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English is an essential core subject, which continues to be highly respected by universities and employers, and success in English has direct impact on progress and attainment across other subjects due to the focus on the key literacy skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. The A-Level Literature and A-Level Language courses are amongst the school’s most popular choices and the skills developed through the study of English are transferable to different subjects, career paths and everyday life.
In the English Department, we provide opportunities for all students to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding in reading, writing, speaking and listening. The wide selection of texts, tasks and topics presented to students across the key stages ensures that there is always something to interest everyone. We pride ourselves on delivering an engaging and varied curriculum which is tailored to the needs of individuals and allows all students to achieve to the very best of their ability.
We aim to ensure that our students are capable of thinking both creatively and analytically and we encourage them to make their own choices and work with independence wherever possible. Students enjoy being exposed to a range of texts and we develop their ability to write in different styles and for different audiences. The key to English is communication and we support students in learning to voice their own opinions, often in real-world contexts, with clarity and maturity.
Our academic teaching of the subject is supported by a wide range of extra-curricular activities and competitions which are hugely popular across all year groups.
Please follow the links for more detailed information on our programmes of study and extra-curricular opportunities.
The English Department has four designated classrooms, all of which are equipped with interactive whiteboards with DVD playback facilities. The Department has a very wide range of texts tailored to the needs of each Key Stage and ability level. We also share the use of the Trevor Smallwood Theatre as a working studio with the Drama Department.
- Public Speaking club and competitions
- The Times Spelling Bee
- BBC School report
- Raving Readers
- Carnegie shadowing group
- Poetry competitions
- National Poetry Day
- World Book Day
- Young Writers competition
- Mini saga writing competition
- Kilve Court residential extension courses
- Theatre trips
Our students say:
‘English is great fun, as reading introduces you to hundreds of amazing worlds and characters, and expands your vocabulary which you can then use in your own writing’ (Molly Yarde).
‘I love the challenge that English brings, such as tackling Shakespearian language when studying Macbeth’ (Amy Reade).
Years 7 - 9
Throughout Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9), in addition to the topics listed below, we focus on developing the technical side of written English: e.g. using accurate punctuation, paragraphing, spelling and grammar.
- Students begin by reading examples of autobiographies (including ‘Boy’ by Roald Dahl) and produce their own autobiographical writing.
- They also read and analyse a selection of poetry.
- Students visit a local theatre to see a play and complete a review of the play based on their experience.
Students read and analyse a novel (e.g. ‘The Other Side of Truth’ by Beverley Naidoo, ‘The Tulip Touch’ by Anne Fine or ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom’ by Michael Morpurgo) and write a report based on a key character in the novel, followed by an essay-style analysis of an extract from the book.
- Students read a ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare and write an analytical essay on an extract from the play.
- Students also sit an end of Year 7 examination practising reading and writing skills.
Students read and analyse ‘Private Peaceful’ by Michael Morpurgo and World War One poetry.
Students then read a variety of non-fiction texts such as magazine and newspaper articles (including a range of 19th Century texts) before writing a reportage-style newspaper article.
- Students read and analyse the ‘Frankenstein’ play script (adapted by Philip Pullman) as well as extracts from other gothic texts such as ‘Dracula’. They complete a piece of creative narrative writing in the gothic style.
- Students then complete a GCSE Language style reading analysis of a gothic prose text.
- Students then read a selection of non-fiction texts and complete a variety of writing tasks, including a theme park leaflet.
- Students also sit an end of Year 8 examination practising reading and writing skills.
Students read and analyse a novel (e.g. ‘A Gathering Light’ by Jennifer Donnelly or ‘Stone Cold’ by Robert Swindells) and write a GCSE Language style creative writing piece.
Students also read, analyse and compare a selection of poetry, and write a GCSE Literature style essay comparing two poems.
- Students will sit a Year 9 examination practising reading and writing skills (using GCSE assessment criteria).
- Students read and analyse ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare and complete two GCSE Literature essay style reading assessments: one based on an extract from the play and one based on the whole text.
- Students look at a range of controversial issues and present a speech or debate on a topic of their choice. This is a formally assessed task that will provide their stand-alone (separate from GCSE) speaking and listening assessment.
Years 10 - 11
We follow the Eduqas English Language and English Literature courses at GCSE Level. Both courses are now assessed through 100% examination.
Students begin by studying ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in preparation for the Literature Examination. English Language tasks are embedded in this unit of work; students use inspiration from the story to write speeches, formal letters, news reports and reviews.
Students study an anthology of eighteen poems from different time periods. They explore the themes and ideas presented in the poems as well as the context the poems were written in and the motivations of the poets.
- Students study non-fiction texts from different time periods (19th and 21st) They explore how language has changed and why.
- Students also study a novel or play written after 1914; currently they are reading The Woman in Black, History Boys, Blood Brothers or Inspector Calls.
Students begin by studying a second novel, this time written before 1914; currently they are reading Jane Eyre, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde or A Christmas Carol.
They also study narrative and creative writing and Unseen Poetry in preparation for the mock examination in December.
Spring / Summer Terms
- Students prepare for the English Language examination through reading 20th Century Literature and answering questions which test their reading skills.
- Finally, students will finish their GCSE course following a revision programme which prepares them for their summer examinations.
GCSE English Literature and English Language
To see specifications for English Language and English Literature please click on the links below:
Why study English Language?
The course will provide you with an in-depth understanding of how we use language and how this usage differs across age, gender, social groups, contexts and forms. You will develop your knowledge of how texts are constructed, investigate the areas of language study that interest you and create your own texts. You will need to find your own data, for example, interviewing people, recording and transcribing conversations, reading a variety of magazines, newspapers and work by different authors, looking at websites, adverts, text messages and tweets. You will consider the audience, purpose and form of these texts, explore the differences between speech and writing and discuss and present your ideas on how the writer has crafted a text. You will also discover theories about language acquisition, development and change. There are many opportunities to take an individual approach to the areas of language that you study, especially at A Level.
Studying English Language is a particularly good preparation for any career direction that includes the need to communicate clearly in speech or writing and where you will need to demonstrate ability to understand complex texts. The focus on how people use language means this course is well suited to a career where social interaction with others is important – e.g. business management, teaching, speech therapy, or leisure and tourism.
Recent Exam Success
92% of A Level students in last year’s cohort achieved an A*- C grade, with 42% achieving an A* – B grade.
Why study English Literature?
Obviously the first reason would be for enjoyment of the texts. The course you will follow covers a wide range of interesting texts drawn from all three genres: prose, poetry and drama. If you enjoy your English lessons, like reading, discussion and writing essays, then this may well be the course for you. There is much scope to choose your own texts to study for the examination and coursework units, especially at A Level. You will also be learning to express your thoughts coherently and logically. You will develop analytical skills that will be useful in any future study or career path. English will also enhance your success in many other subjects.
English Literature is a facilitating subject that is welcomed by Russell Group universities. It is a particularly good preparation for any career direction that includes the need to communicate clearly in speech or writing and where you will need to demonstrate ability to understand complex texts – e.g. Law.
Recent Exam Success
100% of A level students in last year’s cohort achieved an A*- C grade, with 50% achieving an A* – B grade.