Overview

English instills in students an ability to appreciate, analyse and question the world around them, allowing them to develop socially, emotionally and academically through their studies. Students will gain an appreciation of the power of the written word and will explore a range of fiction and non-fiction texts which will inspire, inform and challenge them. In English, students will learn to become critical readers, accurate writers and will have the opportunity to communicate ideas with others during discussion and debate.

Aims and Objectives

We aim to:

  • provide an integrated curriculum.
  • prepare our students thoroughly for internal and external examinations.
  • boost our pupils’ self-confidence.
  • praise pupils, reward success and celebrate progress.
  • enable our students to communicate effectively.
  • provide a safe and enriching environment in which pupils can practise and develop their skills.
  • teach pupils to adapt their language to different audiences and purposes.
  • teach the purpose and relevance of the rules of language.
  • teach our pupils to appreciate our historical and contemporary literary culture.
  • ensure that our pupils are able to access and understand ICT media/literature texts in the modern digital world.

Key Stage 3

Year 7

In Year 7, a bridging unit, ‘Wizardry’, based upon JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, ensures that the English department continue to build upon progress made in Year 6 and make the transition from the primary to the secondary phase as smooth as possible. Students will continue to harness their reading and writing skills through close analysis of modern and classic texts through the ‘On Fire’ scheme of work. There is also an emphasis on

drama and expression, where students will work on performance and communication with others.

Assessment will be both formative and summative throughout the key stage, with students being tested each half-term on their reading, writing and speaking and listening skills and receiving differentiated national curriculum levels. Students will be expected to map their progress throughout Key Stage 3 using the ‘Ladders to Learning’ in their exercise books, which breaks down the skills needed to progress to each level. This enables students to take responsibility for, and ownership of, their own progress in learning.

 

Students will also be tested on their reading skills via the Welsh Government’s national reading tests, which will allow them to map their own progress by tracking their reading age.

Year 8

Throughout Year 8, students will continue to explore a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, starting with the ‘Stranded’ scheme of work. They will study extracts such as Defoe’s ‘Robinson Crusoe’, Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’ and Dumas’ ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’, as well as a range of non-fiction texts, including newspaper articles, speeches and online blogs. Students will also study a range of monstrous and fantastical characters throughout the history of literature in the ‘Monsters, Ghouls and Ghosts’ scheme of work, where they will meet famous and memorable characters, such as Dracula, Frankenstein and Bilbo Baggins.

Assessment will be both formative and summative throughout the key stage, with students being tested each half-term on their reading, writing and speaking and listening skills and receiving differentiated national curriculum levels. Students will be expected to map their progress throughout Key Stage 3 using the ‘Ladders to Learning’ in their exercise books, which breaks down the skills needed to progress to each level. This enables students to take responsibility for, and ownership of, their own progress in learning.

 

Students will also be tested on their reading skills via the Welsh Government’s national reading tests, which will allow them to map their own progress by tracking their reading age.

Year 9

In Year 9, students will learn to challenge what they read in the ‘Media’ scheme of work, which focuses upon a range of media texts including editorials and social media. Students will learn to challenge and respond analytically to a range of non-fiction texts. Students will also learn to write creatively, with originality and flair, when producing their own writing for the ‘Inspired’ scheme of work. We will also delve into the world of Elizabethan theatre and become inspired by the words of Henry V in our study of Shakespeare’s famous history play.

Assessment will be both formative and summative throughout the key stage, with students being tested each half-term on their reading, writing and speaking and listening skills and receiving differentiated national curriculum levels. Students will be expected to map their progress throughout Key Stage 3 using the ‘Ladders to Learning’ in their exercise books, which breaks down the skills needed to progress to each level. This enables students to take responsibility for, and ownership of, their own progress in learning.

 

Students will also be tested on their reading skills via the Welsh Government’s national reading tests, which will allow them to map their own progress by tracking their reading age.

Key Stage 4 (GCSE) - years 10 & 11

At GCSE level, students will study two separate courses - ‘English Language’ and ‘English Literature’. The courses are designed to encourage learners to be inspired, moved and challenged by following a broad, coherent and dynamic course of study. Learners will become critical readers of a range of texts, ranging from classic Literature to modern non-fiction media texts. The English GCSE courses also requires learners to write accurately and fluently, choosing content and adapting style and language to a wide range of forms, media, contexts, audiences and purposes. Learners will also learn to present and listen to information and respond appropriately to the ideas of others whilst speaking and listening. The courses will also prepare learners to use language to participate effectively in society and employment.

For English Language, students complete two external examinations, one focused upon testing reading and writing skills. These examinations make up 60% of the overall grade for the course. Students will also complete a piece of Controlled Assessment (20%), producing a piece of creative writing and a response to reading in the classroom under controlled conditions. Finally, the students will be assessed on their ability to communicate effectively with others for the ‘Speaking and Listening’ element of the course.

 

For English Literature, students will complete two external examinations, with Unit 1 focusing upon ‘Prose from Different Cultures’ and ‘Contemporary Poetry’ and Unit 2 on ‘Literary Heritage Drama and Contemporary Prose’. These examinations will make up 70% of the overall grade. Students will also complete a piece of Controlled Assessment, comparing a Shakespearean play with a small collection of Literary Heritage Poetry (25%).

Key Stage 5 (‘A’ level) - years 12 & 13

Teaching methods

The department share an in-house teaching and learning methodology which aims to create a secure, stimulating and safe learning environment for all our students.

In our classrooms:

  • students are given ownership of their learning via self-assessment tools, such as ‘Ladders to Learning’ and ‘The Big Picture’.
  • students are greeted at the door by teachers.
  • classrooms are identified as ‘no put down zones’.
  • students’ work conduct and effort is regularly praised and rewarded.
  • SMART targets are regularly set for students.
  • classroom layout is versatile and fit for purpose.
  • students’ work is displayed where possible.
  • a range of group, pair and individual activities are employed.
  • lessons are differentiated according to ability, gender and learning style.
  • use of music and video creates atmosphere and a positive ethos in the classroom.
  • all lessons have pace and challenge.

Extra Curricular Activities

The English department continually seek to enrich the learning opportunities of its students. We run frequent trips to the theatre, allowing students to experience the realities of dramatic performance. We also encourage learners to enter both national and regional creative writing competitions. We also enter our students in regional debating competitions.