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Pupil Voice in Year 7 English

Published by Mayville High School on Wednesday 14th of December 2022

Last term, our Year 7 (Remove) English pupils have been focused on developing their reading skills through the shared reading of a novel. The novels we picked for them involved young people who experience challenging circumstances, enabling them to grow and develop strength in adversity. During the term, pupils in different classes have read: A Monster Calls, Trash, Skellig and Private Peaceful.

Reading a novel together enables pupils to develop a whole host of skills beyond improving their literacy. Your children have discussed sensitive topics with great maturity and empathy as well as developing their understanding of how writers construct characters and explore themes across longer texts.

English teachers are always clear on the merits of shared reading but we also wanted to ask our pupils what they thought about the English curriculum at Mayville and how they felt about their transition to senior school in this subject. We surveyed the year group to ask them what they had enjoyed, how they have found the work compared to their English work from last year and what they think they need to focus on looking ahead.

Reading in Class

We were really pleased to see that our pupils feel the same about the importance of shared reading as we do. Here are some of the comments pupils made in response to the question ‘What have you enjoyed doing most this term?’:

I have enjoyed it [sharing a class novel] because it made me change in emotion so much, because the book had some sad parts and then happy parts. It has also made me more confident with writing.

I enjoyed doing the debating because I like getting my point across and also getting other people to see things and understand things the way I do.

I have enjoyed reading 'Skellig' and doing debates about the characters in the book.

Reading the book 'Trash' because it was very interesting and had lots of twists and turns.

Reading 'A Monster Calls'”

Sample quotes from pupil survey

Reading at Home

We have also been keen to use homework as an opportunity to help pupils practise a wider range of reading skills, through the Guided Reading booklet we have been using. Questions help pupils to practise comprehension, inference, vocabulary, grammatical and evaluative skills, whilst reading extracts from a range of different genres.

We wanted to know what our pupils thought about this homework, as it was a new approach we were taking. 50% of our pupils felt that it has helped them to practise key reading skills. All but one pupil felt that it had helped them improve their reading skills, even if they didn’t enjoy it.

This has certainly given us food for thought for next term, as we decide what homework will best help our pupils improve their literacy skills.

Transition in English
Moving up from junior to senior school can often be a time when pupils can ‘dip’ in their progress, so it was important for us to ask the pupils for their perception on their progress during the term.

We are very pleased to see that 92% of our Year 7 pupils surveyed felt that the level of challenge in English was ‘just right’ and felt like they were producing work at a higher level than in their last year of Juniors. However, there were a few pupils who have let us know they would like us to challenge them more next term, which we will be doing with more opportunities for extension tasks.

Looking ahead…

In the Spring Term, we are working on a creative writing unit called ‘Telling Stories’. I hope that your children enjoy this unit as much as many of them have enjoyed the Autumn Term’s work.

Please do get in touch if you have any feedback as a parent or would like more information about the Mayville English curriculum.

Mrs Matthias-Rosser, Head of English
Pupil Voice in Year 7 English - Photo 1
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