Welcome to our English Department!
We have eight members of staff in our department, all of whom are committed to helping every student make excellent progress in our subject and develop a love of reading.
We monitor students’ progress carefully with regular levelled or graded assessments every two to three weeks. However, we also focus on checking how students are progressing in every lesson and strongly encourage students to check and assess their work.
All our English lessons from years seven to eleven begin with five to ten minutes reading in class where students choose, and are responsible for, bringing in a reading book of their own.
Key Stage 3
For each term we take an important theme in English. We introduce students to a wide range of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry related to this theme as well as giving students plenty of opportunities to develop their skills in reading, writing and speaking and listening. We group students into three ability bands, enabling us to set targeted worked and use texts appropriate for different abilities.
We set a reading and writing homework every week, which is differentiated, so that all students are encouraged to read widely and practise the skills being taught in that week’s lessons. Because the texts chosen for homework are differentiated, some of the books aimed at our more-able students do occasionally contain adult language or themes because these students are making the move into young adult fiction and require challenging books aimed at reading ages of fifteen and above. (All these texts have either been used by exam boards at GCSE level or are classics books in a particular genre.) For a list of all the class texts and homework books, please see the section after KS4.
Key Stage 4
Year 9 acts as a transition year, moving students from Key Stage 3 into Key Stage 4 and GCSEs. They study Shakespeare, Great War Literature (narrative and poetry) as well as some 19th Century texts. Our year nine course builds on the key skills of imaginative and analytical writing developed in years seven and eight, continuing to prepare students for the requirements and challenges of the GCSEs shortly ahead. We also aim to help students make the move towards adult fiction, encouraging all students to read regularly and widely.
Our current year 10 & 11 students are following the Edexcel course in English Language and AQA course in English Literature. All GCSEs nationally are now linear course, meaning students complete all exams at the end of the two years.
Students complete two examinations for English Language, which assess them on their ability to analyse and respond to both non-fiction and fiction texts, as well as extended creative writing. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are assessed and make up 20% of their overall grade. All texts for this exam are unseen.
English Literature requires the students to study a 19th Century text (either The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde or A Christmas Carol); an anthology of conflict poetry; a Shakespeare play (Macbeth) and a modern text (An Inspector Calls or Blood Brothers). The students sit two examinations, all of which are closed book, and require the students to comment on a provided extract and respond to the texts as a whole.
Students can order study guides for all of these texts from the school shop and we also recommend that students buy their own copy of the texts themselves for £1.99 from Wordsworth Classics.