Contact: Mrs N. Cecere– Head of English
“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” – Sydney J. Harris
When a teacher opens a pupil up to a learning experience that is exciting and mysterious, it can encourage them to explore it. A teacher can do this by showing a pupil the window to their education. The view may differ from pupil to pupil, but the teacher’s role is to show them that there are worlds that exist beyond the classroom – and that their lives can be expanded and enriched by what they learn. By demonstrating this, teachers can instil in learners a desire to pursue their education as an essential tool for achieving their ambitions.
The curriculum in English aims to:
- Teach a broad and balanced curriculum that develops the whole child, instilling the Catholic virtues and Jesuit value through the pupil's school life, preparing our children for the outside world.
- Develop a love for reading and writing through prioritising literacy, offering a vibrant library, fostering enthusiasm through the adding of a personal book to the pupil equipment list and engaging pupils in exciting texts.
- Build the cultural capital of our pupils, increasing their sophistication and confidence in both knowledge and vocabulary through complex and advanced literature.
Key Stage 3
Year 7: The initial varied and exciting schemes of work accessed by Year 7 are constructed with the intention of building enjoyment and appreciation of various forms of literature and language. Transporting minds from fantasy worlds to the latter 16th Century and back again; developing an understanding of diverse forms, genres and understanding of writer’s craft to interest readers. Year 7 pupils are guided into crafting their own literary pieces such as articles, stories and poetry within inspiring themes of murder mystery and survival skills.
Year 8: The genres and texts are selected in order to embed the foundational skills and vocabulary required to succeed in Key Stage Four. Integrating opportunities to develop English Language Paper 1 Q5 creative writing skills, historical context, exposure to linguistic devices relevant to GCSE Literature examinations and skills to create and understand nonfiction texts.
Year 9: The texts studied in year 9 are thematically linked and taught in increasing order of difficulty. Key language and skills can be introduced incrementally. In half term 1 Woman in black has links to Halloween and through the study of this book, pupils will develop key skills required for Language Paper 1 in year 10. The poetry in Disturbed Voices links enables the development of skills used to analyse the Anthology that pupils study in year 10. Blood Brother’s is a more difficult drama-based text with opportunities built-in for the development of speaking and listening. Whilst Rome & Juliette is an amalgamation of poetry and drama skills and familiarises pupils with Shakespeare in preparation for the study of Macbeth in year 10.
GCSE English Language
Exam Board: AQA
Paper 1: Explorations in creative reading and writing (8700/1) 50%
Paper 2: Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives (8700/2) 50%
English Language is a very exciting, creative and interesting subject to study and can lead pupils into a wide range of interesting careers. This course is designed to enable students to draw upon a range of texts as reading stimulus and engage with creative and real and relevant contexts. Students will have opportunities to develop higher-order reading and critical thinking skills that encourage genuine enquiry into different topics and themes. The course is also designed to ensure that students can read fluently and write effectively, demonstrating a confident control of Standard English and write grammatically correct sentences.
The GCSE is made up of four sections, with each exam comprising two sections:
Paper 1: Reading and Writing Paper – 1 hour, 45 minutes – 50% of GCSE
This is a single paper combining both reading and writing questions. The reading questions on this paper involves answering questions on one literature fiction text and cover one short form question, two longer form questions and an extended question. The second half of the paper involves answering one extended writing question where the student will have to produce a descriptive or narrative piece. The reading section and writing section are equally weighted, with both sections being out of 40, combining together so the overall paper is out of 80.
Paper 2: Reading and Writing Paper – 1 hour, 45 minutes- 50% of GCSE
Again, this is another single paper covering reading and writing questions. This time the reading section will involve answering questions on one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text. There will be four reading questions to answer, one short form question, two longer form questions and an extended question. Like Paper 1, the second half of the paper will involve answering one extended writing question, but this time the student will need to write to present a viewpoint. This paper is also out of 80, with 40 of the marks allocated to the reading section and 40 marks to the writing question.
GCSE English Literature
Exam Board: AQA
Unit 1: Written Paper (45501) 40%
Unit 2: Design and Making Practice (45502) 60%
English Literature is a very exciting, creative and interesting subject to study. It encourages students to develop knowledge and skills in reading, writing and critical thinking. Through Literature, students have the chance to develop culturally and acquire knowledge of the best that has been taught and written. Studying GCSE English Literature will also encourage students to read widely for pleasure.
The GCSE is made up of two sections:
Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th century novel – 1 hour, 45 minutes – 40% of GCSE
Section A of the paper involves students answering a question on a Shakespeare play of their choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole. Section B will require students to answer one question on their novel of choice. Again, they will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.
Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry – 2 hours, 15 minutes- 60% of GCSE
Section A will involve students answering one essay question from a choice of two on their studied modern prose or drama text. Section B will require students to answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster. The final section of the paper will involve students answering one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.
Key Stage 4 Curriciculum
Year 10: Pupils start with English Language Paper 1 first as it teaches pupils to closely analyse language and allows pupils to develop their use of vocabulary with the writing section which is both skills that are then transferable for the Literature topics A Christmas Carol and Macbeth. We choose to teach A Christmas Carol during the winter half-term in the lead up to Christmas as it promotes reading for pleasure and pupils really enjoy the atmosphere of 'Christmas' when studying this topic. Macbeth is a quotation complex play but since the assessment objectives are the same throughout the Literature texts, we believe teaching the play after A Christmas Carol allows consolidation of understanding of the assessment objectives.
Year 11: Pupils work through the final literature texts in Year 11, when pupils have developed a more nuanced sense of analysis, and they are able to apply the skills learned throughout the journey from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4. The final Language Unit, English Language Paper 2, incorporates the skills from English Language Paper 1 and their understanding of literary analysis to embed the skills learned.
Many of the students who enjoyed studying GCSE English Language and Literature have gone on to study A Level English Langauge or Literature. But, as the subject contains lots of skills that are transferrable any course would welcome pupils with a good qualification in the subject.
Future careers include teaching, media, advertising, sales, social work and law. In fact, most employers would welcome a candidate with an English Language background and all the transferrable skills that person would bring with them.