The English curriculum is based around reading. It is a generally accepted fact that readers make better writers and both the national curriculum and the GCSE English Language exam are based on the premise of ‘through reading to writing’.
The study of English opens the door to a treasure trove of creativity and self-expression. It allows scholars access to great literature and helps them become more discerning readers of both fiction and non-fiction texts.
Our curriculum is cumulative and integrated. All of the content is connected so that scholars form a firm foundation of literary and linguistic knowledge that enables them to read and write accurately, effectively and critically.
Key Stage 3
Scholars begin their study of English with a unit on the 20th century novel “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” in order to develop their skills of inference and to begin to hink about texts in context.. Following this they develop their skills in reading and writing, through the study of increasing challenging texts including: Romantic poetry, Dickens, and Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
Scholars are taught in ability groups, however those scholars who require additional support with English have 121 and small group support to fast-track their progress.
In Year 8 scholars continue to be grouped by and continue to hone their skills in analysis and writing for specific purposes. Topics include: A 20th century play, non-fiction from 19th, 20th and 21st century sources (linked with travel writing), Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, and John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”.
During Year 9 scholars transition towards their GCSE studies by completing another unit on non-fiction, focusing this time on articles and speeches. They study war poetry, Shakespeare’s “Othello”, and “Animal farm” by George Orwell and start to develop a more evaluative approach to their analysis of these texts.
Key Stage 4
GCSE English Language (Exam Board: AQA)
Scholars will study separate GCSEs in English Language and Literature. Scholars will draw upon a range of texts as reading stimulus (Non-fiction and Fiction from the 19th, 20th and 21st Century) and engage with creative as well as real and relevant contexts for writing. Scholars will have opportunities to develop higher-order reading and critical thinking skills.
In GCSE English Language, scholars work towards 100% terminal examinations. This is comprised of two papers:
Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing (50%)
Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives (50%)
GCSE English Literature (Exam Board: AQA)
In GCSE English Literature, scholars are also assessed with 100% terminal exams. The papers scholars sit are:
- Paper 1: Shakespeare and 19th century novel (40%)
- Paper 2: 20th-century Prose or Drama, Poetry Anthology and Unseen Poetry (60%)
Typically, scholars study Macbeth, A Christmas Carol Blood Brothers, and the Power and Conflict cluster from the AQA Anthology.
There are no longer tiers to the exams, and all scholars sit the same exam papers, which can be awarded a Grade 1-9.
In order to achieve highly on the course, Scholars should read widely outside of lessons and ask questions about texts.