The English department aims to build on the reading, writing and the speaking and listening skills learned at primary school. Students begin studying the GCSE course in year 9, which gives them a firm foundation for success in their examinations at the end of year 11.
KEY STAGE 3
In Years 7 and 8, the curriculum covers: poems from the Literary Canon, WW1 Poetry, inspirational speeches from history, transactional and creative writing skills, and opportunities to study literature from different time periods and cultures.
In Year 7, students begin by revisiting the rules of high-level writing, where pupils learn how to accurately and effectively use syntax in conveying their ideas. Students then explore the Dickensian world through reading Oliver Twist, where they build their reading skills in deducing information, exploring explicit and implicit meaning, and analysing key themes and characters. These skills are then developed through ‘The Faster Read’ unit where students build on their analytical and creative writing skills. Pupils then take a journey through time in learning poetry from the literary canon.
In Year 8, students begin with a detailed study of a classic novel and are expected to work with some challenging vocabulary. Students then go on to explore experiences of conflict through a range of poems from different cultures before refining and developing their ability to express complex emotions through writing. In the final term students study a Shakespearean play in detail, exploring a range of social and historical contexts.
The English Department also encourages students to read widely through the ‘Accelerated Reader’ scheme, and dedicated library lessons are used to monitor students’ reading progress.
KEY STAGE 4
All students follow the Edexcel GCSE English Language (9-1) (1ENO) and English Literature (9 -1 ) (1ETO) courses. The units taught across years 9-11 alternate between the language and literature courses.
In English Language, students study 19th Century fiction, 20th Century and 21st Century non-fiction, imaginative writing and transactional writing.
In English Literature, students study a Shakespeare play, post -1914 literature (a play), a 19th Century novel and a wide range of poetry. Students sit four exams in the summer term of year 11. There is no coursework element; assessment is 100% final exam.
Students are also awarded a separate grade for Spoken Language; this is recorded separately from the two GCSE grades.