Subject Leader English
Lead Practitioner of English
Mr G Hughes
Ms S Ahmed
Mrs D Cutting
The teachers in the English department are committed to developing critical and creative thinkers who collaborate and communicate effectively. We strive to promote inquiry-based learning by using class discussions, Socratic seminars, and research opportunities, where students gather information, use textual evidence to support their claims, and evaluate sources.
The English teachers help students learn to read critically, evaluate rhetorical strategies, write analytically (including argument and synthesis essays and literary analyses), speak effectively, and to view diverse, complex texts thoughtfully, so they will have the skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly complex, ever-changing world.
We seek to inspire and motivate our students – to help them become life-long learners and to understand that reading, writing, speaking, and listening are universal skills that will be used throughout their lives. We strongly believe that the study of language and the imaginative world of literature will help our students to gain empathy, demonstrate tolerance, and consider other perspectives so they can better understand themselves and the world in which they live.
Teachers are encouraged to be creative in all lessons in order to ensure that students become independent learners; students should take the lead in the lessons and feel they have ownership of their learning. Schemes of work, provide guidance for teachers and ensure common outcomes are achieved at the end of each half term.
The department is well resourced and has a broad range of fiction and non-fiction texts. It is essential that we teach students using both books and new media, therefore every classroom is well equipped. It is through texts that language is explored and analysed. Many moral and ethical issues are raised through reading and students should question opinions and thought, and learn to formulate their own views on society and the world. It is essential they are provided with opportunities to question and debate.
It is our aim to develop students who speak fluently and listen closely thus ensuring they can articulate and deal with the successes and stresses of living in the modern world.
Students are set on ability. There are 4 one hour lessons a week for KS3 and 5 for KS4, with additional literacy support where necessary in KS3.
Homework is set every two weeks in accordance with academy policy.
In English lessons students will concentrate on the three main skills of speaking and listening, reading and writing. They will be given opportunities to speak, formally and informally, and listen to others with understanding in a variety of settings. They will also learn the appropriate forms of spoken English for different situations.
They will read a wide variety of novels, poetry and plays, including Shakespeare, and discuss and write about what they have read. They will also be able to borrow books from the school library and be encouraged to read for their own enjoyment. They will learn how to write in a variety of forms and styles so that they can express themselves confidently and clearly on paper. The skills of spelling, punctuation and grammar are taught as an integral part of this.
For additional reading, pupils should move their reading choices beyond fiction and onto non-fiction. During the GCSE English Language examination, pupils will be expected to read and write pieces of non-fiction. As preparation for this, pupils should read one article from a newspaper / magazine of their choice every week. It is not necessary that pupils read the entire newspaper or magazine. Instead, discretion is advised. They should choose an article that they believe they will enjoy, and read that entirely.
Students are required to provide their own pens, pencils and coloured pencils. It is also advisable for each student to have his/her own pocket-sized dictionary and thesaurus.
How Parents Can Help
Parents can help by regularly asking their child what they learned in English that day. By explaining what they have learned, this will enable students to reflect on their learning and allow parents to be proactive in their child's development in English. Additionally, by providing their child with a quiet place to complete homework; by encouraging them to join a local library; and to read and write for their own enjoyment, encouraging them to read non-fiction such as newspapers.
Key Stage 3
The units of work that pupils will study at Key Stage 3 (years 7-9) are listed below. The units build on work that pupils have studied at primary school, and lead naturally to the development of skills required at GCSE.
Autumn Term 1 – Autobiographical writing
Pupils will spend this half-term reading and writing autobiographical pieces, using their own life experiences as a springboard to tell stories and anecdotes. Pupils will also gain a greater awareness of the genre of autobiography, and how it differs from fiction, and other forms of non-fiction, through the study of quality autobiographical texts.
Autumn Term 2 – Modern novel
Pupils will study, in depth, a modern novel, identifying language devices used by the author, and how these techniques create impressions on the reader. Pupils will gain not only a word-level appreciation of the text, but a full understanding of its structure – how the narrative connects from beginning, to middle, and then end.
Spring Term 1 – Non-fiction / media and marketing
This unit of work will provide a grounding in applying, and explaining the impact of, a range of persuasive devices. Pupils will study language-based marketing techniques, ending in an assessment that involves them writing a persuasive advertisement for a fictional product.
Spring Term 2 – An introduction to Shakespeare
Here, students will study a range of Shakespeare texts, sampling Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. The emphasis of the unit is on both depth and breadth of learning, as pupils scrutinise extracts from a variety of different plays.
Summer Term 1 – Poetry and prose of childhood
This unit of work will revolve around the theme of childhood experiences, sampling a range of prose texts from a variety of different time periods and genres (such as Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Life of Pi by Yann Martel). Poetry will also be studied, providing pupils with a grounding in identifying and explaining the form and impact of poetry, and how this differs from prose.
Summer Term 2 – Creative writing
Here, pupils will begin to apply the literary devices studied over the entirety of year 7, crafting narrative pieces that are rich in descriptive detail, and firm in plot structure. A variety of visual and auditory stimuli will be used in lessons to engage pupils into producing high quality extended creative pieces.
Year 8 / Units of Work Descriptors
Autumn Term 1 - Of Mice and Men
Pupils will study the classic John Steinbeck text, moving through textual analysis to an understanding of the themes and context that permeate the novel – the Great Depression in 1920s America, and the American Dream.
Autumn Term 2 - Literature of World War I
During this term, pupils will analyse a range of poems from classic war poets such as Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke, to modern poetic commentators on war such as Owen Sheers. Continuity will be established between the work on poetry completed in Summer Term 1 of year 7, as ideas concerning the structure and form of poetry are developed and embedded.
Spring Term 1 – Modern Play
Here, pupils will study a modern play in full, being given a comprehensive introduction to the differences between play scripts and written fictional texts. One teaching focus is to emphasise the importance of acting a script, rather than simply reading it, and this will show itself in the range of drama-style activities employed by teachers during this unit of work.
Spring Term 2 – Great Speeches
Pupils will study the impact of rhetorical devices used in a range of culturally significant speeches from Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, Winston Churchill, and Emma Watson. Time will also be apportioned to the study of speeches from fiction texts (such as Shakespeare), and famous speeches from film and television.
Summer Term 1 – Romeo and Juliet
Here, pupils are given the opportunity to robustly study Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in full. The unit serves as an introduction to the study of a complete Shakespeare text, which will be continued in year 10 as pupils study Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The unit also serves as an opportunity to embed the Assessment Objectives (AOs) that will be a prominent feature of later GCSE study.
Summer Term 2 – Graphic novels
The final half-term’s work will focus on the study of a graphic novel, establishing and developing themes of morality and good versus evil across a different form to traditional written texts. The end of half-term assessment will involve pupils devising an excerpt from a graphic novel that focuses on a protagonist facing a moral dilemma.
Year 9 / Units of Work Descriptors
Autumn 1 – Non-fiction
This unit of work focuses on establishing the foundations to be built on further at Key Stage 4 English Language. Pupils will read and write a range of non-fiction texts, developing skills in analysis, comparison, and synthesis of information.
Autumn 2 – Modern Drama
Pupils will read a second modern play, building on the skills established in Spring Term 1 of year 8. A teaching focus will be on widening and extending pupils’ vocabulary, to be consolidated at Key Stage 4, where pupils will study a 19th century piece of drama.
Spring 1 – Poetry of Power
Here, pupils will study a range of poetry on power themes: military power, the power of nature, and the power of emotions, amongst others. Pupils will acquire the key skills necessary for the study of the WJEC Eduqas Poetry Anthology at Key Stage 4, where many of these themes permeate the poems focused on.
Spring 2 – Creative Writing
Pupils will spend this unit of work learning to devise quality pieces of creative writing, developing the skills necessary for the Component 1 English Language paper, sat at the end of Key Stage 4. Pupils will learn to devise successful descriptions, employing a range of literary devices, alongside producing narratives that include consistent characters, scenes, and themes.
Summer 1 – Shakespeare’s heroes and villains
The work in this unit will provide a contextual basis for pupils’ Key Stage 4 study of Macbeth. Pupils will be introduced to a range of Shakespearian villains across a variety of plays, the roles of protagonists and antagonists, and the function of heroes and villains within the wider framework of plays / texts.
Summer 2 – The study of a novel
The final unit of work in year 9 will involve the in-depth study of a novel in a Key Stage 4 style – identifying (and memorising) key quotations, tracking character development, and identifying important themes. Pupils will also be taught to analyse language, structure, and form in paragraphs that meet the criteria of the GCSE English Literature examination.
Key Stage 4
Literature Course Outline:
- Component 1 - Shakespeare and Poetry. Students will study: Macbeth and an Anthology of Poetry from 1789 to the present day (exam - 2 hours).
- Component 2 - Post 1914 Prose/Drama, 19th Century Prose and Unseen Poetry. Students will study: An Inspector Calls and A Christmas Carol. There is an unseen poetry question as well (Exam - 2 hours and 30 minutes).
Language Course Outline:
- Component 1 - 20th Century Literature Reading and Creative Prose Writing (Exam - 1 hour 45 minutes).
- Component 2 - 19th and 21st Century Non-Fiction Reading and Transactional/Persuasive Writing (Exam - 2 hours).
- Component 3 - Spoken Language (Internally assessed).
Key Stage 5
Students study the specification from Edexcel and will gain an A-level at the end of Year 13. All exams will be take in June of Year 13.
- Component 1: Drama - a study of one Shakespeare text and one other drama text using critical essays to analyse the ideas presented (exam 2 hours and 15 minutes).
- Component 2: Prose - a study of two texts creating a comparative essay (exam 1 hour).
- Component 3: Poetry – a study of poetry from a specific literary period or movement (exam 2 hours and 15 minutes).
- Component 4: Coursework – a study of at least two texts across a given theme. Independent work is encouraged as much as possible with this unit (2500 to 3000 word comparative essay).