English K–10 (2022) Syllabus (Years 3–6) – information for school leaders

The English K–10 Syllabus (2022) now includes outcomes and content for years 3–10. Planning and preparation for years 3–6 begins from 2023 with implementation in 2024.

Outcomes and content for Stages 2 and 3 of the NSW English K–10 syllabus (2022) prioritise essential knowledge, understanding and skills, which build on the foundations developed in K–2. The syllabus provides clear learning expectations in a streamlined structure.

The Statement of Equity Principles underpins the English K–10 Syllabus (2022), ensuring inclusivity of every student, including Aboriginal students, students with a disability, students learning English as an additional language or dialect, and gifted and talented students.

What you need to know

  • In 2023, teachers of years 3–6 engage with the syllabus, and plan and prepare for implementation of the curriculum.
  • In 2024, implementation commences in schools for years 3–6.
  • The syllabus is available via a digital platform and is a live document. Teacher advice and support materials will continue to be added throughout the implementation process.
  • The new outcomes and content are informed by evidence and identify skills needed by all students to develop competence in oral language, reading and writing. They build on the foundational skills developed in K–2, deepening and enriching learning, and highlighting the role and connection that ‘understanding texts and ‘creating texts’ have across all areas of English.
  • Many connections exist within and across the areas of English. Knowledge and skills often develop in an interrelated manner and are therefore best addressed ‘in parallel’.
  • The National Literacy Learning Progressions Version 3.0 are mapped to content.

Syllabus elements

  • Removal of stage statements (consistent with K–2 and 7–10).
  • Addition of new syllabus elements:
    • Focus areas – used to structure a syllabus, and to support teachers in planning scope and sequences, and units. A focus area includes one or more outcomes and associated content.
    • Content groups – used to cluster related content associated with an outcome(s). There may be multiple content groups for each outcome(s).
    • Teaching advice – strategies to support development of student understanding and help teachers make informed pedagogical decisions.
    • Examples – may be attached to a content point, where appropriate. Examples are used to clarify the intention of the content and provide context.

Organisation and structure

  • The organisation of English 3-6 differs slightly from that of K–2 and 7–10.
  • Content is structured to highlight the connection between ‘understanding texts’ and ‘creating texts’, and across focus areas and outcomes.
  • There is a stronger progression of learning across the early and middle years, including clear, concise language to identify key concepts, knowledge and skills.
  • NESA have created a purpose-built website with quick, easy navigation and access to outcomes and content. The syllabus elements can be viewed, downloaded and printed.
  • The diagram below shows the organisation of the outcomes and content for English 3–6.

Image: The diagram shows the organisation of English 3–6.

English outcomes and content image is from the English K–10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, [2022].

Focus areas

  • Oral language and communication content groups include content to support students in becoming articulate and sophisticated users of oral language.
  • Emphasis is given to developing students’ breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge, with the understanding of the close links between the development of oral language, reading and writing.
  • There is a focus on students reading regularly for understanding, challenge, interest and enjoyment to enhance reading fluency and build vocabulary, contributing to improved writing and use of language.
  • Reading fluency appears as a focus area in Stage 2 and as a content group within reading comprehension in Stage 3, highlighting the link between reading fluency and comprehension.
  • There is a focus on students engaging in rich discussion and analysis of a wide range of quality texts to support reading and writing skills.
  • Specific text requirements for English 3–6 support the connection of reading and writing practices through quality texts, ensuring students are read to and are reading and writing for wide purposes.
  • A more explicit approach to teaching writing is evident, so students learn and regularly practise the skills needed to create written texts, with opportunities to focus on sentences, language and purposes for writing.
  • English textual concepts are embedded as content groups within the ‘understanding and responding to literature’ focus area.

Diversity and inclusion

  • The inclusion of advice for students working at different stages acknowledges that students learn at different rates and in different ways.
  • Complementary content is provided for ‘oral language and communication’ as alternative means to demonstrate aspects of the outcomes for students who use other forms of communication to supplement or replace speech.
  • Discrete outcomes for Handwriting and Digital transcription occur to support inclusivity.
  • Text requirements allow students to access texts in a range of ways and engage with texts by and about people from diverse experiences.
  • Aboriginal students have opportunities to see themselves reflected in their learning and make connections with their cultures and languages.

Prior to implementing the English 3–6 Syllabus, leaders will need to consider the following:

  • Building understanding of a conceptual approach to teaching English, using high-quality texts to facilitate learning.
  • Resource and budget implications including:
    • time for staff to engage with syllabus expectations
    • identifying teacher strengths and expertise to support curriculum implementation
    • professional learning to build staff capacity
    • organising a quality literature stock take to determine what is currently available in the school and what may need to be purchased.
  • Practices and processes implemented in K–2 that can be leveraged for years 3–6?

The English K–10 Syllabus (2022) is based on evidence summarised in the Bibliography: K–10 published by NESA. The syllabus for English 3–6 is based on evidence highlighting that:

  • reading, writing and oral language are reciprocally related and mutually support and enhance one another
  • language is represented in spoken, written, nonverbal, symbol and gestural forms and is a tool for communication that differs according to audience and purpose
  • vocabulary knowledge influences the development of oral language, reading and writing
  • regular reading enhances fluency and builds vocabulary
  • to make sense of what they read, students must be able to decode words accurately and effortlessly (automaticity) and then put them together into meaningful phrases with the appropriate expression (prosody)
  • proficient readers draw on background knowledge, vocabulary knowledge and knowledge of text structures to understand texts
  • interrelated factors in writing include executive functioning, transcription and text generation, all of which are constrained by working memory
  • explicit spelling instruction improves spelling skills, as well as writing and reading more broadly
  • the development of fluent and accurate transcription skills through handwriting and digital technologies positively impacts cognitive load when writing
  • the quality and range of literature students engage with is important in supporting their development of writing and reading skills
  • the study of literature supports students’ reading and writing skills through learning syntax, discourse and vocabulary.

Prior to implementing the English 3–6 Syllabus, leaders will need to consider the following:

  • To what extent do staff understand the syllabus and the evidence underpinning the new syllabus? How has this been fostered and understanding evaluated?
  • How is the new syllabus being used to lift teaching practice? How does the plan for curriculum implementation measure the impact of this?
  • How has the school engaged with departmental resources and support for curriculum implementation, for example, Curriculum Reform Communities, curriculum resources, professional learning, and DEL network initiatives?
  • How have change management considerations been embedded into the Strategic Improvement Plan to support teachers and sustain and strengthen curriculum implementation?
  • How has the principal prioritised their own personal growth in best teaching practice and leadership of curriculum implementation? How has this informed the support for middle leaders?

Further support

See the NSW Department of Education Curriculum Reform webpage for updates and additional information.

Contact the English K–6 curriculum team

Email: englishk6@det.nsw.edu.au

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