English

We believe our mission is to encourage students to be thoughtful and reflective learners. We want students to enjoy and engage with the subject whilst achieving their best in this core curriculum area. We want to see confident individuals prepared for the outside world.

English is at the heart of the curriculum. From the day we begin school until the day we leave compulsory education, we have to study English Language and Literature. Why? In English you learn how to express yourself effectively, how to be a critical thinker and how to justify your judgements. What could be more important? Sound English skills mean you can access every other subject and pursue other interests successfully.

English at Key Stage 3

  • Our Key Stage 3 curriculum offers a balanced and stimulating experience of English through drama, prose, poetry and non-fiction texts. Students develop their speaking and listening, reading and writing skills linked to key assessment strands in line with GCSE.
  • Progress is checked regularly through key assessment pieces. We see feedback as crucial to making good progress and encourage students to be active in critically evaluating their work and identifying areas to improve.
  • Wider reading is encouraged through starting lessons with private reading. It is a proven fact that those students who read for pleasure have higher attainment across the curriculum.

Literacy and key skills are a constant focus over the key stage, particularly for those who find basic literacy a challenge. For gifted and talented students, further opportunities to expand their creative talents through writing for competitions and real audiences are offered. We also have a range of extra curricular activities such as a Carnegie reading group, the Mock Court Trials and theatre visits to stimulate interest and provide challenge.

Intervention and support at both key stages is given through extraction, supported reading programmes and extensive revision sessions in the lead up to exams. As well as bespoke after school and holiday support at GCSE level, individual support packages with specialist staff is in place across all years. We differentiate in lessons to ensure all students can access the curriculum and are suitably challenged.

An Overview of the Curriculum

Year 7

  • Philip Pullman's adaption of 'Frankenstein'
  • A range of poetry
  • An Introduction to Shakespeare
  • Frank Cottrell Boyce's 'Framed'/'Millions'
  • Short Story/ Creative writing
  • Exploring the history of the English Language

Year 8

  • 'Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' by John Boyne/'Holes' by Louis Sachar
  • Studying detective fiction, including Sherlock Holmes short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Exploring media and non fiction
  • 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare
  • Poetry study focusing on a range of narrative poetry
  • Studying, writing and performing a persuasive speech

Year 9

  • 'Romeo and Juliet' by William Shakespeare
  • 'Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck
  • Viewpoint and persuasive writing
  • Poetry from the GCSE Anthology
  • Studying plays on the theme of relationships including 'A View from the Bridge', 'Blood Brothers' and 'Our Day Out'
  • Skills relating to GCSE English Language

Our Key Stage 4 curriculum starts in earnest at the end of Year 9, to give students a ‘head start’ before the beginning of Year 10.

​GCSE English Language and Literature

English language and Literature are core subjects so all students are entered for these exams at GCSE level. We are allocated four hours of teaching a week in the Key Stage 4 curriculum.

English Language

What will your child be studying?

Students will receive four lessons in total each week for the dual entry of English Language and English Literature. They will focus on the following areas for the English Language examination.

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

What's assessed:

  • Section A: Reading: One literature fiction text
  • Section B: Writing: Descriptive or narrative writing

How it's assessed:

  • Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 80 marks
  • 50% of GCSE

Questions
Reading (40 marks) (25%)-two linked texts

  • 1 short form question (1x4 marks)
  • 2 longer form questions (1x8, 1x8 marks)
  • 1 extended question (1x20 marks)

Writing (40 marks) (25%)

  • 1 extended writing question, writing to describe/ narrate  (24 marks for content, 16 marks for technical accuracy)
Non-examination assessment: Spoken Language

What's assessed? (AO7-AO9)

  • presenting
  • responding to questions and feedback
  • use of Standard English

How is it Assessed?

  • teacher set throughout course
  • marked by teacher
  • separate endorsement (0% weighting of GCSE)
  • students will be awarded a pass, merit or distinction depending on their level of performance

How can you help your child? 

  • Encourage your child to read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts to support their English skills, including 19th century texts.
  • Ask your child to discuss the main features of any texts that they come in contact with. Particularly in relation to the use of language in texts, how different written texts are structured and the viewpoints expressed.
  • Support your child with organizing home study time effectively, particularly with practice exam work.
  • Buy copies of the set texts for literature and the core study book for English for AQA.
Supportive websites and resources

BBC Bitseize: EnglishAQA

2 examinations, carrying a total of 100% at the end of Year 11.

​English Literature​​​

What will your child be studying?

They will study the following topics for the English Literature examination:

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century Novel

What's assessed:

  • Shakespeare
  • The 19th-century novel

How it's assessed:

  • 1 hour 45 minute written exam
  • 64 marks
  • 40% of GCSE

Questions:

Section A Shakespeare: students will answer one question on their play of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.

Section B The 19th-century novel: students will answer one question on their novel of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.

Paper 2: Modern Texts and Poetry

What's assessed:

  • Modern texts
  • Poetry
  • Unseen poetry

How it's assessed:

  • 2 hour 15 minute written exam
  • 96 marks
  • 60% of GCSE

Questions

Section A Modern texts: students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on their studied modern prose or drama text.

Section B Poetry: students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.

Section C Unseen poetry: Students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.

How can you help your child?

  • Encourage your child to read a wide range of fiction and poetry to support their English skills.
  • Check regularly that your child is up to date with their homework.
  • Ask your child to discuss the main themes, characters and language devices in their set texts.
  • Support your child with organizing home study time effectively, particularly with timed exam practice.  
  • Watch the film of the novel which they are studying. 
  • Use study guides as added structure to help with revision. 
  • Encourage your child with learning key quotations.
  • Have copies of the set texts readily available, remember these are ‘closed book’ exams so the students won’t have a copy of the book in the actual exam.
Supportive websites and resources

Letts study guides or York notes on the relevant novel.

BBC Bitesize: English LiteratureAQA

Assessment details

  • 2 examinations, carrying a total of 100% at the end of Year 11

Literature now carries the same value as English Language as a core qualification.

There are no tiers of entry and all students sit the same exams. We generally follow a policy of ‘broad banding’ in setting arrangements so all students can work positively and make good progress in the classroom environment.

If you have further questions relating to our curriculum, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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