Subject Leader – Miss Desforges
As a core subject, English Language is one of the important GCSE subjects offered in secondary schools. The vast majority of further education courses (AS levels, Diplomas, BTEC’s etc.) stipulate that a strong pass in English Language is essential. Nearly all colleges and employers will require applicants to state what grade they attained in GCSE English Language. Coupled with English Language, English Literature is a very important and highly regarded GCSE. We are of the view that the vast majority of students should, and will, do Language and Literature; effectively allowing students to obtain two GCSE’s in English alone. GCSE English Literature offers you the chance to study classic literature, poetry and some contemporary novels in combination with the topics studied as part of the GCSE English Language.
We have a varied and enriching curriculum at the academy, and pride ourselves on providing students with an enjoyable and constructive experience during their journey through education.
Key Stage 3
Key stage 3 is hugely important as it provides an opportunity for students to develop the skillset needed to succeed in later years. We as a faculty take this opportunity to explore a series of novels, plays, non-fictions texts, writing styles and work from the Shakespeare Canon, all of which ensures that students have the required knowledge to thrive in their terminal exams. Assessments take place on a half-termly basis, and the assessment papers cover the same objectives and structure as the GCSE examination papers, ensuring consistency and clarity.
Students begin the year with a unit dedicated to fiction. They will read, explore and critically evaluate either ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar, ‘Buddy’ by Nigel Hinton or ‘Private Peaceful’ by Michael Morpurgo. Coupled with this is a descriptive writing unit, in which students develop the key technical skills required to write descriptively. Students then move on to an introduction to Shakespeare unit, focusing on biographical writing and the text ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Next, students explore a pre-20th century play, namely ‘Oliver Twist’ and end with a poetry unit, using our academy developed poetry anthology for Key Stage 3.
Students start with the exploration of a fiction text. They will study either ‘Stone Cold’
‘Holes’ or ‘Storm Breaker’ and complete a unit of transactional writing. They will then study a series of non-fiction text to develop skills for Language Paper 2 in Year 11. Following this, students will look at key extracts from ‘The Tempest’ and ‘King Lear’ by Shakespeare, and end with a poetry unit.
Year 9 students start with persuasive and argumentative writing, and then move on to study novel in detail; namely ‘Of Mice and Men’ or ‘The Edge’. Students then start exploring the GCSE poetry anthology, looking in detail at the ‘Power and Conflict’ theme of poems. Following this is a unit on pre-20th century texts, a non-fiction unit and some work on either ‘Macbeth’ or ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in preparation for their GCSE’s.
All students will sit exams in both English Language and English Literature. This means that they will leave the academy with two separate GCSE’s. In English Language, students must read a range of unseen extracts; both fiction and non-fiction based, and answer a series of reading questions to assess reading skills. Both papers end with a written task worth 50% of the overall GCSE. For English Literature, students must explore either ‘A Christmas Carol’ or ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ for the pre-20th century text, ‘Lord of the Flies’ for the modern prose text and ‘Macbeth’ or ‘Romeo and Juliet’ for the Shakespeare text. Their class groups and abilities will determine which texts they study. Additionally, students need to know a series of poems from the AQA ‘Power and Conflict’ anthology. There is a total of 15 poems in this collection.
The department has its own suite of classrooms equipped for the teaching of English. We have access to a computer suite to enable students to research as part of their learning.
The English department runs a variety of theatre trips throughout the year to enhance the classroom learning and intend to further develop these over the next academic year. During lunch times, there is a Creative Writing Club held on a Tuesday lunch time. After school, there are year 11 revision/intervention sessions every Monday 3.30 until 4.30 and an English homework club Tuesday 3.30 – 4.30 open to all students.