Introduction

In the English department, we pride ourselves on delivering a curriculum across all key stages that provides for all abilities, challenging the most-able and developing skills and talents for all groups of pupils. Through creative, inspirational teaching, our pupils are able to develop skills and knowledge in areas to prepare them for further education and future careers. This enables all pupils to achieve their very best.

The study of English develops children’s abilities to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes, so using language to learn and communicate ideas, views and feelings. It enables children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as non-fiction and media texts. Children gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins. Children use their knowledge, skills and understanding in speaking and writing across the curriculum and carry this knowledge forth into their lives in the wider world.

 

Our expectations:

Our expectations are that pupils will come to lessons fully prepared, not only with the correct stationery and their planner, but also with the expectation that they will take a full and active part in each and every lesson, offering answers and ideas and completing detailed and accurate written responses.

There is a considerable emphasis on high levels of literacy and presentation, both in the department and across the school. We expect pupils to produce their best work and also to respond fully to the regular marking, provided by their teacher, in the form of the personalised targets, which will help move them on to the next level.

We expect students to have an open minded approach to the texts they read both in and outside of the classroom. Additionally, we expect students to take an active interest in the world around us, engaging with discussions which include climate change, the broader political landscape and global concerns. Finding a voice and having confident, well -formed opinions is the key to success not only in the grades students achieve but in becoming future citizens of the world.

The KS3 curriculum is designed to develop the necessary skills for students to prosper in KS4. Some of the skills established and enhanced at KS3 are:

  • Analysing and critically evaluating, with some insight, detailed aspects of language. Student will be able to comment on aspects of grammar and structure.
  • Analysing the language, form and structure used by a writer to create meanings and effects, using relevant subject terminology where appropriate.
  • Demonstrate their understanding and opinions with explicitly relevant references to texts. Students will learn how to embed quotations in their sentences which is a vital skill needed at GCSE.
  • Use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with mostly accurate spelling and punctuation.

 

Homework

Homework is set a minimum of once per week. Homework tasks are aimed to develop students’ understanding of a text and develop their literacy or analytical skills. Students are expected to record all homework in their planners. They are given a minimum of three days to complete their homework to a high standard.

 

Trips and Visits

Students are given the opportunity to watch a performance of some of the prescribed texts at GCSE. These opportunities may be performed by a professional theatre company in school or at The Globe Theatre.

The author Sue Hampton visited the Academy on 4th October to lead creative writing workshops with students in years 7, 8 and 9. Sue has written over 30 books for children, teenagers and adults, has been praised by Michael Morpurgo who called Spirit and Fire “enthralling”, Just for One Day “terrific” and her alopecia novel The Waterhouse Girl “beautifully written”. Sue is also Ambassador for Alopecia UK.

 

The author, Mimi Thebo visiting us on March 5th to lead writing workshops.  Mimi is a twice nominated Carnegie author and has published many books for adults and children. Her work has been translated into 12 languages, made into a BAFTA Award-winning film and signed for deaf children on ITV. She is Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Bristol and her PhD concerned the ethics of representation.

 

The author, John Townsend, visiting the Academy on 12th March 2020. He delivered a range of workshops and assemblies to all year groups. Mr Townsend has written over 200 books, ranging from fiction to non-fiction, and our personal favourite, factual-fiction, in which John uses real life details and events to inspire his writing. One example he gave us was using phobias to create books which would interest even the most reluctant readers. Did you know a fear of snakes is called Ophidiophobia and the Titanoboa snake could grow up to 42ft long? Impressively, some of our students were able to answer these questions during the assemblies! Thank you Mr Townsend and we hope you visit again very soon!

Year 7 student remarks on the visit:

Oscar Mellett- “I like the author, John Townsend, as it was very interactive and great to learn how an author gets his ideas”

Shanice Pemhiwa- “John Townsend’s assembly was very entertaining and funny; he is a fantastic author. He expresses his love for writing books in many different ways”

Sam Cundy -“I really enjoyed the visit from John Townsend, he is really kind and writes about all kinds of different things”. He writes everything from children’s books to murder mysteries.”

Lucas Wakefield- “John Townsend taught me many things I did not know, I attempted to face my phobias of snakes which I now know is called Ophidiophobia. Mr Townsend delivered an amazing presentation about his books, I loved it! I hope we can have an experience like that again soon.”

 

Recommended reading

Year 7-

‘Harry Potter’ series- JK Rowling

Year 8-

‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ series- C.S Lewis

The Lightening Thief series- Rick Riordan

Year 9-

‘The Hunger Games’ series- Suzanne Collins

‘Night World’ series- LJ Smith

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’- Harper Lee

‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy - JRR Tolkien

The links in the ‘useful links’ section are not active.

 

Resources

KS4

English Language challenges you to read and understand a wide range of fiction and non‐fiction texts, testing skills such as: defining vocabulary; skimming and scanning text; locating and summarising information; explaining language effects on the reader and transforming ideas from stimulus texts in to their own writing in a range of genres.

English Literature will build on the skills developed at KS3 to enable you to respond to literature texts of poetic, script and prose form. You will write a comparative essay as coursework based on two or more studied texts, and you will study poetry and one set text in preparation for the exam. (Text choices will vary from class to class and essay questions will allow learners to draw on their own reading experiences alongside studied texts.) You will also learn about essay writing and academic vocabulary and expression.

 

Areas of study covered in KS4:

Year 10 and 11: Literature

Year 10 and 11: Language

‘Macbeth’

Language Paper one Reading: Analytical Writing (Fiction)

‘A Christmas Carol’ or ‘Frankenstein’

Language Paper One Writing: Descriptive Writing

‘An Inspector Calls’

Language Paper Two Reading: Analytical and Comparative Writing (Non-Fiction)

Power and Conflict Poetry/ unseen poetry

Language Paper One Writing: Functional Writing

Specification details (web address)

AQA Language 8700

The AQA specification is designed to inspire and motivate students, providing appropriate stretch and challenge whilst ensuring that the assessment and texts are, as far as possible, accessible to all students. It enables students to develop the skills they need to read, understand and analyse a wide range of different texts and write clearly.

AQA have developed two equally-balanced papers, each assessing reading and writing in an integrated way.

 

AQA English Literature 8702

AQA have worked closely with teachers to design the English Literature specification to inspire, challenge and motivate every student, regardless of ability level. A range of texts is included to cater for the needs of teachers and students in all educational contexts. There are texts that will be familiar, as well as new ones that will inspire young readers. It’s fully co-teachable with GCSE English Language, so students will benefit from the transferable skills.

Course component breakdown:

English Language Paper One:

What is assessed:

Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

How is it assessed:

Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

80 Marks

50% of GCSE

 

English Language Paper Two:

What is assessed:

Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

How is it assessed:

Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

80 Marks

50% of GCSE

English Literature Paper One: 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century no

What’s assessed
  • Shakespeare plays
  • The 19th-century novel
How it’s assessed

Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
64 marks
40% of GCSE

Questions
Section A Shakespeare: students will answer one question on their play of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.
Section B The 19th-century novel: students will answer one question on their novel of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.

English Literature Paper Two:

What’s assessed
  • Modern prose or drama texts
  • The poetry anthology
  • Unseen poetry
How it’s assessed
  • written exam: 2 hour 15 minutes
  • 96 marks
  • 60% of GCSE

Questions
Section A Modern text: students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on their studied modern prose or drama text.
Section B Poetry: students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.
Section C Unseen poetry: Students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.

Homework expectations

Students should spend one hour a week on homework at least. Independent study and revision should be completed at least 3 times a week.

Trips and Visits

Theatre Trips/Performances

Students are given the opportunity to watch a performance of some of the prescribed texts at GCSE. These opportunities may be performed by a professional theatre company in school or at The Globe Theatre.

How can I support my child at home?

Parental support is 8 times more important in determining a child’s academic success than social class. The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert in any of the subjects your child chooses to make a real difference.

Having an understanding of topical world news issues is essential for the new language GCSE. Watching the news and reading broadsheet newspapers will develop cultural capital and help students to have material for writing questions.

Activities to complete:

  1. Study an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper or on the internet. Decide who the audience is, and how you know, what is the advert trying to say and how it says it. Think carefully about the words and images that have been used. Think about the size of the picture and the words – what effect is the advert trying to have on you? Jot down some words to describe the effect you think the advertiser is trying to create and then use a thesaurus and develop and extend your vocabulary.
  2. Read a newspaper report from The Guardian, The Times, The Independent or The Telegraph. Write a short summary of the article in your own words.
  3. Go on to the BBC Bitesize web site, English section and complete the Reading Non-Fiction Texts section: Getting started, genre, audience, purpose, language, information, style, tone.
  4. Compare two articles; they should be discussing a similar topic with different viewpoints. E.G An article on Homework and the benefits, with another writer’s different attitude.
  5. Go onto the BBC Bitesize Web site, Reading Non-Fiction Texts section and complete the comparative exercise and the comparative exam question.
  6. Here is the opening to an essay: ‘Write a persuasive article for a teenage fashion magazine about whether following fashion is important’. Remember who your audience is and what your purpose is.
  7. Plan a response to this question: Write an article for a newsletter in which you aim to persuade your readers that animals should be released from any form of captivity.
  8. Read a Sunday paper. Choose a substantial article and using the table, analyse the effectiveness of the article. Allow yourself twenty five minutes and write an essay which explains how the writer communicates with the reader.
  9. Allow 50 minutes to plan and answer this question: Describe your ideal holiday location. Use a wide range of adjectives and descriptive writing techniques.
  10. Watch news reports, documentaries, read newspapers about issues like: healthy eating/teenage crime/smoking/drinking/drugs/environment issues/bullying.
  11. Practise writing 5 minute plans for writing questions.

Recommended GCSE websites:

Recommended GCSE texts or revision guides:

  • CGP Revision guides are available for the Language GCSE and all Literature texts- we would recommend any CGP revision guides.
  • Collins AQA GCSE Language and Literature: All-in-One Revision and practice.

Handwriting clubs

Handwriting clubs is held on Tuesdays after school. Students can work on and improve their handwriting to ensure their presentation is to the highest standard.

Homework Club

Homework club is run after school on Thursdays after school. Students can seek help from an English teacher to complete their homework.