At Key Stage 3 Schemes of Learning are linked to the renewed National Literacy Strategy and each unit addresses a number of the assessment foci. All KS3 groups are taught in banded groups based on their potential and current need. Improving active teaching and learning strategies has been a particular focus; we have moved away from students being passive recipients of knowledge to active and participatory learners.
In Year 7, students have 7 lessons a week, including one library lesson. Students study descriptive writing, non-fiction articles, Shakespeare, a novel (My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece), as well as poetry, in order to develop skills required for the GCSE English Literature and English Language exam papers.
In Year 8, students have 6 lessons a week, including one library lesson. Students study dystopian fiction, a novel (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time), poetry and Shakespeare in order to further develop GCSE English Literature and English Language skills. There is a focus throughout on the assessment objectives linked to the GCSE papers.
We believe it is essential to bridge the gap between KS2, KS3 and KS4, and so students become familiar with Assessment Objectives and the criteria for success in order to refine their learning in each year.
Stretch and Challenge!
Students in Y7 and Y8 are also currently completing one 'stretch and challenge' lesson per week, which requires them to engage with current affairs and develop their reading and writing skills even further in order to push for top marks. The emphasis on these lessons is to develop creative and imaginative ideas to organise their writing fluently and technically accurate. Student voice surveys continue to show that our students really enjoy these lessons.
Key Stage 4
In Years 9 and 10, students have five English lessons over the week. We currently follow the new AQA GCSE Specification for English and English Literature. Students will receive a grade 1-9 under this new format.
At Key Stage 4, students are banded in ability groups. These vary from year to year depending on the cohort. We ensure the English specification moves away from the previous emphasis on completing units of the GCSE and instead focuses on building students' skills and understanding across units. Year 9 students are being prepared for the new format of GCSE which will be examined in June 2017.
Set texts for English Literature include Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and My Hyde, Dickens' A Christmas Carol and Priestley's An Inspector Calls, as well as a range of poetry. For English Language, students study various unseen extracts to practise skills of analysis for Section A, as well as practising descriptive and persuasive writing skills for Section B.
Both English Language and English Literature are extremely valuable GCSEs to have, as they are qualifications that demonstrate understanding and communication skills. These are crucial in any future workplace.
In Year 11, students have 6 lessons a week. Through a personalised and tailored programme of learning, all students have the support they need to approach this crucial examination year. Their progress is measured on a weekly basis, and reviewed every three weeks to ensure they can be successful in this subject area.
Key Stage 5
We offer English Literature at post-16, and in recent years the course has proven to be the most popular KS5 course with our students. Again, results are encouraging. We follow AQA Specification B, and have again renewed all planning for this subject. We have renewed schemes of work to encourage personal study and independent learning opportunities to support our move away from a teacher-centred classroom to a learner-centred classroom.