Students are taught in mixed ability groups using a wealth of approaches to engage and challenge individuals. There are 6 lessons of English per fortnight for Years 7 and 8 and 7 lessons for Year 9. To assess students’ progress, students complete regular reading and writing based activities that are created to fully prepare them for the demands of the GCSE course and skills which will be assessed in the end of year examination; they also complete a number of speaking and listening tasks throughout the year. Each term pupils receive a grade which is an average across their reading and writing skills to represent progress made and all students complete a summer examination at the end of each year. This style of assessment is used to prepare students for the challenge of GCSE later on in their academic careers.
Throughout Years 7, 8 and 9 pupils study an array of inspirational, thought-provoking and relevant topics and texts, from a range of times, through which they learn a repertoire of skills in reading, writing and speaking and listening. The skills learnt not only benefit students at GCSE and A-Level, but also in all their future endeavours. Our aim is for students to learn English through the enjoyment of the subject, their lessons and through their involvement in extra-curricular activities.
To allow us to accurately assess students’ progress students complete regular reading and writing based activities that are created to fully prepare them for the demands of the GCSE course skills which will be assessed in the end of year examination; they also complete a number of speaking and listening tasks throughout the year. Each term students receive a grade which is an average across their reading and writing skills to represent progress made and all students complete a summer examination at the end of each year. Students also have a timetabled LRC based lesson within which a love of reading for pleasure is nurtured and students are given the opportunity to benefit from this invaluable resource. Our Year 7 students use this time to fully explore and benefit from the Accelerated Reading programme which provides them with the opportunity to access a range of stimulating reading material and complete tasks closely linked to the texts being read.
Aims of the Course
In GCSE English Language and English Literature, we aim to develop our students’ appreciation of language and literature, building on the skills that they have already gained in KS3. We currently follow the AQA GCSE specification for both subjects. Students are offered a rich diet of extra-curricular opportunities, from theatre trips to national competitions, so they can extend their learning outside of the classroom.
How long will the course last?
Both English Language and English Literature courses will run simultaneously through Years 10 and 11. Students enjoy eight hours of English a fortnight which is split into four hours of English Language study and four hours of English Literature study. The GCSE is now linear and all examinations are sat at the end of Year 11.
Over the course of the two years students develop the skills they require to successfully approach both the fiction and non-fiction papers by engaging in a topic-led approach to lessons. This helps our students to explore a diverse range of pre-20th and modern texts linked by a common theme, such as Fighting for Freedom. Both papers are equally weighted in the final exam and in additional to regular assessments throughout the term, students also sit a mock exam for Paper 1 in Year 10 and a mock exam for Paper 2 in Year 11.
Students are also assessed on their Spoken Language skills where they are given the opportunity to present a lively talk about a topic of their choosing, or deliver a presentation linked to one of our termly topics.
English Literature seeks to develop good reading habits and students are required to explore a wide variety of texts, novels, plays and poetry from a range of different historical periods and contexts. The course encourages students to read widely and provides a range of literary experiences for students to enjoy. At the end of the two years, students sit two exam papers which assess their literary analysis skills. To prepare for this, throughout the two years students sit regular assessments and in Year 11 sit two mock exam papers after Christmas when the core teaching of the GCSE is completed.
A-Level English Literature
Our English Literature course gives you lots of choice about what you read. It’s challenging and exciting and so we expect students to work independently and to think and talk about their reading. What’s more, English Literature is an excellent, academic qualification which provides a platform for further study in English-based subjects. In lessons, you will learn more than just how to make the grade. We pride ourselves on active, engaging lessons designed to equip you with the learning skills you need for university and beyond. We will provide you with stimulating experiences and support and challenge you to reach your full potential. It will never be dull!
A level: Love Through the Ages and World War One (or Modern Identity)
The A-Level course is comprised of a focus on ‘Love Through the Ages’ and the study of World War One literature. You will also have the opportunity to tailor some aspects of the course to suit you. The N.E.A. unit (or coursework unit) allows you to explore two texts from two different eras in an extended comparative study.
‘Love Through the Ages’ looks at a variety of poetry and prose texts concerned with the theme of love, alongside an in-depth study of a play by Shakespeare. The World War One unit allows for reflection on the full impact of the war that reverberates up to the present day and you will read and consider a wide range of Literature focused on this key historical event. Please note that some teachers may decide to teach the Modern Identity specification instead of WWI; this aspect of the course focuses on texts in modern contexts with a specific focus on American Literature.
There are two final exams at the end of Year 13; the first covers the Love Through the Ages unit and the second the World War One/Modern Identity unit.
A-Level English Language
English Language is all about how we communicate with each other, in speech and writing. Through your studies, you will discover how our words shape our world and learn how to use the power of language for yourself. English Language is an excellent, academic qualification which provides a platform for further study in English-based subjects.
In our lessons, you will learn more than just how to make the grade. We pride ourselves on active, engaging lessons designed to equip you with the learning skills you need for university and beyond. Most of all, we will challenge you to reach your full potential. It will never be dull!
In Year 12, you will find yourself looking at a vast range of texts, from journalism to jokes, from lyrics to letters, from reviews to recipes. If it uses words, it’s a text and you can use it to learn about how language works. Focusing on how we use language in our everyday lives, the course follows on from the GCSE English Language course, which gives students the opportunity to extend and develop their prior knowledge of the subject.
In Year 13, you will find out how we learn to use language by exploring the speech and writing of young children. We will also look at how language has changed over time and how technology is changing the way we communicate. Both topics are assessed in two final exams.
Finally, the NEA unit involves choosing an aspect of the course that has really interested you, and carrying out your own investigation project. The folder will also include a piece of creative writing with a commentary.
Throughout the course, you will be encouraged to contribute to the student magazine and to enter your work in competitions: Language is about real life, not just an A level course!
We also run a departmental magazine, The Voice, for older students to provide a forum for young writers and aspiring journalists.