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English at Orley Farm – Reindeer, Earthquakes and Shakespeare!


Across Orley Farm, in English and Literacy lessons, students have been learning about topics ranging from labelling, to reporting and to myth-writing. Below follows a snapshot of some of the highlights of the year so far…

In Reception, the children have been applying their phonics to labelling and caption writing. They particularly enjoyed labelling real-life reindeer after meeting them in the meadow. It was a shame that they couldn’t stay, as many of the children grew quite attached! Meanwhile, in Year 1, the children have thoroughly enjoyed getting stuck into their guided reading sessions this year. Every week, there are exciting, new books to read and the children are given a ‘reading gem’ to focus on. Over in Year 2, the children have been enjoying developing their writing sessions based on their Creative Curriculum topics. Recently, the children have been learning about the story of Icarus. As well as, creating artwork based on the story, they have written their own poems imagining they are Icarus, on his tragic flight towards the sun.

Middle School have had a very exciting start to the Spring Term. Year 3’s Stunning Start involved a search for the Iron Man on the school grounds and, since then, they have been excited to follow his story and to find out his fate… In their own Stunning Start, Year 4 discovered they were on a ‘flight’ to Japan, and were thrilled! Since then, they have been conducting research in order to find out more about the land of the rising sun. Both of these interesting starts to the term have led to some fantastic journalism. Year 3 have been creating snappy headlines, informative leads and have been improving newspaper reports about the terrifying Iron Man with sensational language. Year 4 are preparing for writing some of their own dramatic reports about the Kobe earthquake. We look forward to seeing what they come up with!

In Upper School, Year 5 have been following the journey of Varjak Paw and refining their descriptive skills; they have now been plunged into the depths of the Amazonian rainforest on a new journey, continuing to learn about how to write creatively and how to set appropriate moods in their stories. Year 6 have developed their empathy through learning about the difficult times faced by young Michael in ‘Skellig’ and are now learning about a young soldier’s experiences in World War One in the novel ‘Private Peaceful.’ Year 7 have been channelling Michael Morpurgo and his retelling of the famous epic ‘Beowulf’ by writing their very own myths and are now investigating the conventions of the Gothic genre through the spine-chilling ‘Woman in Black.’ Year 8 have been busy debating what makes a dystopian society and the qualities of democracy whilst enjoying the epic novella ‘Lord of the Flies.’ What a busy few months they’ve all had!

Back in the Autumn term, Book Week fever swept through the school and students enjoyed tackling literature quizzes and meeting authors in the flesh, even getting the chance to have their own book signings. On Friday 6th March, they will have the opportunity to dress up as their favourite book character for World Book Day, where the theme of this year is linked to STEAM week- so famous literary professors, teachers, inventors and scientists are all welcome costume ideas! Year 6 and 7 were also treated at the start of this term to an exciting and hilarious performance of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by the Young Shakespeare Company- my highlight was seeing them all making wolf, owl, wind and rain noises accompanied by actions to set a creepy atmosphere for the forest scenes!

It’s been a jam-packed year so far, with plenty more to come! Verse-Speaking, Year 6 Wicked theatre trip and Year 7 Sky Skills studio visit are just a few of the activities awaiting students in the coming months. We look forward to seeing more creativity and risk-taking from students across the school during the rest of this year!

Emma Welsh
Head of English