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Students in a lesson, with teacher providing support


Outline of the subject: English offers students the opportunity to develop their critical and analytical skills, as well as encouraging creativity and confidence in speaking. Students encounter a wide and stimulating range of texts and authors, and a variety of media texts, such as films and news reports.

In Key Stage 3 the emphasis is on nurturing a creative and analytical approach to reading and writing, while giving many opportunities to articulate a personal viewpoint in group and class discussions. In Key Stage 4 these skills are developed and refined, with an increasing emphasis on independent thinking and the organisation of ideas into a coherent argument in preparation for the GCSE English Language and English Literature examinations.

In Key Stage 5 English is studied at IB and A level, where English Literature is offered. The skills being developed in English are transferrable to most other areas of the curriculum and the subject can be combined with many others, including the sciences.

There are many opportunities for extra-curricular activities, such as theatre visits, creative writing and debating and literature discussion groups.

Course Offerings

Course Title Qualifications Obtainable Awarding Body
Key Stage 4 Courses
English Language GCSE AQA
English Literature GCSE AQA
Key Stage 5 Courses
English Literature A Level AQA
English IB (Standard or Higher) IB

Year 7
Curriculum Content: In Year 7 students develop skills in all three areas of the English Curriculum: reading, writing and spoken language. Students study a variety of texts, both non-fiction and fiction, and are given the opportunity to produce their own creative writing.

Non-fiction texts include newspapers and elements of the media. Fiction encompasses a host of genres including the novel ‘Refugee Boy’ by Benjamin Zephaniah, the plays ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare and ‘Our Day Out’ by Willy Russell, along with a variety of poetry. Students creativity is developed through an ‘Island Project’.

Year 8
Curriculum Content: In Year 8 students continue to develop skills in all three areas of the English Curriculum: reading, writing and spoken language. Students will study a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts whilst retaining the opportunity to be creative.

Students study famous speeches and produce their own debate, the highlight of which is a debating competition at the end of Term 1. They will also continue to study Shakespeare with ‘Twelfth Night’. Students’ appreciation of literature is further harnessed through studying a collection of Gothic texts and love poems where they will also have the opportunity to produce their own Poetry Anthology. Students will also study the play ‘Pygmalion’ by Bernard Shaw and will further develop their critical skills through the ‘Novel Project’ where they argue why a novel of their own choice should be presented with a prize for Literature.

Year 9
Curriculum Content: Students in Year 9 undertake studies that prepare them for the demands of GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. The course follows the GCSE model in that students will have to analyse a modern play (‘A View from the Bridge’ by Arthur Miller), a Shakespeare play (‘Macbeth’), poetry and 19th century literature. They will also have to create and respond to a range of fiction and non-fiction writing. The tasks – and the way in which these tasks are assessed – follow the GCSE criteria. In Term 6, students begin their GCSE English Language course where they study narrative and descriptive writing for Paper 1 Section B.
Year 10
Curriculum Content: In Year 10 students continue studying for their English Language and English Literature GCSEs. They focus on different aspects of the exams they will sit in Year 11, studying the necessary texts and undertaking GCSE style assessments. The units covered in Year 10 include:

Literature Paper 2 Section A: ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J. B. Priestley

Literature Paper 2 Section B: A Poetry Anthology

Language Paper 1 Section A: Unseen fiction extracts from the 20th and 21st centuries

Literature Paper 2 Section C: Unseen poetry

Language Paper 2 Section A: Non-fiction texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries

Students will also complete the non-exam assessment component of the English Language GCSE which is a Spoken Language presentation.

Year 11
Curriculum Content: In Year 11 students complete their English Language and English Literature GCSE courses. There will also be time to consolidate the learning from Year 10, as students are not examined on anything they have learnt over the two years until the summer of Year 11. The remaining units are:

Literature Paper 1 Section A: ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare

Literature Paper 1 Section B: ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens

Language Paper 2 Section B: Writing for specified audiences and purposes

Accelerated Curriculum Content: AS Level Creative Writing

For the academic year 2015/16 only, there will be a small cohort Year 11 students who completed their GCSEs in English at the end of Year 10. These students will undertake an AS in Creative Writing, and will study the following units:

Unit 1: Writing on Demand

Unit 2: Creative Writing

Year 12 and 13
Curriculum Content: In Years 12 and 13, students can choose between two pathways in English: A Level or IB. Both these qualifications consist of a two year course with examinations at the end of Year 13. Students study a range of texts from a variety of genres, developing their skills of analysis. Whether students study A Level or IB, they are required to read widely and be able to construct clear lines of argument based on what they have read.

A Level English Literature

Paper 1: Love through the ages

  • Section A: ‘Othello’ by William Shakespeare
  • Section B: Unseen poetry
  • Section C: Comparing texts: ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald with a pre-1900 poetry anthology

Paper 2: Modern times: Literature from 1945 to the present day

  • Section A: ‘Feminine Gospels’ by Carol Ann Duffy
  • Section B: Unseen Prose and a comparative essay on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams

Non-exam assessment: Independent critical study

Comparative critical study of two texts, at least one of which must have been written pre-1900

Year 12 IB
Curriculum Content: Year 12 course content: study of three texts: ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’. ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ and some poetry by Plath will contribute towards an oral assessment worth 15% of your overall grade.

The study of two or three works in translation, ‘Perfume’, ‘The Outsider’ and ‘To Each His Own’ (Higher) will be used to form an essay worth 25% of the final grade. At the end of the year, you will begin study of a selection of work from Carol Ann Duffy and ‘The Awakening’ (Higher) for the final 15% of the oral assessment (IA).

Year 13 IB
Curriculum Content: Year 13 course content: study of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ will complete the texts required for the final part of the IA.

Study of unseen prose and unseen poetry will inform work required for Paper 1 20% (exam) and the study of three or four (Higher) plays; ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’; ‘Top Girls’, ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and ‘Death of a Salesman’ will prepare students for Paper 2 25% (exam).