English is a subject which encompasses many skills: reading, writing, grammatical understanding, spelling and communication. In addition to this, it’s a very unique subject because it spans all curriculum areas. As well as explicit English lessons being taught, Literacy across the Curriculum (LITAC) is a high priority at HMS and therefore all lessons incorporate and actively teach English skills. We hope to deliver a varied and vibrant English curriculum which will allow our pupils to develop their skills through well-planned novel-based learning which allows for reading, writing and SPAG to be applied and mastered. Pupils are encouraged to read widely both in and outside of lessons and the school’s two extensive libraries provide reading material suitable for all abilities.

Click the links below to jump to a particular Year Group:

Mrs Roff, Curriculum Leader for English, has prepared recommended reading lists for Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 pupils:

Reading List for Key Stage 2

Reading List for Key Stage 2 - higher reading ability

Reading List for Key Stage 3

Reading Challenge 2016 - HMS pupils (and some of the teachers!) are embracing a challenge for 2016 whereby they're going to aim to read a variety of books which meet the listed criteria.

Hexham Middle School also has Year 8 English Leaders who help other pupils with their reading and writing skills. 

Should you wish to know more about the curriculum followed at HMS please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Your query will be passed to the relevant Curriculum Leader and we will endeavour to respond within 5 working days.

 

Literacy Across the Curriculum (LITAC)

Following a review of literacy across the curriculum, a new policy has been put in place and a new system set up in order to ensure consistency in the delivery of LITAC across the school.

Staff have come together to decide upon a series of ‘non-negotiable’ common errors which are to be picked up on across all subjects in all lessons. Pupils have been given a handy bookmark which is stored in their planner as a reminder of what these non-negotiables are. By placing the letters ‘NN’ next to an error, it is hoped that children will be able to independently correct it and therefore avoid making the same mistake twice! The non-negotiables are also displayed in every classroom and are:

  • All work uses the correct writing implement and rulers are used when needed.
  • Capital letters are to be used to begin all sentences and for all proper nouns.
  • Handwriting to be neat, legible and joined wherever possible.
  • Work should be in full sentences and in maths you should explain your reasoning/show your working.
  • There is a word for pointing at things (the boy is over there). If you want to show something belongs, it's theirs.
  • Wear is for clothing, where refers to a place and were is a verb in the past tense (we were on a roll!) We're is a contraction of we are.
  • Apostrophes only have two jobs - they show that a letter is missing or they show possession (Hannah's bag is blue). They don't make plurals.

As well as the use of the non-negotiables, pupils are being encouraged to refer to three ‘Buzzwords’ per lesson. Teachers will display these alongside the learning objective and encourage the correct spelling of these key words throughout the lesson’s work. It is hoped that this whole-school focus on subject-specific vocabulary will further develop pupils’ spelling.

The full policy is available here: Literacy Across the Curriculum Policy 

 

 

Year 5

Autumn Term

Non-fiction then Modern Fiction

Titanic – Pupils will spend their first half term at HMS studying the infamous HMS Titanic which tragically sank on its maiden voyage in 1912. The short module will provide opportunities for independent research, study of non-fiction texts and culminate in two pieces of creative writing: one fiction and one non-fiction based on historical fact.

Holes - Following a non-fiction module, the children will be introduced to the novel Holes by Louis Sachar which they will read until February. Set in America, this novel will encourage discussion based on the importance of setting and also building characters based on their back-story and family history. Pupils will have countless opportunities to practise their reading comprehension skills as well as produce many pieces of creative writing.

Tasks include: a performance of a persuasive advert, writing a formal letter, descriptive writing based on settings, a newspaper article and creative writing opportunities based on characters and settings in the novel.

Ongoing teacher assessments will determine if the pupils writing skills are deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the Year Five curriculum at this stage. A formal reading assessment at the end of November will also determine if the pupils’ reading comprehension is deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the year five curriculum at this point in the term and will back up ongoing teacher assessments.

Spring Term

Modern Fiction and Poetry

Holes - The children will begin the new year completing the novel Holes, allowing them to compare the book with the film and writing a detailed book review. 

The Highwayman - Pupils will then complete a study of this popular poem by Alfred Noyes. They will learn about language change as well as figurative language including similes and metaphors used to build atmosphere and describe characters. In addition, they'll have a go at writing their own stanzas in the style of Alfred Noyes.

Ongoing teacher assessments will determine if the pupils writing skills are deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the Year Five curriculum at this stage. A formal reading assessment in March will also determine if the pupils’ reading comprehension is deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the year five curriculum at this point in the term and will back up ongoing teacher assessments.

Summer Term

Classic Fiction

The Railway Children - Pupils will study this popular example of classic fiction by the acclaimed author E Nesbit. in the Summer Term in order to build on their existing comprehension skills and to provide many more exciting opportunities for extended writing and cross-curricular links with other subjects.

Tasks include: writing a letter in character, a detailed character analysis, research and presentation on life during the Victorian times, appreciation of a variety of poetry related to the storyline and writing a biography of an author. 

Ongoing teacher assessments will determine if the pupils writing skills are deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the Year Five curriculum at this stage. A formal reading assessment in July will also determine if the pupils’ reading comprehension is deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the year five curriculum at this point in the term and will back up ongoing teacher assessments.

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Year 6

Autumn Term

Modern Fiction (including older literature, non-fiction and creative writing)

Kingdom by the Sea – Included in this topic the pupils will study Kingdom by the Sea by Robert Westall, complemented by extracts from texts such as the diary of Anne Frank, Carrie’s War, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and Churchill’s speeches.

Within the module, pupils will: study characters from the novel in detail; compare their favourite meals to those served during the time of rationing; study the life of a soldier and discuss propaganda.

Tasks include creating a propaganda poster, writing in role as an evacuee, creating diary entries, character profiling and writing then performing persuasive speeches. Included in this topic, children will have the opportunity to evaluate the book, write a review and will learn about other Robert Westall novels.

Ongoing teacher assessments will determine if the pupils writing skills are deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the Year Six curriculum at this stage. A formal reading assessment at the end of November will also determine if the pupils’ reading comprehension is deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the year six curriculum at this point in the term and will back up ongoing teacher assessments.

Spring Term

Classic Literature

During the second term of year six, pupils will study various extracts from classic literature such as Great Expectations, Frankenstein, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Oliver Twist, and Peter Pan

Within the module, pupils will be exposed to the complex language and interesting vocabulary choices present in these novels. They'll develop their own vocabulary as a result and will learn to apply this in their own creative writing, inspired by characters and settings studied.

Tasks include illustrating a scene and annotating using quotes from a descriptive paragraph, creating a character description and analysis, writing a formal or informal letter, acting in role as characters from classic literature and creating our own narratives inspired by characters and settings encountered.

Included in this term will be an opportunity for parents to visit school to learn more about the SATS process in preparation for the tests in May. Revision materials will be circulated and regular updates on pupil progress and areas for further development will be provided.

Ongoing teacher assessments will determine if the pupils writing skills are deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the Year Six curriculum at this stage. A formal reading assessment in March will also determine if the pupils’ reading comprehension is deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the year six curriculum at this point in the term and will back up ongoing teacher assessments.

Summer Term

'Apollo 13' non-fiction topic

The first few weeks of the term will concentrate on reading comprehension and SPAG practice ready for the SATs in May.

An exciting non-fiction topic on Apollo 13 will follow, allowing the pupils to practice their non-fiction comprehension, research and writing skills. Pupils will be given the opportunity to view sections of the film adaptation and use this to inspire their written work. Tasks include: writing a balanced argument; debating the successes and failures of the mission; descriptive writing; writing in role as an astronaut and writing a short story inspired by the events of Apollo 13.

Ongoing teacher assessments will determine if the pupils writing skills are deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the Year Six curriculum at this stage. Written work will be moderated both internally and externally in order to ensure secure judgements. The pupils’ SATS assessments in Reading and SPAG in May will also determine if the pupils’ reading comprehension is deemed as at, below or above age-related expectations.

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Year 7

Autumn Term

Seminal world literature. Pre-1914 English Literature, including prose, poetry and drama.

Included in this topic (dependent on the child’s English set) are: the Ballads of Charlotte Dymond and Lady Diamond; the studying of Chaucer and his influence on literature; a review of local songs and ballads including those by Geordie Ridley; and reading extracts from Sherlock Holmes.

Within the module, pupils will study poetic form, understand how a writer uses figurative language for effect and will select and retrieve information from a poem. They will also understand language change over time.

Tasks include continuing a ballad studied or creating a ballad of their own, dramatic performances of sections of ballads and writing a narrative linked to a specific ballad. They will also learn poetry by heart, modernise sections of older literature, use deduction techniques to understand unfamiliar words and phrases and experience lots of opportunities for drama and role play.

Ongoing teacher assessments will determine if the pupils writing skills are deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the Year Seven curriculum at this stage. 

Spring Term

Modern Fiction

Over the course of the spring term, the pupils (dependent on their English set) will study a novel differentiated to their ability. This will be either: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Millions or The Midnight Fox.

Within the module, pupils will be given opportunities to read in groups, pairs or individually from the class novel, perform role play or hot-seating activities and write in a variety of different genres.

Tasks include: writing in role as characters, studying character profiles, continuing narratives based on events in the novel and participating in role play/drama activities.

Ongoing teacher assessments will determine if the pupils writing skills are deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the Year Seven curriculum at this stage. 

Summer Term

Pre-1914 literature, seminal world literature; Shakespeare – an overview 

Pupils will, this term, study the world of Shakespeare. We will begin by establishing who he was and why his influences on English literature and language are still prevalent today. Pupils will research Shakespearean London and create a non-fiction report about the life and times of Shakespeare.

Following this, they’ll learn about his most well-known plays, his most famous characters and his infamous lines and scenes. Pupils will have the opportunity to act out scenes and will read and understand extracts from various plays.

Tasks include: a non-chronological report on Shakespearean London, a biography of William Shakespeare, a performance of a section of a play, a character profile and an understanding of Shakespearean language which has influenced modern English.

Ongoing teacher assessments will determine if the pupils writing skills are deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the Year Seven curriculum at this stage.

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Year 8

Autumn Term

Contemporary English literature including prose, poetry and drama.

Conflict – Pupils will be introduced to the events of 9/11. They will study a timeline of the events of the day in detail before studying poetry inspired by the tragedy including ‘Out of the Blue’ by Simon Armitage.

Within this month-long module, they will: understand the significance of the event in modern history; empathise with people affected by the terrorist attack; use drama and role-play as a means of portraying the emotion involved.

Tasks include: writing a newspaper article depicting the events, writing a first person recount of the day and creating a poem inspired by what they’ve learned about 9/11.

War Horse – following on with the theme of ‘conflict’ the pupils will then study poetry inspired by WW1 in time for Remembrance Day. They will complete a detailed analysis of at least one poem, before studying a novel (War Horse by Michael Morpurgo).

Within this module they will develop their understanding of the First World War and take inspiration from literature and poetry to create their own first-hand recounts and emotive descriptions using figurative language.

Tasks include: writing an essay on one, or a comparative essay on two war poems, a character analysis on Farmer Narracott (War Horse) and a writing trench diary.

Ongoing teacher assessments will determine if the pupils writing skills are deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the Year Eight curriculum at this stage. 

Spring Term

Modern Fiction

Bumface – Over the course of the Spring term, pupils will study this popular and very amusing Moris Gleitzman novel which delves in to the life of a teenager and deals with issues surrounding growing up in the 21st Century.

Within this module, pupils will be taught an appreciation of a variety of other modern fiction, complemented by weekly visits to the school’s extensive library.

Tasks include: Researching and writing a discussion text on arranged marriage, debating this issue, creating character profiles and writing in role, continuing a narrative in the style of the author, and writing a formal letter from one character to another.

Ongoing teacher assessments will determine if the pupils writing skills are deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the Year Eight curriculum at this stage.

Summer Term

Pre-1914 Literature, seminal world literature, Shakespeare, transition unit with QEHS.

During the summer term, pupils at HMS will build upon their existing knowledge of Shakespeare by studying one of his plays in more detail (Romeo and Juliet or Macbeth, dependent on English set.) They’ll learn to read and understand the language used in his plays, developing their existing vocabulary. The pupils will have the opportunity to act out scenes from the play studied and will learn extracts off-by-heart for performance.

Within this module, pupils will compare and contrast characters, write about key scenes in the plays and discuss language change over time. They’ll perform key scenes and develop their acting skills.

Following this, the pupils will be visited by staff from QEHS’s English department who will introduce a transition module centred around poetry. For the final half term, pupils will study key poems and begin working in their High School English book.

Ongoing teacher assessments will determine if the pupils writing skills are deemed as Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastering the Year Eight curriculum at this stage. 

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