Teaching & Learning: Faculty in Focus: English

Mrs Parker is the Head of Faculty of Languages at St Peter’s. She has radically overhauled the English curriculum over the past five years and was instrumental in implementing our current curriculum and assessment procedures. She is an inspirational practitioner and forever looking to develop and enthuse her department in imaginative ways.

She is currently ‘researching’ future English texts, as she and her husband, Mr Rob Parker, dive their way around exotic corners of the world. When we heard the sabbatical was going ahead – staff took a deep breath and held a gasp – both in excitement for them and sorrow for us. Mrs Parker runs the Languages Department with an iron rod and a sweet smile. She has the highest expectations of the teachers and pupils and we wondered how we would we manage the curriculum in her absence. (Nobody panic – both Mr and Mrs Parker are soon to return to the St Peter’s fold).

Here is the Faculty Vision Statement for Languages:

Core Academic Languages

Innovative, exciting, inspiring.


Developing learners with enthusiasm for language that enables free thinking, critical appreciation and expression of thought without inhibition.

Language has a preeminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in Core Academic Languages will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others. By developing reading and listening skills a high-quality education in English and MFL will enable others to communicate and engage with pupils effectively. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development and this is an aspect of the curriculum that is developed through access to a wide range of multicultural and purposeful texts in both print and media. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society and this is something that is developed and supported at St. Peter’s from Nursery level.

At St. Peter’s the nature of the Core Academic Languages curriculum is to allow pupils the opportunity to engage with their own worlds by allowing them to fully access their individual abilities to articulate their thoughts, feelings and perspectives on what they see around them and how they feel. This articulation will be encouraged through spoken and written English, French and Spanish. All children at St. Peter’s will be given the opportunity and encouragement to achieve and exceed their individual targets through the provision of high-quality teaching, personalised learning, access to age-appropriate libraries and ICT resources this will be supported through a thorough and robust provision of enrichment opportunities.

Here are some of our other talented English teachers who work tirelessly on Faculty developments, events and resourcing:

Mrs. Sue Perry

Mr. Godwin-Brown

Mrs. Claire Small

Mrs. Lucy Davies


Mrs. Margaret Whitlock (also been a huge support to National Storytelling Week)

And Mrs. Bruce-Jones – whose work on the St Peter’s My Reading Journey is community renowned – her dedication to early reading skills is relentless. This is a woman who means business and is really ‘making a difference’ in the way we approach the teaching of reading. Phenomenal results indicated towards this initiative already


And on to the driving force of our National Storytelling Week…Mrs. Joanne Howard.

After several years as an English subject leader, Mrs. Howard enjoyed working as a Literacy consultant supporting London primary schools whilst completing a MA in Literacy Difficulties and Literacy Learning at the University of London. When she moved back to Devon to raise her children, she started working as a freelance writer for the National Literacy Trust and joined us in the Learning Success department. Her published work has included writing a government-funded intervention to accelerate vocabulary development in 2-year-olds which is being rolled out nationally to nursery settings. It has been coined by the staff using it as “an evidence-based stay and play” which Mrs. Howard is rather pleased with! She has also loved writing Early Years resources for the CBeebies Magazines and most recently written the official teaching resources for the World Book Day charity, which will be used by schools across the country. Mrs. Howard is passionate about reading for enjoyment and is as happy debating evidence of foreboding with Year 8, as she is searching for the Gruffalo in the forest school with Year 1! Her week could well involve this after the Easter break!!
I somehow think Mrs. Parker can keep on ‘researching’ those exciting new texts for a little bit longer. She can certainly relax whilst on her travels because; English teaching and learning is in safe hands here. We cannot wait for her return and to find out what wild learning opportunities she has come up with during her year of exploring.

And to end this fine week of the ancient art of storytelling – it has been magical.

Pens Down Day was a great highlight for me – especially as I ‘covered’ for an impressive Year 7 Science class. It gave me great pleasure to receive complaints from some of the Year 7’s who had been asked to use a pen twice throughout their morning … this was to write in a learning objective and record a bonus. I think we will afford those poor teachers that!

My response I thought you might enjoy:

1st = I listened to them – so that I had really heard the pupil voice.
2nd = Then I played imaginary sad music on the smallest imaginary violin I could muster.
3rd = I interrupted the pupils’ complaints and I impressed upon them the urgency of the cover lessons learning.

As a group of scientists, you have been asked to identify the best renewable energy options for village communities on Moja Island.

They couldn’t resist eventually dropping the moans about being asked to use a pen. Even the cover work at St Peter’s is demanding of our children. The Year 7’s mature, developed and honed learning skills are a joy to watch first hand and an important feature in keeping inevitable cover work purposeful and engaging.

Well done everyone. A busy one.

L. Ball, Deputy Head of Teaching & Learning

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