The English department aims to develop students’ vital communication skills in reading, writing and spoken language through engagement with a variety of interesting, challenging texts including novels, plays, poetry and non-fiction. The accuracy of spelling, punctuation and grammar is also very important in enabling students to write and effectively. We believe that the study of English and English literature is a vital way of exploring and understanding the world and people around us and through this understanding more about ourselves.
Through the use of high quality texts we teach students to think for themselves about the people and world around them, to have confidence in their own ideas and to be able to express their ideas clearly and powerfully. We use a variety of teaching strategies to make English lessons engaging for all students.
Key Stage 3
Students develop their skills in all three aspects of English: reading, writing and spoken language. They will encounter a range of texts and challenges designed to extend their skills and to start to prepare them for their GCSE courses. Students will be asked to give presentations, participate in debates and explore texts through drama and hot seating. Students will be constantly encouraged to read widely and voraciously, as well as encountering a wide range of texts in the classroom, including Shakespeare, classic novels and poetry. Students will be given opportunities to explore a variety of skills and styles in their writing, including narrative writing, formal essays, persuasive and argumentative writing, scripts, letters, newspaper articles…
Key Stage 4
There are many changes happening at Key Stage 4, but all students will follow the AQA GCSE specifications in both English Language and English Literature. These are two separate qualifications and count as two separate exams. Students will be expected to work increasing independently to prepare for exams and the future.
Looking to the future, students will follow a programme of study which will include modern prose, a 19th century novel, Shakespeare and poetry as well as consolidating key skills for English language and will be assessed through terminal exams at the end of the course.
GCSE English Language and English Literature
English at GCSE leads to two separate qualifications: English Language and English Literature. The course is designed for these two subjects to be taught together and all students will be entered for both exams. They count as two separate GCSEs. We will follow the new AQA specifications for each subject.
What we study in this subject:
English Language: is about your skill in using and understanding language. The course focuses on Reading, Writing and Spoken Language, and you will work to improve and demonstrate your skill and ability in each of these areas. Work will include: a wide range of reading, including both fiction and non-fiction, writing in a range of styles for different purposes, including creative writing and you will be required to give a formal, oral presentation to complete the course.
English Literature: is about reading and appreciating the work of some of the greatest writers in the English language. You will study a range of writing which will include a Victorian novel, a modern text, poetry and a Shakespeare play. You will be given an Anthology which includes the poetry you will study during the course.
You will be assessed by a series of examinations at the end of the course. (There are no longer any Controlled Assessments or coursework in English.)
GCSE English Language: There will be two exams, both of which are 1 hour 45 minutes long. Each exam will have questions assessing both your reading and your writing skills. Everyone will sit the same exam papers.
GCSE English Literature: For this qualification you will also sit two exams. The first exam will be on a Victorian novel and Shakespeare. The second exam will be on a modern text and poetry. Again, everyone will sit the same exam papers.
Possible Careers and Further Information:
A good qualification in English is essential in accessing all A level courses. Many students continue their studies after school with A levels in literature, language or a combined course. Even if not considering A levels, students who do well in English learn valuable communication skills which are highly valued in a wide range of courses and work environments.
This is a new and demanding course. You need to be able to demonstrate your ability in the exam room. The best preparation for success is to make sure you are reading regularly and widely now, and that you continue to do this throughout your GCSE courses.
Further information is available from: Mr J Parry, Subject Leader, English (firstname.lastname@example.org)