Features of a Quality English Department
Ideals to work towards
- The department is run democratically with all staff given the opportunity
of genuine input.
- Staff are affirmed and recognised in their roles and for the extra
responsibilities they take on.
- The department has a common vision, a sense of direction and a long term
- The department is lead by a person who has vision, an understanding of the
changes impacting on the subject area and an ability to harness team
- Fixed term responsibilities which carry decision-making power, are
shared. Detailed job descriptions are available for key delegated tasks.
- Job descriptions are negotiated with all department members.
- Policies are in place to induct new staff into the department in a
planned and supportive way.
- There is a culture of sharing in the department, including resources but
also sharing of approaches, classes.
- An empowering teacher directed appraisal system is in place or planned.
- All staff have access to professional development opportunities, including
- Staff are kept informed about national changes to their subject and the
way it is assessed and certificated.
- The department belongs to all relevant professional organisations - NZATE,
AATEL, NZADIE, NAME and individuals within the department who join have
their subscriptions paid for by the department.
- Departmental members are encouraged to play a part in the decision-making
processes in the wider school.
- Social occasions and team-building occasions are part of the culture of
- All aspects of the department, including the performance of the H.O.D., are subject to annual review.
People - Students
- Students are taught and assessed in a variety of ways to recognise
different learning styles.
- There is a agreement on those aspects of the curriculum which will be
focused on in a particular year to track student achievement.
- At the beginning of all courses/modules students are provided with
- the aims of the course together with its specific objectives
- the content of the course and where it fits into their development and the Curriculum
- course requirements and expectations
- assessment and certification information
- appeal procedures
- policy on missed assessments and reassessment
- avenues of assistance
- homework policy
- work completion requirements
- guidelines for success in the subject
- Students are consulted or informed about all policies which affect them.
- Learning support systems are clearly communicated to students (in
translation where necessary).
- Clinics are widely advertised and staffed on a regular basis to provide assistance for those having difficulty and to provide reassessment opportunities.
- Regular meetings are scheduled, minutes are kept and actions followed
through.There is a clear distinction between administrative meetings and
meetings held for professional development purposes.
- All department members have the opportunity to access meeting agendas and
receive a copy of the minutes of meetings.
- Systems are in place for the dissemination of information from outside
- Systems are in place for the dissemination of information from the
department - both within and beyond the school.
- Ongoing internal communication systems, eg. weekly newsletter and
notice-board are maintained
- The department maintains close contact and cooperation with other
departments, especially in relation to aspects such as writing and reading
across the curriculum.
- The department maintains close contact and cooperation with contributing
- Students are kept informed about any aspects of courses or administration
which affect them.
- The department is in regular contact with its community through, eg. the school newsletter, specific subject related newsletters, meetings to explain and consult about changes.
- Are developed collaboratively and in consultation with the students and
- Provide a clear developmental framework for students whilst leaving room
for individual teacher flexibility and the needs of particular students.
- Reflects the Curriculum Framework, English In the New Zealand
Curriculum and Assessment: Policy into Practice.
- Are consistent with the school's charter and the National Educational
Guidelines and National Administrative Guidelines.
- Are working documents, regularly reviewed, modified and simplified.
- Provide clear and consistent models and examples of unit planning,
assessment and monitoring.
- Are communicated to students.
- Are easily accessed by all staff members, eg. are centrally stored.
- Are current and reflect English in the New Zealand Curriculum, eg. there
is gender and ethnic balance, a strong representation of New Zealand texts,
a balance between fiction and non-fiction, short and long texts. Text
selection should recognise students' abilities and aspirations.
- Budgetary information is shared with all department members.
- Staff have input into the purchase of new resources.
- Technological resources, eg. computers and video are available and are
playing an increasingly important part in programmes.
- Ideally, textual resources are administered by ancillary staff and
technological resources by a technician.
- Resource banks are established to enable sharing of units of learning
etc. These can be generated by automatic collection at photocopying sites.
- Resources are catalogued to facilitate easy access, and to reflect the
- Resources are reviewed annually with outdated resources being systematically eliminated.
- Are comfortable, well-lit and have plenty of display space.
- Are attractively decorated with plenty of changing student work.
- Are arranged in a way which facilitates meeting curriculum objectives
especially in the oral strand.
- Are equipped with the technology necessary to deliver the English Curriculum, eg. computer(s), video, O.H.P.