How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book!
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Teaching in English aims to inspire and motivate pupils to achieve success in this core area of the curriculum, whilst developing a genuine interest and enjoyment of the subject. Through lively and dynamic lessons, pupils are given the opportunity to engage with fantastic fiction and non-fiction from Britain and beyond, including the classics, and develop their own ability to express themselves clearly and creatively.
Find out about each Key Stage in English:
Our objective is to prepare all of our pupils for life in modern Britain by ensuring they are able to:
- develop an appreciation of reading, and read increasingly challenging material independently;
- understand increasingly challenging texts;
- read critically;
- write accurately, fluently, effectively and at length for pleasure and information;
- plan, draft, edit and proof-read;
- consolidate and build on knowledge of grammar and vocabulary;
- speak confidently and effectively.
We offer a programme of study across the key stage which not only introduces pupils to fascinating and entertaining texts and gives them the opportunity to develop their own skills as writers, but also encourages awareness and engagement with British values, such as democracy and diversity; community and tolerance; and freedom and responsibility.
The schemes of learning have been designed to follow the new National Curriculum in KS3, but also inspire pupils and create a tone of ambition.
Year 7: Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Private Peaceful’; Nigel Bryant’s play adaptation of Charles Dickens’ ‘Oliver Twist’; non-fiction reading and writing skills explored through the texts and activities relating to the Titanic; Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’; and poetry which explores the themes of relationship and conflict.
Year 7 Additional Literacy: All pupils in Year 7 follow an additional course focused on the theme of ‘Wonderlands’ which aims to develop their Literacy and introduce them to the skills required for GCSE English Language.
Year 8: The science fiction genre; writing to build tension in the horror and mystery genres; Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’; Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’; poetry which presents nature; and an introduction to 19th Century writing about travel and transport.
Year 9: poetry from different cultures; George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’; Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’; Language Across Time, a study of fiction and non-fiction from Beowulf to contemporary works; and John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’.
Throughout Key Stage 3, we also offer pupils a range of enrichment opportunities to enhance their learning and provide them with exciting experiences outside of the classroom, including: author workshops; trips to the theatre; a Year 7 trip to Belgium to visit the WW1 battlefield sites and museums; collaborative Shakespeare projects with the Drama faculty; an in-school professional production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ followed by a workshop; the BBC News School Report; Young Writers competitions; and, for Year 7, Accelerated Reader.
All pupils in Year 11 are studying for the AQA GCSE English Language and English Literature examinations graded 9-1. These are two year courses with two examination papers for each GCSE completed in the summer of 2017. For Language, there are two papers with equal weighting: Paper 1 Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing and Paper 2 Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives. For Literature pupils study for Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel and Paper 2: Modern Texts and Poetry.
Pupils in Year 10 initially focus on preparation for English Language Paper 1, then follow this with a study of the Modern Text, for example, Golding’s novel ‘Lord of the Flies’ as well as a group of poems from the AQA anthology related to ‘Power and Conflict’.
Through studying these courses, pupils are developing the skills they need to read, understand and analyse a wide range of different texts and write clearly; skills central to success in all of their GCSE subjects, as well as in a wide range of contexts outside of the classroom
GCSE English Language
The texts explored in English bring the outside world inside the classroom. Well-crafted, engaging fiction and non-fiction texts from Britain and beyond allow pupils to consider writers’ ideas and perspectives on our world, past and present. Once they start identifying the different methods writers use to convey these ideas, they will begin thinking as a writer – the first step to becoming one.
At the heart of English is the ability to communicate clearly and confidently. This is not just about writing, but also about how pupils use and respond to spoken language. There are plenty of opportunities for debate in response to the texts read allowing pupils to give their own thoughts and opinions on a range of social, political and moral issues. All pupils will complete a non-examination assessment of spoken language by giving a presentation which is then separately endorsed by the exam board.
Reading - Pupils in Year 10 are studying a range of fiction and non-fiction texts and learning how to respond to them critically and effectively. They are becoming adept at identifying and interpreting explicit and implicit information and ideas in texts, analysing how writers use language and structure to influence their readers. There is something for everyone, as they read and respond to texts from writers of 19th Century fiction, such as Charles Dickens, to 21st Century journalists, like Charlie Brooker.
Writing – Pupils are given plenty of opportunities to develop their creative and technical writing ability. As well as developing understanding of how to communicate clearly and accurately, they are practising writing in a range of different genres and styles. From non-fiction discursive writing to imaginative descriptive writing, pupils will be able to develop their own style and confidence over the two years.
GCSE English Literature
Studying English Literature provides pupils with the opportunity to read widely and write creatively in response to well-crafted, thought-provoking novels, plays and poetry. Alongside reading and analysing a range of texts, they are learning how to maintain a critical style of essay writing and develop an informed personal response, using textual references to support interpretations.
They are not only developing their ability to analyse how writers use language to create meaning, but also learning about the contexts in which the texts were written, and considering the texts in light of this background information.
The texts studied will depend on the individual teacher’s choices for their groups, but there are many fantastic titles on offer, from Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle’s ‘The Sign of Four’ to Stephen Kelman’s ‘Pigeon English’.
Useful Links and Revision Pointers
It is really important that pupils keep their set texts fresh through frequent revision. This will help them in their terminal exams, which are closed text for Literature. Taking responsibility for their revision will make achieving the final grade they really wanted even more rewarding. Remember that they can always speak to their teacher, or any member of the English Faculty, if they are in need of help.
Below are some websites that we recommend: