Reading is at the heart of our curriculum.
Our aims are to:
- Foster a lifelong appreciation of reading to allow students to build confidence in how they use, adapt and respond to the English Language.
- Help students recognise the value of English as a gateway to successful communication.
- Allow students to understand the wider value of English beyond the classroom.
Key Stage 3
Our well stocked and welcoming school library is at the heart of our curriculum. Students are encouraged to read widely for enjoyment outside school through programmes such as Accelerated Reader in Year 7. Within the classroom, our department will present students with a wide variety of interesting and challenging reading materials, including novels, plays and poetry from a range of genres as well as non-fiction materials from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
Confident readers become confident writers. We believe in giving students opportunities to plan effectively and to write imaginatively and accurately in a range of contexts. Following this, we believe in the importance of the editing process; we encourage students to respond thoughtfully to constructive feedback to move their writing forwards.
Speaking and Listening
Effective speaking pre-supposes good listening. A significant amount of English curriculum time is given over to discussion, using a variety of approaches including group work, prepared debate and presentation work. We value insightful questioning, both from students and teachers, that encourages students to challenge and develop their thinking.
What students will learn
Please see the curriculum overview document at the bottom of this webpage.
How will students be taught?
Students are taught in mixed ability groups. They will experience a wide range of teaching methods designed to encourage participation, independence, enjoyment and success.
How will students be assessed?
Students will be assessed in a wide variety of ways, ranging from informal quizzes to more formal written assessments.
Key Stage 4
What will students learn and how will they be assessed?
Building upon the skills and knowledge developed at Key Stage 3, students will undertake two GCSEs in English Language and Literature. The course is divided up as follows:
English Language GCSE
All of the GCSE will be assessed at the end of Year 11 via two exam papers.
Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing (50%)
To test their reading ability, students will be given an unseen extract from a novel. They will then answer a series of questions on how it is written, considering the writer's use of language and structure and effect. To test their writing ability, students will be asked to write a piece of narrative or descriptive writing to test their creative skills.
Paper 2: Writers' viewpoints and perspectives (50%)
Students will be given two unseen texts, one non-fiction and one literary non-fiction. They will answer a series of questions to test their reading ability, considering how language is used for effect and how the two texts compare and contrast in terms of writers' attitudes. To test their writing ability, students will be asked to write in a particular form, presenting a particular point of view, such as an article for a newspaper.
Spoken Language (mandatory and graded separately)
Throughout the two year course students will also be assessed in a number of speaking and listening activities, where they will take part in presentations and consider their responses to questions and feedback. These will lead to a final Spoken Language assessed presentation.
English Literature GCSE
All of the GCSE will be assessed by two exam papers at the end of Year 11.
Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th century novel (40%)
This paper will assess students' knowledge and understanding of two set texts, a play by William Shakespeare and a novel published in the 19th century. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole. They will also be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole. Students will not be allowed to take their set texts into the exam with them.
Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry (60%)
Students will study a modern novel or play and fifteen poems from an anthology studied in class - they will answer one essay question on each of them. They will also respond to and compare two unseen poems. Students will not be allowed to take their set texts into the exam with them.
How will students be taught?
Students are taught in mixed ability groups. English Language and English Literature are treated as a combined course in which students will experience a wide range of teaching methods designed to encourage participation, independence, enjoyment and success.
Examination board and course
AQA English Language 8700; English Literature 8702
These subjects both lead directly to A Level English Language and English Literature courses. A good pass grade in English is also a requirement for some other subjects at A Level. Employers value the subject as it focuses on success in the core life skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Teacher to contact for further information
Miss Smy or Mrs Wright