At the beginning of Year 7, students complete a brief ‘autobiography’ unit, through which they are assessed for reading, writing, speaking and listening to gain a solid understanding of where they are. The aim by the end of Year 7 is for all students to have made outstanding progress. Students are encouraged to write imaginatively and there is a strong focus on literacy. Students will also study whole texts (Michael Mopurgo’s War Horse) and begin to think about the ‘meaning’ of texts and the deliberate craft of writers. Ballad poetry is introduced to Year 7, and students are encouraged to write their own ballads and be creative across all units of intended work.
In Year 8, besides a strong focus on literacy, students are encouraged to develop their independent learning and group work skills. In addition, students will develop their skills of deduction and analysis as well as being rehearsed in writing for a range of purposes and audiences. Students will have the opportunity to study two whole texts, which they will use as stimuli for creative writing and short essays. Speaking and listening is embedded throughout in order to ensure students are able to communicate clearly and discuss topics with purpose.
Students begin KS4 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 will follow a combined GCSE English Language syllabus, studying poetry from other cultures, an alternative piece of modern prose (Kevin Brooks’ Martyn Pig), Shakespeare’s Macbeth, as well as being introduced to the study of communication and media and non-fiction texts.
By the end of Year 10, students will have sat their exam and completed all of their controlled assessments toward their English Language GCSE, allowing them to move onto the more challenging literature component in Year 11. At present, we enter students with the AQA exam board, offering students the opportunity to write creatively; engage with a short novel; complete a research study evaluating multi-modal and spoken communication and to produce and analyse media and nonfiction texts. Students are encouraged to be creative in their reading of texts and imaginative and original with their words.
Whilst Year 11 does offer the opportunity for students to improve their English Language grade, the focus is primarily on preparing students for two English Literature examinations and a further controlled assessment. The literature curriculum at GCSE, also offered by AQA, requires students to consider the significance of Shakespeare and the literary heritage; explore and compare ‘conflict’ poetry across time; explore a piece of modern drama (J.B Priestley’s An Inspector Calls) as well as a novel from another culture (John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men). Students will be encouraged to develop their own, sophisticated reading s of texts, informed by wider critical reading; the aim being to prepare students for A Level.
Years 12 and 13
We currently offer AQA Specification B English Literature. These courses comprise of 60% examination and 40% coursework with the foci changing on a regular basis. The course offers a breadth of study in regards to texts and genres and is well regarded in relation to university applications. Currently we study Shakespeare, Modern Plays, ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘The Kite Runner’.