The aim of our English curriculum is to produce resourceful, creative and resilient citizens who have an excellent standard of English to use in their everyday lives and future careers. We provide students with a framework for understanding the world around them, including how to respond critically to different media, so that they can successfully navigate adult life. Students are empowered to become effective written and verbal communicators, who have the confidence to articulate their opinions and ideas and thrive in an academically challenging environment. We also place significant value on fostering an appreciation of literature from a range of cultures, genres and time periods.
Key Stage Three:
English challenges students to be imaginative, analytical and thoughtful. The key stage three curriculum is designed to inspire students to be creative and inquisitive, whilst equipping them with life-long reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. These are taught through varied and challenging texts which encourage an appreciation of literature from a variety of angles. Each text provokes intellectual debates about social, moral, spiritual, cultural and emotional issues, allowing students to develop and question these areas of their own character in a safe environment.
Years 7 and 8 study texts chronologically to understand the progression of the English language. They begin with the Medieval text Beowulf before reading Chaucer, Shakespeare, poetry by Romantic, Victorian and modern poets; and nineteenth/early twentieth century novels. Initially, the focus is on understanding and responding to these complex texts, but students will advance to analysing linguistic and structural choices made by a writer. Students also explore the context surrounding texts so that they can respond in an increasingly critical way to the themes and ideas.
Using their literary study as a foundation, students are taught to write original and coherent pieces for different audiences and purposes, including to describe, narrate, persuade, argue and advise. They have regular opportunities to improve their spelling, punctuation and grammar and time is dedicated to strengthening their creative and academic vocabulary.
Key Stage Four:
The GCSE English course is split into two qualifications: English Language and English Literature. Our students follow the AQA exam board’s specification. Students complete the majority of their Literature study in year 10 so that their focus in year 11 can be on applying their knowledge of the texts to the exam questions. Pupils also study their English Language GSCE components in year 10 before refining their skills for this GCSE in year 11.
GCSE English Language:
- Students are assessed on their ability to read and respond to a fictional extract from a work of literature. They also have to demonstrate their descriptive or narrative writing skills.
- This examination is 1 hour 45 minutes and it is worth 50% of the GCSE.
- Students’ reading skills are assessed through their responses to two non-fiction texts. They are also assessed on their ability to write from a specific viewpoint.
- The examination is 1 hour 45 minutes and it is worth 50% of the GCSE.
Spoken Language Non-Exam Assessment:
- Students are assessed on their ability to present, respond to questions and use Standard English.
- This is graded separately to the English Language GCSE grade as either Distinction, Merit, Pass or Fail.
GCSE English Literature:
Paper 1: Macbeth, by William Shakespeare and A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.
- Assesses students’ knowledge and understanding of both a Shakespeare play and a 19th century novel. Students are required to write in detail about the play and the novel chosen.
- This examination is 1 hour 45 minutes and it is worth 40% of the GCSE.
Paper 2: An Inspector Calls, by J. B. Priestley and an anthology of poetry about power and conflict.
- Assesses students’ knowledge and understanding of a modern text and a poetry anthology.
- Students are required to write in detail about the modern text and will answer one comparative question from the chosen anthology cluster. Furthermore, they will respond to two unseen poems.
- This examination is 2 hours 15 minutes and it is worth 60% of the GCSE.
Most college and universities will require a grade 4 in English Language or Literature. Students who do not reach this grade at the end of Year 11 are now required to re-sit their GCSE English Language at college, up to the age of 18.