English is a subject that is exciting because it celebrates the breadth of the human imagination and the extraordinary power of language. It explores the most central human concerns: the relationship between individuals and communities, the difficult choices we all face in life and our emotional and intellectual development. Simply put, English is great to study because it informs every other subject. If you get better at English, you get better at every other subject because English is at the core of the curriculum. English not only teaches you about the core principles of communication: speaking, reading and writing, but it also teaches you about life and culture. The main focus of our department is to support every learner with the core principals of the subject: reading, writing and spoken English and to foster pupils’ understanding of the personal and social importance of spoken and written language. Language gives pupils power over their own lives and empathy with the lives and experiences of others. We encourage this understanding through the study and enjoyment of a wide range of literature, non-fiction and media text.
Key Stage Three
At Key Stage Three, all pupils study a wide range of poetry, prose and drama. The rich variety of texts we use as part of our schemes of work at Key Stage Three gives our pupils a very strong foundation for their future studies. In addition, all KS3 students have a drama lesson and a further single reading lesson where students are encouraged to explore a variety of fiction and non- fiction texts.
Key Stage Four: GCSE
In Years 10 and 11, students follow the AQA GCSE specifications in English Language and English Literature (8700 and 8702). These specifications are single tier and are assessed entirely by written examination at the end of the course.
For English Language GCSE, pupils study a rich variety of fiction, non-fiction and literary non-fiction texts. Descriptive and narrative writing are also important creative aspects of the course, accounting for 50% of the final assessment. Speaking and listening skills are assessed in this specification and are awarded separately as pass, merit or distinction. This is an essential part of the specification, but it does not add marks to the English Language GCSE.
English Literature involves the study of a wide range of challenging texts including:
- The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.
- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
- An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestley/ Blood Brothers by Willy Russell/Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- GCSE Poetry Anthology : Power and Conflict.
Further information about the AQA GCSE English Language specification can be found here:
Key Stage Five : A Level English Literature
At A level, the English Department offers the AQA B A Level Literature course. (7717B)
The award comprises two external examinations at the end of the course and a coursework (NEA) component. Over the two-year course, students study the following texts:
- Othello by William Shakespeare
- Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
- Selected Poetry by Keats
- The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- Selected Poems by William Blake
- A Critical Anthology of writing
In addition, they also study independently a further prose piece and selected poems based on a selection provided by their teacher.
The second examined component is based on the study of prose and poetry texts that are connected thematically. In addition, students answer questions on an unseen text. The theme we study for this element is Social and Political Protest.
The coursework component (or Non-Examined Assessment) is worth 20% of the qualification and comprises two tasks. The first is based on applying key critical views to the works of one poet and the second applying key political views to a novel that is chosen by the student and is approved by the department and the exam board. Each piece of work should be 1250-2000 words. This component is characterised by a spirit of choice and independence, and students are encouraged to read widely.