Welcome to ‘The English and Drama Department’. We wish to provide students with an enjoyable and challenging curriculum, giving students the opportunity to explore a range of texts, including novels, plays, poetry and articles to develop independent, critical ideas and analytical skills. We run a number of events including competitions, theatre trips and reading events across the school.
Key Stage 3
The English curriculum, at Key Stage 3, is designed to build on students’ current literacy and communication skills, and knowledge of the subject, and to prepare them for their GCSE years and beyond. As well as preparing students for their academic study, the curriculum is designed to develop the students’ characters and prepare them for the wider world.
Students will be taught with the aim of developing their reading and general literacy skills, as well as their written and verbal communication. A variety of skills are focused on across years 7, 8 and 9, including: creative and non-fiction reading and writing, comprehension, analysis, evaluation, critical thinking, discussion. Whilst these skills are embedded into themed content lessons in each half term, we also dedicate one lesson a week to spelling, punctuation and grammar skills.
In each year in Key Stage 3, the students will be exposed to a wealth of text types, including both fiction and non-fiction extracts, short stories and novels, as well as poetry and Shakespearean plays. The texts studied in these years cover a wide range of diverse themes, including those of protest, detective, survival, war, different cultures and traditions, gothic, inequality.
Students also have the opportunity to experience Drama as a discreet subject in years 7, 8 and 9 on a rotational basis.
Key Stage 4
Key Stage 4 English Language:
The English Language GCSE will encourage students to read a greater range of high quality, challenging literature and non-fiction texts from a range of genres and types (from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries), exploring language, structure and writer’s perspectives. Students will also have the opportunity to write creatively within a range of contexts, including narrative and writing to present a view point. Reading and writing is equally weighted in the English Language GCSE.
The English Language GCSE will assess students on their ability to write clearly and accurately, in effective Standard English. There will be an increased emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar including the use of vocabulary. Therefore, effective written expression is key and the ability to develop interpretations surrounding a range of texts and analysis of methods used by various writers underpins the skill set required for studying English Language at GCSE.
Speaking and Listening will be assessed through endorsement (this change was introduced to exams from summer 2014). Students will devise a presentation to an audience based on a topic of their choice, to become more confident in formal speaking.
The English course is assessed through terminal examination at the end of the two year course; there are no controlled assessments or coursework components. Students will sit two papers, both of which will contain a reading and a writing section and will be awarded a grade from 1 to 9 with 9 being the highest.
A good grade in English Language GCSE demonstrates students’ ability to read widely, exploring a range of challenging texts. Further to this, skills developed, such as attention to detail and thoughtful interpretations, as well as coherent written responses will provide the foundation for many A Level courses and onwards to Undergraduate level.
Key Stage 4 English Literature:
The English Literature GCSE will encourage students to read a wide range of classic literature fluently with assessment on the following:
- A 19th century novel (Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde or A Christmas Carol)
- A Shakespeare play (Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet)
- A selection of poetry since 1789 including representative Romantic poems and unseen poetry
- Fiction or drama from 1914 onwards (An Inspector Calls)
There is an increased assessment of unseen texts, as well as assessing students’ ability to recall textual detail and respond to a range of questions which focus on the writer’s methods, themes and wider knowledge surrounding the key texts studied. The course teaches students to read critically using both literal and inferential comprehension such as: understanding how to interpret significant themes and ideas that underpin the text by exploring aspects of plot, characterisation, events and settings; as well as distinguishing between what is stated explicitly and what is implied; explaining motivation, the sequence of events, and the relationship between actions or events.
The English Literature course is assessed through terminal examination at the end of the two years; there are no controlled assessments or coursework components. Students will be awarded a grade from 1 to 9, with 9 being the highest.
Key Stage 5
English Literature A Level:
Through the study of a range of literature, students not only strengthen and hone their literacy skills but also develop a sharp critical instinct. Literature embraces history, philosophy, the classics, psychology, art, politics, linguistics and even science in its reach so students will find something that especially engages them. Literature, past and present, aims to reveal a truth about the world we live in, about the fundamental importance of narrative and human expression.
English Language A Level:
A study of English Language is a study of how we communicate with each other through a language that is in a constant state of flux, with new words, dialects and technologies appearing and disappearing all the time. Our students learn the frameworks of language that remain constant and lend English its remarkable ability to adapt and be adapted across the world – it is interpretative and creative, but also part science, psychology and sociology: a study of human behaviour.
We place a particular emphasis on detecting social contexts and how these influence the language we use – whether this is technology and the latest apps, or gender and social groups. We also learn the history of English, and how children learn to speak, read and write.
English Language and Literature Combined A Level:
This course combines both Language and Literature therefore we explore elements of text analysis, considering the context of the writing and the writer to investigate what influenced the writing choices; we look at how language is used to represent ideas, beliefs, culture and the voice of individuals and groups of people. It is a study of human behaviour and experience and the importance of communication.
The course itself involves the study of a range of non-fiction and literary texts, including poetry, Shakespeare and a novel. There is also a creative writing element to the course. The final element to the course is the chance to investigate a language based topic that interests you. In the past students have explored, accents and social stigma, language of power and persuasion, the language of hope, language used in mental health facilities, language in relation to race and oppression, as well as language and gender.