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Ark Curriculum Plus

Castleford Academy, first to be awarded ‘Outstanding’ under the new framework experiences a deep dive in English

Castleford Academy, Wakefield

Age Range

We spoke to their Headteacher George Panayiotou about how the school came to join English Mastery and how it’s supported their students and teachers.

We joined English Mastery in September 2019, after I heard about it at a PiXL Conference earlier in the year. It’s having a positive impact on teacher workload and closing the word gap for our students and we’re really keen on the principles and values behind English Mastery.

Before joining English Mastery, our schemes of work for key stage three English were skills-based and focused on preparing students for their GCSEs. With the new Ofsted framework coming in, English Mastery’s focus on curriculum provision allowed us to think carefully about our curriculum’s intent and build on what our students needed.

English Mastery’s four pillars – a knowledge-rich curriculum, dedicated grammar strand, explicit instruction of vocabulary and the integrated assessment model – were what we needed. It’s helped students to establish a foundation of good reading and writing skills, add to their cultural capital and give them solid contextual knowledge, which they can build on in future years in English and other subjects. It’s supported our pedagogy in moving towards a knowledge-rich, interleaved curriculum.

The training and clear curriculum materials ensured we knew exactly what we were getting with English Mastery and why we were doing it, which strengthened buy-in from our staff. It’s also been fantastic to see teachers moving away from spending their time creating lots of resources and focusing on developing their pedagogical understanding and using this to meet the needs of their students. I’m very excited to see how we continue to develop as a school with English Mastery.

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