At St Edward's School, the English department is committed to developing resilient learners who have a passion for language and literature. In addition to the novels,drama and poetry that students will study throughout Years 7-13, we encourage our pupils to see the significant benefits that reading for pleasure can bring, supporting them to become lifelong literary explorers who will take delight in reading, writing and thinking.
We firmly believe that reading is the key to success - not just in English but in all subjects, and know that better readers also become more imaginative writers, as well as being more accurate in the technical skills of spelling, punctuation and grammar. Students are encouraged to think creatively and critically, and their development in these areas is structured and supported. Exposure to a variety of texts enables our students to grow into compassionate adults who are capable of reflecting upon their life's experiences.
Students are also offered the opportunity to continue their English education through A Level English Language and A Level literature courses. At this Key Stage, as well as others, we intend to capture students' interest and give them a secure and signposted route for learning in a climate that is healthy and empowers them to reach their full potential.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3, students follow a curriculum that encourages them to think, to enjoy English, and to develop as readers and writers. Programmes of learning are designed to be both engaging and creative, whilst simultaneously preparing students for the increasing challenge of the new Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 specifications. Our units place an increasing emphasis on technical accuracy and the need for greater depth and breadth of exposure to texts, including 'classic' literature from the 19th and 20th Century. Recognition is also given to the fact that English is not only about creative writing or the study of seminal texts. We also appreciate the need to prepare learners for the world of work for real world learning, allowing English to be not just a vital academic subject but a route into a greater understanding of the wider world. Whilst they are taught in ability groups, a number of students will also benefit from additional English support through intervention and tuition programmes.
Year 7 - Students develop a range of reading and writing skills in interpreting, discussing and responding to a range of fiction and non-fictional texts and stimuli, in a variety of forms - letters, poems, dialogues, reports and narratives. Oral communication skills are practised through role-play, individual performance, pair and group discussion.
Year 8 - Students develop skills in oracy, reading and writing, which build on the Year 7 foundation and anticipate Year 9 programmes of study. The Year 8 programme encompasses the study of novels, plays, poetry, films and other visual and audio sources, which cover the full range of written materials and embraces formal and informal discussion. The demands of the course require that a number of texts are studied, which cover fiction and non-fiction genres from pre-twentieth century to modern authors.
Year 9 - This year is a skills-based year of study, in which students develop the skills required for GCSE English Language and Literature. This includes reading and responding to fiction texts and non-fiction/media texts, as well as developing functional English skills.
Key Stage 4
Moving up to Key Stage 4, students study for GCSE English Language and English Literature qualifications. The courses build on study from Key Stage 3 and prepare students for further education or employment. Additional support is offered through individual tuition programmes and extra curriculum revision sessions.
In Years 10 and 11, students work towards completing two GCSEs: English Language and English Literature. All examinations in the subject will be taken at the end of Year 11. Students should also be aware that examinations are closed text (they will not be allowed any of the books in the exam with them) and that they are un-tiered i.e. all students will sit the same paper; differentiation will be by outcome.
During the course, students will study a series of topics which integrate the skills of reading, writing and speaking and listening. They should develop in accuracy, detail and appropriateness in these areas. They particularly need to consider the implications of words they use and read.
Students are helped to read accurately and fluently, understand and respond to literature and analyse and evaluate a range of other texts. Students will read:
- One Shakespeare play and a C.19th novel ('Macbeth', 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' for example).
- Modern texts, including 'Lord of the Flies', 'An Inspector Calls' or 'Animal Farm'.
- A range of poetry by both heritage and modern poets on a theme such as 'conflict'.
- A range of media, fiction and no-fiction texts from the C19th - present day.
The emphasis at this stage is on:
- Writing in a wide variety of forms for different purposes.
- Developing and communication ideas, using a wide vocabulary and effective style, structuring sentences grammatically.
- Accurate punctuation, correct spelling and legible handwriting.
Method of Assessment
Exam Board: AQA
Exam Structure: External Assessment in the form of 4 exams
Pathways after Year 11
GCSE English Language and English Literature form the basis for all education or employment pathways after Year 11 as they contain the elements of reading, writing and speaking and listening which underpin all further education qualifications and jobs.
In the Sixth Form, a large number of students choose to continue studying English Language and English Literature at A Level. A good qualification in GCSE English Language and Literature as two of the core subjects, will definitely open doors, illuminate pathways and offer opportunities to explore other subjects and qualifications.
Key Stage 5
A Level English Language, along with English Literature is one of the new A Levels. The reforms involve a reduction in marks available for the coursework, and terminal examination in the summer of Year 13.
English Language provides students with a natural progression from their GCSE study of the subject. It encourages students to develop their interest in and appreciation of English through learning about its structures and its functions, its developments and its variations. It allows students to develop their ability to express themselves in speech and writing, producing texts for different audiences, purposes and in different genres.
Students studying A Level English Literature will be embarking on a two year course of study with no AS level. The course aims to enable students to discuss and analyse major texts of both contemporary and past literature. The course gives students an insight in to key literary influences on our culture and society.
A Level Creative Writing allows progression for those who have enjoyed opportunities to write creatively at Key Stage 4. This qualification is offered to both AS and A2 Level. Students will be introduced to a range of different types of writing, learn to express themselves and their ideas and to reflect on their intentions and outcomes.
Mrs S Eden-Ellis
English Subject Leader