Mrs Donna Witter
Miss Jo Goodchild
Teacher of English
Mrs Mandy Mullane
Teacher of English
Mrs Melissa Jolliffe
Teacher of English
Miss Salema Khatun
Teacher of English
In year 7 students arrive at the academy and complete a term of creative writing under the topic of ‘Discovery Island’. This unit allows students to express themselves creatively and discover themselves as individuals through writing. Students study a range of poetry from other cultures in order to enhance their analytical skills, whilst also broadening their cultural awareness. They also study Shakespeare’s Macbeth through interactive approaches involving: acting, improvising and many other exciting activities. Students study a novel (Holes by Louis Sacheur). Finally, in a Dragon’s Den style task, students study Media and design their ideal ‘superphone’. This allows students to think about the impact of media upon society, whilst trying out media techniques in their own creative work.
Year 8 students begin with a study of the gruesome yet fascinating canon of Gothic Literature. They then embark on a study of the television series Big Brother, during which students create their ideal Big Brother show; with their own house, characters and challenges. This unit develops students’ reading and analytical skills. Students move on to a study of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, learning how contexts play a vast role in the construction of texts. Year 8 students then study two thematic units. Firstly ‘Dreams and Imaginary Worlds in Literature’ introduce students to A Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Shakespeare), Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) and Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll). Finally, students look at texts involving Crime and Mystery. This involves the study of some non-fiction texts, short stories and poems. Themed approaches to learning prepare students for GCSE study of themed poetry clusters.
The year 9 programme of study is a focused preparation for GCSE level work. Students will be introduced to skills required for GCSE examinations through various units in English. Year 9 students begin with an introduction to drama texts through studying An Inspector Calls. Students learn the conventions of drama texts and explore the influence of context. This is followed by an introduction to pre-1914 poetry. Students will look at a range of poets, texts and themes in order to get a flavour of broad and varied works of pre-1914 literature. The study of a novel (The Hunger Games, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, or (new for 2015) George Orwell’s 1984) allows students to move their analysis skills towards GCSE standards, particularly in whole text literature responses. This is followed by a ‘functional writing’ unit, in which students learn to write for a range of different purposes and audiences, making use of a variation of types of writing. Year 9 students then spend time with teachers revising the entirety of their programme of study in English through year 9. They sit a final ‘micro GCSE’ exam. This introduces students to the new for 2017 national style of examination in English. Students finish the year by completing a research skills project. At the end of this project students present an academic poster containing information from a variety of sources about a topic of choice. This is a short yet effective introduction to independent learning skills required at GCSE level.
Students beginning GCSE English in year 10 from 2015 onwards will sit the new style GCSE paper which has been implemented nationally. This comprises of both English Literature and English Language study. The result of this course is that students achieve two GCSEs (graded 1-9) at the end of year 11. There is no coursework for any exam board under the new national framework. This means all assessment comes in the form of formal written examination at the end of the two year course. We offer AQA English (specification 8700 Language and 8702 Literature) to nearly all students.
The course begins with a focus on reading and analysing fiction extracts, as these skills are required in paper 1 of the language exam. Students simultaneously study the literature poetry cluster of poems on the theme of ‘power and conflict’. Lessons are split 3 per week for language and 1 per week for literature at this time. In the run up to Christmas, year 10 students study the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. In order to build competent text analysis skills, students spend all their lessons in a week focused upon the text. Although to maintain language skills, students complete creative writing tasks alongside reading the text. Students move on to study the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet over the course of a term. Finally, students study the modern drama text An Inspector Calls by J B Priestly. This allows them to delve deeper into analysis of the text and themes it raises. This is possible through the familiarity with the text students have, gained from studying it previously in year 9.
By year 11, students have completed the fundamental content of the GCSE course. This means they can spend the year revising for the exams that they will sit. The examinations in English comprise of two English Language (AQA 8700) papers, and two English Literature (AQA 8702) papers. Because of the content being covered largely throughout year 10, there is possibility for students to be placed in teaching sets specific to the content that they most need to revise and review before sitting the exams. This allows for learning to be more personalised, and thus higher chances of success at GCSE!
Year 11 for the year of 2015-2016 study the CIE iGCSE in English Literature and English Language.
This incorporates a portfolio of English Language coursework which have been written mostly in year 10. In year 11 students will have the opportunity to maximise their marks for coursework and catch up on any coursework they have missed through attending intervention sessions after school. These are run by English Curriculum Area staff and are on offer by invitation to individual students.
Year 11 English Language students will revise the fundamental skills required to succeed in the exam, which have already been introduced in year 10.
In year 11 there is a large focus on Literature. This includes the study of ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson. Students become familiar with the era of Enlightenment in literature as well as an original crime and mystery novel that will have them gripped to find out what happens in the end to the poor Dr Henry Jekyll and how the evil Mr Edward Hyde meets his fate.
Students then complete a cluster of poems on the theme of ‘Deep and Dangerous’. These poems are set by the exam board and students use their poetry analysis skills learnt at the start of year 10 to complete successful poetry analysis.
The final literature focus in year 11 is the study of two modern drama texts. These are An Inspector Calls by J B Priestly and All My Sons by Arthur Miller. Students will grapple with strong moral dilemmas and debates raised by these plays inspired by the works of the dramatist Henrik Ibsen. These plays will encourage students to think about social responsibility and different outlooks on the world in which we live whilst they meet characters who exist in microcosms of society that are still relevant in the world today.
Students with a minimum grade C in English at GCSE may study AS/A2 English. Currently, we offer English Language and Literature as run by AQA. Students acquire a deeper understanding of the functions and purposes of language through studying a limited number of texts.
For students who do not have a GCSE in English at grade C or above, there may be opportunities to re-take this in Year 12. Year 12 resit students sit the Cambridge International iGCSE English exam (until 2016). After 2016, due to national changes to the curriculum and assessment framework, this is subject to change. Check back for updates nearer the time.