The English Department are committed to creating:
- Fluent and confident communicators
- Cultural appreciation and enrichment
- Critical, yet creative, linguists
The English Department’s vision is to ensure that not only do all of our students access an English curriculum which fully prepares them for personal exam success, but that all of these students experience a curriculum which fully equips them with the skills required to be competent, confident and fluent communicators, adept in reading, writing and speaking and listening, so that they are able to play a meaningful role in life beyond the English classroom.
Therefore, our department is dedicated to teaching innovative, quality lessons which are not only academically rigorous but knowledge-rich, and which inspire a wider cultural understanding.
Throughout their journey across Key Stages 3 and 4, and into Key Stage 5, we aim for our students to develop an appreciation for the heritage of our English Language through an immersion in a range of literary and non-fiction texts; yet we also encourage our students to experience how adaptable and diverse our language has become in order to reflect the ever changing world in which we live.
Course Content at KS3
At KS3 students are taught English throughout the year with 3 one hour lessons a week. The Key Stage 3 English curriculum is designed to enable students to see their learning as a journey in the development of key reading and writing skills, culminating in an effective transition to GCSE studies at the end of Year 9.
Assessments are ongoing and are conducted in class, with regular feedback provided to students so they can improve their skills, which are transferable across all units.
Throughout Key Stage 3, students will study the following:
- Non-fiction texts - writing for specific audiences and purposes
- Drama texts
- Short stories
Course Content at KS4
At Key Stage 4, students have 4 one-hour lessons per week and follow the AQA examinations specifications (8700/8702).
In Years 10 and 11, our students will build on the secured deep learning in central concepts and ideas established in Key Stage 3 to start their GCSE course.
For GCSE Literature, students will closely analyse a 19th century novel and a modern text which explores either the theme of dystopian societies or social reform. We also study a collection of poetry focused on the theme of ‘Power and Conflict’, with poems ranging from those deriving from our Literary Heritage, such as poems by William Blake and Percy Shelley, through to more modern contemporary poetry.
All students will study Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which builds on the prior knowledge and learning of Shakespearean tragedies embedded in Key Stage 3.
Alongside the study of English Literature, throughout Key Stage 4, students will build on the reading, writing and speaking and listening skills acquired in Key Stage 3 to study for their GCSE English Language exam. In addition to developing the creative writing skills required to construct their own pieces of descriptive and persuasive writing, students will use the critical understanding developed at Key Stage 3 to analyse how writers of fiction and non-fiction texts from across time use language to shape and construct meaning.
Our commitment to facilitating high quality discussion and exposure to vocabulary enables our students in Key Stage 4 to complete the Spoken Language element of the GCSE English Language course: students are required to present on a topic of their choice, showcasing their competency in linguistic and cognitive talk.
All of our lessons at Key Stage 4 build on the principles of knowledge retention, and ‘Knowledge Tests’ and knowledge retention starter tasks are embedded into our Curriculum in order to ensure that the essential knowledge and skills required for the GCSE exams are embedded into our students’ learning and understanding.
Alongside our GCSE course, we run the OCR Functional English qualification as an accessible supplementary course for students who may find access to GCSE more challenging. The course supports students with developing the essential skills required for the GCSE English language course: inference, analysis, evaluation, written and verbal communication and technical accuracy.
Our commitment to providing an academically rigorous curriculum that expands our students’ knowledge and cultural understanding expands beyond that of the classroom lesson: we regularly offer seminars after school, where our department share their expertise on a range of concepts and modern theories surrounding the English Language, as well as discussions centred on a range of inspiring and thought-provoking Literary texts.