English underpins every aspect of our lives and enables us to make sense of the world around us. Although English is a core subject on the National Curriculum, we want students to want more than to simply ‘pass’ the subject at GCSE. We want students to have a passion for English by developing a love of reading for both pleasure and information which allows them to grow both spiritually and morally. We want to build students’ confidence in both written and spoken language to enable them to communicate their ideas and feelings effectively, thus enabling them to fully participate in society. The ultimate aim is for students to enjoy their study of English.
English unites all subjects as the success of foundation subjects depends heavily on the fluency of reading, writing and communication skills. English is the most commonly spoken language around the world and it underpins everything we do. In order to access not only the curriculum, but also society, students should have high standards of literacy and language.
Consistency is key to ensuring high quality teaching and learning takes place across the faculty.
All staff will follow the same scheme of work at all key stages. Collaborative planning will take place to ensure the expertise of all staff is utilised to help build an engaging and exciting curriculum. Staff will employ autonomy to meet the needs of their individual class.
Passing on a love of literature means that teaching should never be boring. It’s about equipping our students with the skills they need that can enable them to uncover an alternative interpretation of a text that is yet to be identified. Through excellent teaching, students should develop a confidence to express their ideas clearly and freely in lessons.
What are the key concepts that have to be mastered for pupils to be successful in this subject?
Fluency in reading, writing and spoken language
Develop an appreciation of our rich and varied heritage
Increase range of vocabulary in both written and spoken English in order to communicate ideas effectively and clearly
Develop an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
Write coherently, adapting language and style, for a range of purposes and audiences
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3, students have seven English lessons every fortnight with year 7 and 8 students having one reading lesson per fortnight in our LRC as part of their Accelerated Reader programme. A key aim is to ensure we harbour a love of reading a Key Stage 3 and insist that most lessons begin with reading – either independently with their own reading book, or as whole class using a class reader.
Throughout year 7 -9 students will explore a range of literary texts (both fiction and non-fiction) from 19th – 20th Century. Students will identify the methods used by a writer which enables them to carefully craft their writing to produce an engaging and thought-provoking text.
Students will have the opportunity to compose their own writing including both creative and transactional pieces. Students will explore how performance is used in plays, including the work of Shakespeare. Students will analyse unseen poetry as well as being tasked with creating their own anthology.
Scheme of Work Overview
Assessment in English at Key Stage 3
Throughout each unit of work, students complete a range of formative assessments such as multiple choice questions, comprehension questions, descriptive writing and analytical writing so we can continually assess the progress students are making. Students will also complete a summative assessment, which is graded using our KS3 grading criteria: Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum. The wide range of assessments are used to make an overall judgement on your child’s progress at their three assessment points throughout the year.
Every term, students in year 7, 8 and 9 complete a STAR Reading Test. This interactive test is completed online and tests students’ ability to read and comprehend what they have read. The STAR Reading Test generates a reading age for each student, which demonstrates their reading ability. As well as the range of reading which takes place in lessons and with our class readers, students in years 7 and 8 also have a fortnightly reading lesson. This lesson is dedicated to students following the Accelerated Reader programme which allows them to quiz and test their understanding of a book they have just read as well as building up the amount of words they have read.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4, students have nine English lessons every fortnight as they prepare for their GCSE examination. In English, students have the opportunity to achieve two GCSEs: one in Language and one in Literature. As they enter into Year 10, students will begin to apply their knowledge and skills built up throughout Key Stage 3 in order to access a range of texts across a variety of genres.
For English Language, students are expected to critically analyse unseen fiction and non-fiction texts before exploring the impact on the reader. Students will consider carefully how a writer has used language and structural devices to interest the reader, before comparing ideas across two texts. Students are also expected to produce extended pieces of creative writing such as a description or a narrative, as well as arguing their viewpoint through transactional writing.
Our study of Literature will see students covering texts such as Macbeth, A Christmas Carol and An Inspector Calls. Students will also apply their poetic skills to study a range of unseen poetry as well as completing a study of 15 poems from their Power and Conflict anthology.
Scheme of Work Overview
Assessment in English at Key Stage 4
At the end of each unit of work, students will complete a response to a GCSE question. Students will have the opportunity to use their skills and knowledge acquired throughout the study of each unit to help in their response to a practice question. Students’ work will be marked and graded following GCSE criteria, allowing an opportunity for reflection and improvement after each assessment.
At the end of Year 10, students will complete their first set of mock exams which will involve completion of both GCSE Literature Papers.
In Year 11, students will complete one set of mock exams in February. These mock exams will allow students the opportunity to sit both Language papers as well as a further practice of both Literature papers. Such exams will be marked and graded according to GCSE criteria and grade boundaries as set out by the exam board (AQA).
As well as mock examinations, students at Key Stage 4 will also have the opportunity to complete exam questions and past papers for homework.
External examinations for GCSE English Literature take place in May of Year 11 and GCSE English Language exams take place in June of Year 11.
Key Stage 5
English Literature is a popular choice for those studying at A Level. Students in Year 12 and 13 have nine English lessons a fortnight with our most experienced and committed team of expert English teachers. Students will complete a two year study before completing their A Level examinations during the summer term of Year 13.
Throughout their study, students will use their knowledge and skills acquired at Key Stage 4 to be able to approach the study of literature through the lens of historicism, encouraging the independent study of a range of texts within a shared context. The variety of assessment styles used, such as passage-based questions, unseen material, single-text questions, multiple-text questions, open- and closed-book approaches allows students to develop a wide range of skills, such as the ability to read critically, analyse, evaluate, and undertake independent research which are valuable for both further study and future employment.
Students will explore aspects of Love through the ages, using unseen material and set texts. Students are prepared by reading widely in this topic area, reading texts from a range of authors and times. They will also study Othello, AQA Anthology of Love Poetry Through the Ages pre-1900 and The Great Gatsby.
Students will refine their knowledge of a literature in a shared context through their study of works from 1945 to the present day. The course takes the end of WW2 as its historical starting point and explores both modern and contemporary literature’s engagement with some of the social, political, personal, and literary issues which have helped to shape the latter half of the 20th century and the early decades of the 21st century. They will study the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, The Handmaid’s Tale and A Streetcar Named Desire, along with reading widely within the period to encounter a range of ideas and opinions.
Students will also undertake an independent critical, comparative study of two texts of their choosing as part of their NEA (non-examined assessment) unit which counts for 20% of the overall grade.
Scheme of Work Overview
Assessment in English at Key Stage 5
Throughout the study of each component, students will be required to complete regular response to exam questions.
Students will complete two mock examinations in Year 12, as well as a further mock examination in Year 13. Each mock exam will provide students with the opportunity to complete full exam papers which will be marked and graded in line with AQA A Level criteria and grade boundaries. Practice responses and mock examinations will be used together to help inform our predicted grades at each assessment point.
Students will also complete their coursework component of their A Level exam known as NEA (none exam assessment) which counts for 20% of their overall grade. All mock exams, question practices and coursework are rigorously moderated and standardised within our own faculty, as well as collaboratively with local secondary schools.