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From author visits to character costumes and creative writing, Juniors English aims to instil a love of reading from an early age. Mrs S Burt, Year 6 Form Tutor and KS2 English lead, tells us more.
How long have you been teaching English at Blackheath High School?
I have been teaching at Blackheath High School for three years and this is my second year leading KS2 English. Since joining, I have taught Year 3 and English to Year 5 and 6. I am also a Year 6 Form Tutor. Prior to joining Blackheath High School, I worked in a school in Islington where I taught Year 4, Year 2 and was the Science Coordinator. Outside of school, I am currently studying for my Masters degree in Education at King’s College, London.
What is covered in English at Junior School?
At Juniors, we cover a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry units. Examining and analysing texts is at the heart of our teaching and learning, and this provides the girls with fantastic stimulating ideas for their own writing. Most recently, KS2 have been learning about poetry. In Year 5, the girls wrote their own poetry based on ‘The Highwayman’ by Alfred Noyes. It was wonderful to see the girls getting so excited about their learning and the poems they produced were excellent. Some girls even made their own movie - parents can take a look at these on Firefly!
Would you say that English is a popular subject at Juniors?
Absolutely! The girls particularly enjoy visiting authors. Recently, Abi Elphinstone (author of 'Sky Song') gave an inspiring talk to the girls about the writing process. Her key messages were to always have adventures and to find inspiration everywhere. It was particularly interesting for the girls to hear about her success despite having dyslexia and experiencing over 90 rejections from publishers. Her visit has since promoted a new online book club aimed for KS2 to discuss books and recommend reads for others to enjoy. Our book for this half term’s read is Abi’s book, 'Sky Song'.
What are the benefits of studying this subject?
Studying English is an integral part to success later in life. I particularly enjoy the variety the subject brings as the strands include reading, writing and communication skills. We aim to instill a love of reading from an early age which stimulates creative writing. Throughout the year, we also have opportunities to promote public speaking such as the Poetry Competition, the Greenman Competition, class assemblies and the Year 5/6 production.
What are the benefits of studying English at Blackheath High School?
At Blackheath High School, we are lucky to have a fantastic, well stocked library as well as book areas in each class. Girls in KS2 also visit the theatre to experience English outside the classroom. Our most recent visit was with Year 5 to see 'Othello' at the Unicorn Theatre.
Additionally, Mrs Chandler (Head of English at Seniors) and I work together to provide excellent teaching experiences for girls throughout the school.
Is there a particular aspect of the course that students tend to enjoy?
As well as all the wonderful learning in class, a particular highlight of the year is Book Week. Next week, we have three different authors visiting girls from Nursery to Year 6. I am looking forward to seeing the ‘Book in the box’ creations as well as the character costumes!