit; to write creatively and fluently; to engage a reader. These skills will prepare them to be confident and competent readers, writers, speakers and listeners.
Miss L. Bain
Head of English