Welcome to our Parent Newsletter. The aim of this is to reflect our students’ journeys once they enter the school gates and how their curriculum reflects our Academy intent pillars of Ambition, Enrichment and Success.
Curriculum Spotlight on Modern Languages
Within the curriculum spotlight strand we wish to open the door to the classroom so parents can understand how it feels to be a learner at Carlton le Willows and engage with their child’s learning. This term Miss Ross, Head of Modern Languages, would like you to know more about what happens in our language classrooms.
In the Department of Modern Languages, we champion diversity and teach pupils to be tolerant, unprejudiced global citizens, which supports the government’s drive on British Values. With this in mind, we are aware that, alongside learning a language, it is incredibly important to learn about the culture and traditions of other countries and of people from across the world. In Modern Language lessons, we focus on incorporating culture wherever possible. Due to the cultural content of our lessons, we have been working with the University of Nottingham to share ideas across the East Midlands and encourage Modern Language departments in other schools to consider the cultural aspect of their curriculum.
Having a Foreign Language Assistant working with our pupils allows daily access to a different culture, enhancing pupils’ language learning experience. This year, we have welcomed Karine Huang, who is from French-speaking Quebec in Canada. Not only does Karine work with pupils in French lessons, boosting their confidence in speaking, writing and comprehension, she also provides a cultural insight into everyday life in Quebec, as well as celebrations such as Christmas and Easter in Quebec. Karine also runs a weekly French club, in which she has taught pupils about the cuisine of Quebec (including pupils making some
delicious pain doré, as seen in the Gallery of Excellence), as well as doing a wide variety of francophone activities.
The Importance of Reading Regularly
At Carlton le Willows we are committed to ensuring that everyone reaches their potential; an essential element of this is ensuring we foster confident readers. Unfortunately, the school closures during the pandemic have meant that some students’ reading skills are not as developed as we would normally expect. As reading is such an important skill and central to our students’ success, we want to make sure that all students are able to read accurately and at a sufficient pace in order to access the secondary school curriculum.
Those who read too slowly or struggle to read unfamiliar words make insufficient progress at school. In the March edition of the newsletter, we shared the importance of understanding ‘tier two vocabulary’. These are the unfamiliar words that drive their learning across the curriculum: words such as catalyst, homogeneity, functional, imperative, geopolitical, effervescent, and egregious. It is their ability to read familiar words automatically that will allow them to draw the meaning from the page.
Many of you will be familiar with phonics from your child’s time at primary school. However, using phonics to improve reading skills is just as effective for older students too. Fresh Start is a systematic synthetic phonics programme for older readers who are struggling. It teaches them to read unfamiliar words accurately and therefore read texts with understanding.
Direct teaching underpins Fresh Start. Every day, students learn new letter-sounds and review previous sounds and words. They apply what they have been taught by reading words containing the sounds they know in lively, age-appropriate stories and non-fiction texts that are closely matched to their increasing phonic knowledge. By the end of the programme, they will be able to read these accurately and fluently.
We are assessing all students who have a reading age that is below their chronological age to see whether this programme is the best fit for their reading intervention and sessions are being delivered by subject specialists with the appropriate training.
Gallery of Excellence highlighting student work
This month we are really proud to be share some absolutely amazing work from our students.
In Geography students in Miss Orme’s class have been looking at Rainforests in year 7, and Tundra biomes and the Exxon Valdez oil spill in year 9.
In Drama, students in year 7 have been designing costumes for The Witches in Macbeth. Year 10 students have written reflections on the Two Live Theatre production of Noughts and Crosses that they watched recently.
In French, students have completed work on ‘La Forêt Enchantée’
In Art, Mrs Kyle’s year 7 class have created some stunning mixed media insects.