Friars Academy - 2022-25

Faculty Leader: Mrs K. Andrews

At Friars we enjoy communicating in a variety of ways, developing skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing so that we can participate in employment and society.

Modern texts and interactive resources such as Nessy Learning are used to help develop reading and spelling skills, enhance the curriculum, and motivate pupils whilst raising levels of literacy. These resources support students to develop skills for life in a fun, practical and kinesthetic way.

At KS4 students focus on building functional literacy skills that will prepare them for post 16 and beyond.

There are regular in-school literacy competitions and incentives to learn, such as reading awards and themed events. Students also have access to a class and whole school library to enthuse a school-wide love of reading. Interventions such as Kinetic letters, the structured synthetic phonics programme Read, Write Inc. and Dyslexia, large print and adapted resources are also used to support targeted students.  

There are extra-curricular English clubs offered to all, such as library lunch time clubs, Nessy Reading after school clubs and the opportunity for students to become junior journalists and work together to create ‘Friars News’- a student academy newspaper. 

Key Stage 3 Topics

In Key Stage 3, students are introduced to contemporary literature which motivate and engage their love for literacy. Students study texts by authors such as Roald Dahl, Shaun Tan, Andy Shepherd, Floella Benjamin and Cressida Cowell. Students develop various styles of writing, such as recount, creative, narrative and informative writing through the study of popular and engaging texts. Speaking and listening skills are developed through thematic Drama and role play activities linked with their set text, which increase self-esteem, confidence and support emerging social skills.
Students have access to Nessy Learning at home and school and a guided reading programme to help develop reading and spelling skills. Each student has access to individual fiction and non-fiction reading books from a range of popular authors.
Handwriting is supported by developing fine motor skills and following the Kinetic Letters programme and students are guided to work on their letter formation and presentation.

Key Stage 4

In Key Stage 4, pupils study a Shakespeare play, media and persuasive texts, poetry, contemporary novels, functional literacy skills, film analysis and plays.

Most students have the opportunity to work towards the Entry Level qualification and all students are supported to complete accreditations from the AQA Unit Award Scheme.


Students in SLD classes within KS3 follow a creative themed curriculum, which develops their English, Maths and Science around a termly topic. Students in SLD KS4 classes follow a more functional literacy curriculum, which develops their functional literacy skills in order to prepare them for the future.


Drama is taught throughout Key Stage 3 using a story-based approach to learning, social interaction and building confidence. Students receive one 45-minute lesson of drama each week. Our students enjoy the subject because of its potential to allow their confidence skills to flourish through an enthusiastic and energy driven classroom environment.

Students are encouraged to communicate effectively with each other through initial discussion, rehearsing through role-play in pairs and small groups through leading to performances in front of their peers.

The use of stimulus material has an important supporting role to play in the approach used in the teaching of drama at Friars Academy. It helps to clarify and enhance the experience. Many of our students are visual learners and therefore this approach can be critical in aiding their understanding. By using stimuli such as film extracts, pictures, songs and poems we are able to build a story around an idea and take it further through role play and work-shopping ideas. Using themes that are contemporary and relevant allows the pupils to engage at a quicker rate and produce pieces of work that are important to them.

Drama is essential to the development of our students through a number of drama conventions. Students will discuss, analyse, direct, role-play, enact, rehearse, perform and evaluate aspects of the story-led work. Themes of the work will consider: inequality, differences, prejudice, loss, love, awareness of others and keeping safe.

Key Stage 3 Topics