The aim by the end of Year 7 is for all students to have made outstanding progress, have a firm grasp of literary analysis and have developed a love of reading. At the beginning of Year 7, students complete a two week Transition unit on Greek Myths through which they are assessed for reading, writing, speaking and listening to gain a solid understanding of their current ability. Students are then introduced to a wide range of literary genres (war poetry, A Monster Calls, Macbeth) with the aim of embedding the skills necessary for them to secure outstanding grades at GCSE. They will begin to think about the ‘meaning’ of texts and the deliberate craft of writers, but also be encouraged to write creatively as shown through the creation of their own ‘autobiography’.
In Year 8, besides the continued focus on literacy, students are encouraged to develop their independent learning and group work skills. They are exposed to texts from different eras and different parts of the world (Of Mice and Men, for example) to help them develop their wider reading and cultural capital. Students’ writing skills are further refined through a module focussing on the moving image before being rehearsed in writing for a range of purposes and audiences. Speaking and listening is embedded throughout in order to ensure students are able to communicate clearly and discuss topics with purpose.
Students begin Key Stage 4 in Year 9, although no external examinations or assessments are sat. The aim in Year 9 is to prepare students for GCSEs and to familiarise them with the assessment objectives and level of challenge that GCSE offers. Students study texts similar to those they will be examined on in Year 11: Sherlock Holmes short stories, Macbeth and poetry from other cultures. They will also be introduced to the GCSE English Language style examination through studying excerpts from a variety of Dystopian novels.
This year sees students beginning to study texts that they will be examined on in Year 11. The literature curriculum at GCSE, offered by AQA, requires students to consider the significance of Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet) and a pre-19th century novel (The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde) as well as exploring ‘power and conflict’ poetry across time. Alongside this, students’ English Language skills are developed to ensure they analyse the writers use of language and structure effectively whilst also being able to voice coherent, developed personal responses to texts. By the end of this year students will also have completed the Speaking and Listening component of the course.
Students continue to enhance their skills of analyse this year, firstly through the study of the final text in the GCSE Literature scheme, J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls. They are given opportunities to attempt past papers and to familiarise themselves with exam questions and techniques for both the Literature and Language papers. Students will be encouraged to develop their own, sophisticated reading of texts, informed by wider critical reading; the aim being to prepare students for A Level.
Years 12 and 13
Students follow the OCR English Literature scheme of study. The course offers a breadth of study in regards to texts and genres and is well regarded in relation to university applications. In Year 12, they engage with a number of exciting texts from across genres: A Streetcar Named Desire, Paradise Lost Books IX and X, Hamlet and Nineteen Eighty-Four. These texts are continued over into Year 13 where they are supplemented by new texts, such as The Handmaid’s Tale, to develop a nuanced understanding of each literary style. Year 13 also offers the opportunity to complete three pieces of coursework which encourage students to take a synoptic approach to texts, engaging critically with each which will help prepare them for further study in the future.