The English Department
Students in Years 7 and 8 will study a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts to develop their appreciation and understanding of language in a range of forms. This will include the study of poetry, novels and a complete play by Shakespeare in Year 7 and 8. In addition, students will study genre, including analysis of detective, gothic and science-fiction. There is a strong emphasis upon reading comprehension skills in Years 7 and 8, and students will be taught to read closely and analytically. In addition, students will learn how to write in a range of forms with an emphasis on clear, effective and technically accurate writing. Students will learn how to write to inform, explain, persuade and to describe, and they will have the opportunity to produce a range of creative writing assignments over the course of Years 7 and 8. Finally, students will be expected to develop strong and effective skills in speaking and listening through class discussion and debate, together with group and independent presentations.
It is important to embed key GCSE skills in Year 7 and 8 and, to that end, teachers will be focusing on the key skills required at GCSE from the very start of the course. These include a close analytical focus on a writer’s use of language, looking at the way texts are structured, and responding to the effectiveness of a writer’s techniques. Formal essay writing skills are also taught early on, including the use of evidence, structuring the students’ writing for high impact, persuasive methods, and a range of sophisticated techniques to create fluent, dynamic essays.
There is regular assessment of Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar skills, in order to deal effectively with any issues. Teachers will introduce students to a range of exciting and challenging texts in order to promote and foster a love of reading and literature in general. There are regular creative writing competitions and poetry competitions in order to highlight student achievement.
Students will begin their GCSE English course in Year 9 with an emphasis on building a strong foundation for success in the new specification examinations. The Year 9 course will give students a firm introduction to key skills in reading, analysis, evaluation and writing using a range of texts. Students will study texts closely, looking carefully at how writers use structure, form and language to create mood and meaning.
In Year 10 students will focus on the key texts for the literature exams and practise their reading and writing skills for the language examinations. As all examinations are now closed book, they will need to develop their understanding and knowledge of the key texts in detail.
- Students will take two examinations in language
- Students will take two examinations in literature
- All examinations are closed book
- Students will study the following texts:
- A play by Shakespeare
- An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley
- A selection of poetry
- Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde or A Christmas Carol
The English Department teaches the AQA English Literature B specification, a two year linear course with examination in the summer of year 13.
Students will study texts through genre with units of crime literature and Tragedy. Students are expected to purchase their own copies of set examination texts, and these include:
William Shakespeare: Othello and Richard II
F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
Graham Greene: Brighton Rock
Kate Atkinson: When Will There Be Good News
We aim to foster independent learners and students are encouraged to follow their own preferences in their selection of coursework texts.
The specification requires students to write two full coursework pieces of 1500 words each. The focus here is on the study of literature through critical theory, with teaching across: Feminist theory; Post-colonial theory and Narrative theory.
Beyond the curriculum:
The English Department is determined to offer a range of exciting enrichment activities for all students. Students are encouraged to participate in a range of activities and competitions which allow students to understand the authentic value of literature and language in the world. Weekly clubs include:
- Public Speaking
- Creative Writing
In addition, we offer a Literary Society for 6th Form students, which meets fortnightly to discuss a range of literature beyond the syllabus. Student led choices have included: Marlowe’s ‘Dr Faustus’; Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ and Carter’s ‘Nights at the Circus.’
Trips to the theatre are encouraged and supported, with many literature students taking advantage of the National Theatre Live and Royal Shakespeare Company Live screenings in cinemas. In Year 12, study is enriched with a live broadcast and discussion of an RSC performance from Stratford. In Year 13, students spend a day at The Globe Theatre, London, with a bespoke study day on key set text, Othello.