The English Department consists of teachers from a wide range of disciplines ranging from specialists in English Literature, Film, Media and Drama. This provides us with a broad range of skills to enhance the learning of our students. The vision of the department is to work collaboratively and to share ideas and resources; this means that we have an exciting and lively curriculum
Key Stage 3
The national curriculum is divided into four key assessment areas: reading, writing, spelling, punctuation, grammar, vocabulary and spoken language. All of these are incorporated in our comprehensive theme based schemes.
In our programmes of study students are introduced to a wide range of literature both in guided reading and in our schemes of work. They are encouraged to read widely and independently for enjoyment and their progress is tracked through the Accelerated Reader programme which is available for students throughout Key Stage 3. Students can access this programme at home, providing an invaluable resource to parents who can track their progress.
Within our theme based schemes students will experience a range of genres, including plays, novels, non-fiction texts, short stories and poetry. The schemes are built to prepare students for the rigours of the new final examinations and also to provide them with the skills to become literate citizens of the future with an understanding of the world and its cultures both past and present.
Students will be taught to write accurately in a variety of styles. They will be taught to write concisely with an awareness of purpose and audience. There will be regular opportunities for extended writing to provide students with an opportunity to develop a love and satisfaction in their own writing. Next step will be given regularly through DNA to ensure students develop these skills.
Spelling, Punctuation, Grammar and Vocabulary.
Students continue to build on their knowledge of spelling, punctuation, grammar and vocabulary from Key Stage 2. This will involve regular spelling tests and developing their use of a wider range of punctuation. In addition they will regularly analyse the impact of vocabulary choices and grammar in the texts they read, as well as using these for effect in their own writing. Students will be encouraged to use Standard English in their own writing and language terminology when discussing their work and the work of others.
Speaking and Listening
Within schemes of work students will have regular opportunities to develop their spoken language within a range of formal and informal contexts. There will be classroom discussion groups, short presentations and short speaking tasks. Through these students will be encouraged to express their own ideas and develop, not only their oral skills, but their listening skills too.
In Year 7 we aim to develop a love of English and our schemes provide a breadth of learning experiences. Students begin by studying myths and legends, followed by the Horovitz Horror – The Writer’s Craft and Macbeth. Through these units we provide students with opportunities to become confident readers and writers with a particular focus on their technical accuracy. In addition we emphasise the need to read and we introduce students to a series of challenges to reinforce the Accelerated Reader programme.
In Year 8 we continue with our aim to engage students but with an increased emphasis on challenge. Our schemes include The Cult of Celebrity, a Children's Classic unit, alongside a study of War Poetry and Biography. Through these schemes students are trained to reinforce their reading and writing skills at a higher level in preparation for the rigours of GCSE.
In year 9 students will consolidate and develop the skills they learnt in years 7 and 8 in preparation for their GCSE course. They are also introduced to the more challenging texts that they will experience at GCSE. These include a study of pre-nineteenth century texts and an introduction to a selection of the poems that are included in the GCSE anthology.
Assessments are undertaken at the end of each unit and these will inform half termly assessments. Students are informed of the results of their assessment and they are provided with a clear next step to enable them to move to the next level in their learning.
Key Stage 4
Students follow the Eduqas English language and English literature, specification 2015 which was first awarded in 2017. This specification follows the new assessment model of 100% terminal exam and the students will be awarded a grade between 1 and 9.
Students will sit two exams in GCSE English language:
Component 1: 20th Century reading and creative prose writing
Section A: students read one literature based fiction text and answer five questions.
Section B: students select and create one narrative prose piece of writing.
Component 2: 19th and 21st Century non-fiction reading and transactional/persuasive writing
Section A: involves reading one non-fiction text from the 19th Century and one non-fiction text from the 21st Century and students answer six analytical questions.
Section B: students are required to create two transactional/persuasive texts in response to two prompts.
Students will sit two exams in GCSE English literature:
Component 1: Shakespeare and the poetry anthology
Section A: Students will be provided with an extract from Romeo and Juliet and will be required to analyse how this portrays the themes or the relationships of the characters in the play. They will then be required to respond to a question about the play as a whole.
Section B: Students will respond analytically to one question focusing on a named poem from the anthology, then they will be asked to compare this poem with a poem of their choice from the anthology.
Component 2: Post-1914 prose/drama, 19th century prose and unseen poetry.
Section A: Students will be provided with an extract from Blood Brothers. They will be required to analyse this in detail and relate this to the play as a whole.
Section B: Students will also be provided with an extract from A Christmas Carol. Students will be required to analyse this extract, the story as a whole and its context.
Section C: Unseen poetry. Students will analyse a given poem for structure, form, language and meaning and will compare this with a second poem.
In Year 10 students will have the opportunity to create a presentation followed by a question and answer session which will provide the assessment for their spoken language endorsement. This does not contribute to their GCSE grade.
Useful text books
CGP - GCSE English Language WJEC Eduqas Workbook - for the Grade 9-1 Course
Oxford - WJEC Eduqas GCSE English Language: Revision workbook
Hodder - WJEC Eduqas GCSE English Literature Skills for Literature and the Unseen Poetry Student Book
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Blood Brothers by Willy Russell
Note: We have also created revision booklets that students will be given
The English Department runs the Literary Festival each summer after the exams. During the festival authors, songwriters and storytellers are invited into the Academy and students are invited to participate in various workshops or performances. In addition students themselves perform in a range of speaking and listening competitions or presentations.
During the year a film club is run by the department at lunchtime to encourage students to enjoy and discuss films.