Through rigorous and innovative English teaching we aim to ensure that all students:
- Have a lifelong love of literature and language.
- Are inspired to succeed and achieve their aspirational targets in this core subject.
- Develop knowledge and skills to help them analyse the written and spoken word.
- Are equipped with English skills required to understand the world around them today and in the future.
- Experience the awe and wonder of learning.
English is the foundation of all other subjects. It has huge social and moral implications with Literature enabling students to become better thinkers and more empathetic human beings. Our curriculum is designed to encourage creative, questioning and thoughtful students. Throughout the curriculum, students are provided with a range of opportunities and experiences that will allow them to develop their interest in all aspects of English. The English curriculum builds on the learning and skill development from year to year. Students should be able to make synoptic links from what is taught in KS3 to KS4. It caters for all our students, providing stretch and challenge for aspirational students as well as support and provision for students who need it. Our curriculum ensures that students are taught an understanding that English is the cornerstone of communication in all areas of life and is vital to the future.
The English curriculum in Years 7 and 8 is designed to meet the National Curriculum as well as to be the basis for the AQA GCSE course. It focuses on the four areas assessed under English: reading, writing, speaking and listening. A wide range of topics are taught in imaginative and creative ways. Teachers use higher order questioning to test knowledge and skills and plan lessons that inspire our learners. Lessons have clear learning objectives and fully resourced lesson plans are available for teachers to use. Regular formative assessments are undertaken and high quality feedback is given.
At KS4, the curriculum is closely linked to the requirements of the AQA GCSE in English Language and English Literature. Students study each topic first in either Year 9 or 10 and then it is revisited in Year 11 in order to build on knowledge and skills. Students are taught the skills of inference and deduction, analysis and evaluation as well as an understanding of the social and historical context of the texts studied. The curriculum enables students to develop the skills they need to read, understand and analyse a wide range of texts. In addition, it ensures that students are also taught to write clearly and communicate effectively for a range of purposes and audiences.
Key Stage 3 English
The English Faculty aim to ensure that all students have a lifelong love of literature and language. We want students to be inspired to succeed and achieve their aspirational targets in this core subject. In English students will develop knowledge and skills to help them analyse the written and spoken word. Our students will be equipped with English skills required to understand the world around them today and in the future. English is the foundation of all other subjects. It has huge social and moral implications with Literature enabling students to become better thinkers and more empathetic human beings. Our curriculum is designed to encourage creative, questioning and thoughtful students. Throughout the curriculum, students are provided with a range of opportunities and experiences that will allow them to develop their interest in all aspects of English. The English curriculum in Years 7 and 8 is designed to meet the National Curriculum and focuses on the four areas assessed under English: reading, writing, speaking and listening.
In Year 7 we cover the following:
- Study of a novel such as 'Skulduggery Pleasant’, ‘Millions’, ‘Holes’, ‘Two Weeks with the Queen’ or ‘Oliver Twist’ resulting in a piece of creative writing and a formal analytical essay
- Starting Shakespeare: a ‘taster’ of a variety of aspects of Shakespeare focusing on the comedies and using these to complete their own creative writing
- Poetry: Global Voices, selections of poems which explore different cultures are studied in this scheme of work. Students are also asked to consider their own cultural identity and the society they live in
- The World We Live In: a study of travelogues and infotainment writing which explores our local, national and worldwide communities resulting in a non-fiction Speaking and Listening activity
Detective fiction: a study of the detective genre including Sherlock Holmes as a stimulus for creative writing
In Year 8 we cover the following:
- Science Fiction: Students study a variety of short stories, poems and non-fiction articles in their exploration of the genre and the wider contentious issues the genre raises before writing a speech on an aspect of Sci-Fi
- Gothic Genre: a selection of 19th century and contemporary Gothic short stories and poems including: ‘The Red Room’, ‘Tell Tale Heart’ and ‘The Raven’. These are used as inspiration for their own creative writing.
- Study of a novel such as ‘Stormbreaker’, ‘Roll of Thunder’, ‘Hear my Cry’, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘Animal Farm’, or ‘Private Peaceful’ resulting in an analytical essay
- Poetry: Relationships, selections of poems which explore different relationships are studied in this scheme of work. Students are also asked to consider their own familial and platonic relationships
- Shakespeare: exploration of either ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ or ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ exploring themes and characters for an analytical essay
English Key Stage 4
The areas covered in the course include:
- Reading: plays, novels, short stories, poetry and journalism
- Writing: for a wide variety of different purposes and audiences
- Spoken Language: giving a presentation and responding to questions
For English Language students will:
- Read a wide range of texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including literature and literary non-fiction as well as other writing such as reviews and journalism
- Read and evaluate texts critically and make comparisons between texts
- Summarise and synthesise information or ideas from texts
- Use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing
- Write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately
- Use grammar correctly and punctuate and spell accurately
- Acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology, and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- Listen to and understand spoken language and use spoken Standard English effectively
For English Literature students will study:
- A play written by Shakespeare
- A 19th – century novel
- A modern (post 1914) modern prose or drama text
- A cluster of poems taken from the AQA poetry anthology, Poems Past and Present
- A wide range of poetry in order to develop their ability to closely analyse unseen poems in preparation for this section of the examination
- Through studying the set texts students have the opportunity to develop the following skills:
- Literal/inferential comprehension
- Critical reading
- Evaluation of a writer’s choice of vocabulary and the grammatical and structural features of the work
- The comparing of texts with specific reference to themes, characterisation, context, style and literary quality
- Production of clear and coherent writing in order to be able to describe, explain, summarise, argue, analyse and evaluate, discuss and maintain a point of view, along with the use of relevant quotations and references to emphasis key points
- Accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar
Both GCSEs are 100% examination and assessed at the end of Year 11. There are two examinations for English Language and two for English Literature:
- English Language
Paper 1 (Fiction, 50%) – 1 hour 45 minutes
Paper 2 (Non-Fiction, 50%) – 1 hour 45 minutes
- English Literature
Paper 1 (Shakespeare and the Nineteenth Century Novel, 40%) – 1 hour 45 minutes
Paper 2 (Modern Texts and Poetry, 60%) – 2 hours 15 minutes.
- Spoken Language is teacher assessed but does not contribute towards the final grade.
Confidence and sound qualifications in written and spoken English are the key that will help you to go on to Post 16 or college courses and open the door to a very wide range of careers.
English Literature Key Stage 5
Students who choose to study English Literature at Key Stage 5 follow the AQA English Literature A level A course.
The English Faculty is staffed by specialist teachers who have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Results at A Level have been consistently good with the majority of students achieving their target grade or above. English Literature is a popular and well-resourced subject area and lessons are focused on discussion, debate and the sharing of ideas.
English Literature A encourages students to explore the relationships that exist between texts and the contexts within which they are written, received and understood. This enables them to investigate and connect the texts, drawing out patterns of similarity and difference using a variety of reading strategies and perspectives. Students are encouraged to debate and challenge the interpretations of other readers as they develop their own informed personal responses. Across the course, students will study texts both diachronically (produced across a very broad time period) and synchronically (produced within a clearly defined time period).
- Paper 1: Love through the Ages
A written exam worth 40% of the final grade. Close study of three texts: one poetry, one pre-1900 and one Shakespeare play. Example texts include: an anthology of love poetry, Othello and The Great Gatsby.
- Paper 2: Texts in Shared Contexts (Modern texts: Literature from 1945 to the present day)
A written exam worth 40% of the final grade. Close study of three texts: one prose, one poetry and one drama, one of which must be written post-2000. Example texts include: A Streetcar Named Desire, The Help, and Sylvia Plath poetry.
- Independent Critical Study: Texts Across Time
A coursework module worth 20% of the final grade. An extended essay based on a comparative critical study of two texts. Students choose their own texts based on themes such as: the struggle for identity, the Gothic, satire and dystopia, war and conflict, representations of race and ethnicity or social class and culture.
Apart from careers in the arts and teaching, English Literature is a great facilitating subject for a huge range of careers including Media, Teaching, Publishing, ICT and journalism. The course also provides a pathway into higher education.