English Teaching Staff
Miss E Coleman: Curriculum Lead
Mrs C Crowther: Second in Department
Mr D Toop
Mrs L Taylor
Miss G Powis
Ms R Kuhne
Mrs R Hanwell
Mr C McDonnell
Why English is Important
English is the most important subject in the curriculum. First and foremost, the courses followed by students, are designed to nurture a love of reading and discussion. The units of work will encourage them to interpret explicit and implicit meaning, synthesise evidence and comment on the use of structure and language used by writers. Personal response is actively encouraged as is the establishing of links between texts regardless of whether they were written over several centuries. These skills culminate in the ability to access the whole curriculum at a higher level. Ultimately, students will leave Year 11 with two GCSE’s in Language and Literature, having focussed on reading, writing and spoken language.
Communication is a vital part of everyone’s life so without English, everything is far more challenging. The reality is that English is crucial in any career and the first subject that employers will look for on an application form to confirm the grade that a student has achieved. Crucially, a student who has not achieved the minimum of a grade 4 at GCSE (equivalent to the old ‘C’ grade), will be required to continue to study this subject up to the age of 18 or until the grade 4 is attained.
Students will have a ‘blended learning’ model delivered to them whereby work in class will require them to work individually, in pairs and in groups to share their personal responses to the texts that we study. A large quantity of reading will be undertaken and extended writing pieces completed under increasing time limits to nurture the pace and accuracy with which work is produced and enable students to experience the demands of their final exams in Year 11. At both KS3 and KS4, students will have the opportunity to ‘Drop Everything And Read’ for 30 minutes during one of their English lessons. They are encouraged to bring their own book to read during this time and to use it as an opportunity for focus, reflection and enjoyment.
Key Stage 3
At KS3, students will study a wide range of genres and forms in order to nurture their love for the subject. From ‘Beyond the Real World’ in Year 7 to ‘Heroes, Victims & Villains’ in Year 9, students are given the opportunity to experience the written word in all its glory. They will have the opportunity for discussion, analysis and creativity while experiencing the classics alongside the best of modern literature. For example, in Year 9, students will study Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ followed by Owen Sheer’s ‘Pink Mist’ in the ‘War & Conflict’ units. Both of these texts offer an insight into British history and the impact war has on both the soldiers and those left at home. However, they were written over 400 years apart allowing for students to engage in discussions about the futility of war, the motivations for fighting and the way these have been expressed through different writers from different times.
Students are exposed to a Shakespeare play in each year of KS3 as well as experience a range of 19th century literature from ‘The Speckled Band’ to ‘Treasure Island’. As well as reading whole novels and plays, students will also be exposed to a range of extracts from different cultures, time periods and social circumstances in order to develop their cultural understanding of the world. These extracts include speeches by: Elizabeth I before the Spanish Armada, Emmeline Pankhurst calling the suffragettes to action and Emma Watson – as part of her role as a UN Ambassador – addressing the inequalities between men and women.
At the end of KS3, our aim is for all students to have found at least one novel, play, speech, poem or article that has grabbed their interest and inspired them to read more.
Students in Years 7 & 8 will also have one hour of Accelerated Reader a week – this program exposes them to thousands of books, provides an appropriate level of challenge for their ability and tests their comprehension of the text at the end.
Students in Year 9 will also have one hour of Bedrock a week – this program works to develop their vocabulary and build their confidence with using new words in their own conversations and written work.
Key Stage 4
At KS4, Students will study for two GCSE’s; one in English Language and one in English Literature and will be required to complete four exam papers at the end of Year 11 – two in English Language and two in English Literature. These exams are now graded 9-1 and are assessed by examinations only.
In addition, students will complete a Spoken Language Assessment for their English Language GCSE which is separately endorsed by the exam board.
Students continue to develop the skills they have been introduced to at KS3 and focus on developing their reading and writing. In English Language Paper 1, students will need to be able to identify implicit and explicit information, analyse language and structure and evaluate writers’ methods. They must also be able to write creatively either writing to describe or narrate. Students need to be able to read a wide range of texts from different time periods. In Language Paper 2, students need to identify implicit and explicit information, be able to summarise and synthesis information, analyse language and compare writers’ perspectives and viewpoints. They must also be able to write to express a viewpoint.
During KS4 students will begin to study the literature texts for GCSE and will continue to revisit them during these two years.
The following texts are studied for GCSE English Literature:
- Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet
- 19th Novel: A Christmas Carol
- Modern Text: An Inspector Calls
- In addition to these texts, students study the Poetry and Conflict Anthology which is made up of 15 poems.
For each of these texts, students must read the whole text and understand the plot, characters, themes and the historical context in which the text was originally written.
Homework is set once a week at both KS3 and KS4. It always aims to consolidate what has been learnt in lessons, revise key skills or prepare them for an upcoming lesson. Students will be set tasks that include comprehension, spellings, punctuation/grammar quizzes or wider reading around a text they have studied.