Key Stage 3
In Years 7 and 8, students have five English lessons per week, with one Library lesson. Schemes of work linked to the renewed National Literacy Strategy are available across the Key Stage and each unit addresses a number of the assessment foci. All of KS3 is 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.
Year 7: Students study descriptive writing, non fiction articles, Shakespeare and 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.
Year 8: 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.
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.
Key Stage 4
In Years 10 and 11, 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.
The department offers GCSE Media Studies as an option. In its first year 45 students opted to study Media and this number has steadily increased making Media one of the most popular option choices. For Year 11 the exam topic will be Music Press. We offer AS and A2 Media which are also popular courses. We follow the AQA specifications at KS4 and KS5; the introduction of new specifications have meant we have completely renewed our planning for both key stages, to ensure that pupils have opportunities to make more progress by linking learning objectives across different components in the course.
Key Stage 5
We offer English Language and 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.
Intervention sessions, breakfast clubs and holiday classes are held to ensure the success of all students; this is planned to continue this academic year. Summer school, for year 6 students, has been a successful joint venture with the Literacy department for many years, and is set to continue.