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Year 6-Year 7 English Transition Unit – ‘Romeo & Juliet’

Since Aragon joined the Willow Learning Trust in August 2017, subject leaders have been working collaboratively to align their English curricula across KS2 and KS3.

One area of the English curriculum that the two schools wished to collaborate on was how best to support the transition of its Year 6 pupils. It was with that thought, that the English Leads at Aragon and Glenthorne consulted and then created the first version of the Year 6 - Year 7 English transition unit based upon Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. This unit was first taught at Aragon in Summer 2018 and was considered a success; the main benefits included the pupils developing a wider understanding of English literature by being pre-exposed to Shakespearian language as well as allowing an opportunity to write using a more analytical style (a style of writing considered unfamiliar and new to its Year 6 pupils).

Back in November 2022, the English team at Aragon and Abbey were invited to observe a series of Year 7 English lessons at Glenthorne which was an interesting and insightful experience. Afterwards, the WLT English leads fed back to one another on a range of points which included: similarities and differences between teaching styles and strategies in KS2 and KS3, possible ideas for improving transition for our pupils across the English curriculum and current research in the teaching of literacy. This academic year, as part of a project for the English team, the ‘Romeo & Juliet’ unit has been under revision.

In February 2023, the primary and secondary English leads then met again to discuss, review and finalise a revised ten lesson teaching sequence for Year 6 pupils at Aragon and Abbey which has been taught in the summer term this academic year. Key focus areas considered in the reconstruction of the lessons were taken from recommendations by the EEF (Education Endowment Fund) and English leads across the trust.  To continue to ensure positive pupil outcomes within the teaching of literacy and improve lesson content, the following key aspects were carefully integrated into the revised lessons: retrieval practice, vocabulary exploration, opportunities for structured talk and disciplinary literacy.

Following the teaching of the unit, Year 6 staff at Aragon commented: the children have been really engaged with the learning and it’s been a great, easy resource to teach from”. We hope that by the end of this transition unit, the Year 6 pupils will have developed their language, cultural understanding and knowledge so that it will benefit them for many years to come beyond secondary school.

Amy Bernatek (Willow Learning Trust Director of English for the Primaries)