English and Literacy


The overriding aim of the English Department at Wishmore Cross Academy is to enable pupils to develop their communication skills to their full potential. English is both a spoken and written medium, this means the development of skills in speaking, listening as well as reading and writing. Our aim is that all pupils will leave Wishmore Cross Academy with confidence in all these areas and the assurance to transfer these skills in to lives beyond school.

Our Aims

  • To develop pupils’ abilities to communicate effectively in speech and language.
  • To develop pupils’ understanding of the spoken and written language so that they become enthusiastic, responsive and knowledgeable speakers, readers and writers.
  • To develop pupils’ listening skills essential to communicating effectively in a range of situations.
  • To help pupils understand how language enables them to experience and appreciate their world and the realms of the imagination through all media.
  • To help pupils understand the part language plays in enabling them to express their ideas, feelings and experiences, and those of others.
  • To help pupils understand the function and importance of Standard English.
  • To ensure pupils leave the Academy with a nationally recognised qualification in English, indicating they have achieved at least the minimum standard of literacy required to access further education and training, employment and the rigours of adult life.

About Our Subject

KS3 (Years 7, 8 and 9)

  • One of our main focus in Key Stage 3 is to allow pupils to develop an interest and passion for reading both for pleasure and purpose. We aim to help pupils who struggle with reading through a structured Literacy programme that is devised for each individual’s needs. We are also currently investigating the role of electronic readers, like the Kindle, and the part they will play in our developing literacy programme. We have an extensive range of material in our library, investing in new stocks each year to keep up with the changing tastes of our young people. We also listen to what interests our young people have and aim to provide reading material on those interests.
  • Part of our plan is to encourage every pupil to take home their own book, valuing books and building a love of reading.
  • Films, radio and television programmes, internet and New Media resources and personal experience are discussed as part of the course. Pupils come to learn that reading is no longer restricted to text in books.
  • We make regular use of computers, laptops and Alphasmarts to improve motor skills and extend opportunities for the development and reflection of ideas, such as designing, outlining and restructuring. This also gives pupils the opportunity to access information via the internet. We use interactive whiteboards in each classroom which promote interactivity and engaging lesson opportunities for all pupils.

KS4 (Year 10 and 11)

  • In Key Stage 4 we offer both Functional Skills and iGCSE English. Functional Skills are practical skills in English that allow individuals to work confidently, effectively and independently in life. They help make sense of daily life: working out travel timetables, writing an application letter, surfing the internet seeking a recipe or reading the instructions to flat-pack furniture all require these skills. Functional Skills qualifications in English can be taken alongside GCSE and Apprenticeships, as well as being available as standalone qualifications. All pupils are expected to complete both qualification courses. Over the past two years we have had growing success with the IGCSE course which is usually taken at the end of Year 11, after two years of developing skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Both assessments are recognised qualifications for entry to college and apprenticeships.

Examination and Assessment Boards for Key Stage 4

  • iGCSE - Cambridge
  • Functional Skills – Edexcel

Individualised Programmes

We recognise that many pupils arriving at Wishmore Cross Academy have experienced significant disruption to their education. All pupils are assessed on arrival and an individual plan put into place to address their literacy needs. We have an active intervention programme run by specialist tutors, which allows many pupils to receive one-to-one tuition to support, develop and extend their skills. This usually takes place in the academy, as part of their weekly time table.

Pupil Tracking

Whole Academy initiatives, such as on-line tracking and the use of assessment files, in addition to our specific subject records and assessments, are now in place. Over the past year we have become conscious of the greater need to store evidence to effectively inform future learning needs and, therefore, teacher planning. While these are still very new projects, they are already proving valuable tools to identify more specific needs and help us address these via the extra tuition.

All pupils are assessed every half term and then informed of their progress in order to discuss new targets for learning. This information is available on parent partnership days and will be sent out to parents in a termly update. We are more than happy to discuss your son's progress at any time. Please contact us to arrange a meeting.

Pupil Achievement

As settled classrooms, the English rooms provide a very positive learning environment, which the pupils both respect and enjoy. The consistent high expectations and habits established over a number of years allow all pupils to access their learning and enjoy achievement. The use of outside agencies to support assessment, primarily in Speaking and Listening, has also been an undisputed success. Consequently we are seeing a significant rise in pupil achievement and the resulting accreditation.

Extra Curricular

We have a number of visitors in the Academy throughout the year, take part in national competitions and activity days and are developing the use of new technologies to enrich the pupils learning. Literacy is the key which unlocks so much of the Academy curriculum, and the life opportunities that follow, thus we aim to ensure our pupils have the highest possible quality experience to aid their learning, development and enjoyment.