As a department, we take pride in developing the enjoyment of reading and writing in a disciplined atmosphere of mutual respect. Correct written English is very important to us; so too is creativity, a quality that we aim to foster in our teaching.
English is, of course, a vital subject in that the skills covered here underpin the whole curriculum. Moreover, any course of study beyond GCSE demands proof of achievement here, and literacy skills are necessary for the world of work. Perhaps more importantly, however, the study of English equips young people with the communication skills that allow them to present themselves confidently, encourages creativity in written and oral expression, and develops a love for literature that will last a lifetime.
As at all levels, our teaching is literary text based: each year, pupils read a wide range of novels, plays and poems, as well as non-fiction material. Writing arises naturally out of reading: reading and writing are inseparable companions, and pupils write in a wide variety of genres and formats for a variety of audiences.
We see the Library as an essential learning resource, and pupils in the first two years will enjoy library lessons. The Accelerated Reader system is used in the First and Second Years to underpin the whole school literacy strategy. The use of information technology is also encouraged, and pupils will practise their ICT skills in the production of project work and also for display: we pride ourselves on our showcasing of pupils' work, celebrating their achievements. Many pupils produce poetry that is published in various regional and national collections.
Functional Skills Award for lower sets
English Language, English Literature
Board: Edexcel IGCSE
Pupils follow a literacy based teaching programme, enjoying a wide variety of both literary and non-fiction texts from a range of writers. The texts studied will allow pupils the opportunity to explore narrative techniques, study the importance of context, and discuss themes, issues and concerns. The texts will also provide springboard opportunities for original writing, both creative and transactional, in a wide variety of forms.
At the end of the Fourth Year some pupils will take Functional Skills English Level 2. This will give them the chance to gain a qualification in English Language, as well as providing diagnostic information for those needing more support.
The GCSE qualifications are assessed at the end of the two year course. Both English Language and English Literature have one external paper and a coursework component.
English Language and English Literature
Board: AQA and Edexcel
The English Language course involves the study of the way we use language not just as a communication tool, but to reflect attitudes, biases and reinforce - or challenge - societal norms. We analyse language (both oral and written) in use in real situations; the subject is an exciting and empowering one for pupils, as they are, naturally, already expert users of language!
English Literature allows pupils to widen their literary knowledge and to develop and trust their own critical faculties whilst studying a range of texts from a variety of genres and contexts. Texts read range from the 14th to the 21st centuries; pupils focus not just on textual knowledge, but on the reasons for the writer's linguistic and structural choices, on assessing the validity of critical opinions, and on how the context both of the text and the reader affects how the text is read.
Theatre trips, theatrical company visits to the school, various visiting speakers, cultural visits and numerous national competitions are offered annually.
Pupils will take the full A Level at the end of their Upper Sixth Year.
English Language A Level is much more specialist than the English studied at GCSE level, requiring clear understanding of grammatical and structural features to analyse the subtle language choices made in every written or spoken text. This descriptive linguistic approach celebrates the diversity of the English language and how it changes according to identity and cultural contexts.
Pupils will cover a broad selection of topics ranging from: language and social groups, language and occupation, language and power, language and gender, to the rise of global English, together with broader areas of study such as: child language acquisition and a history of the English language.
The course allows maximum opportunity to develop personal and independent language interests. For example, the pupils are able to investigate an area of language in which they have a particular interest as part of their coursework; in addition, the course allows pupils to pursue an interest in creative or transactional writing, and encourages an exploration of texts of many genres.
English Language combines well with Languages, Drama, History, Politics, Psychology and Business Studies, while offering breadth to pupils with science-based options. It also complements English Literature very effectively, particularly for those pupils considering reading English at university.
Examination Board: AQA
Students will take the A Level at the end of the two year course.
Component 1: Language, the Individual and Society
This component assesses textual variations and representations, the development of children's speech, reading and writing from 0 – 11 years. Advanced methods of language analysis are integrated into the activities. The component is assessed in a written examination of 2 hours 30 minutes and makes up 40% of the A Level.
The component is split into two sections: Section A will consist of three questions on two unseen texts (one contemporary and one older text) linked by topic or theme. There will be one question on each of the texts and one question comparing the texts. Section B will focus on children's language development; this is assessed through one discursive essay from a choice of two questions. Again the data provided will focus on spoken, written or multimodal language.
Component 2: Language, Diversity and Change
This component assesses language diversity and change, language discourses, and writing skills. Advanced methods of language analysis are integrated into the activities. The component is assessed in a written examination of 2 hours 30 minutes and makes up 40% of the A Level.
The component is split into two sections: Section A will consist of one evaluative question on language diversity or change, from a choice of two options. Section B assess language discourses through analysis of two texts about a topic linked to the study of diversity and change. There are two questions in this section, one question requiring analysis of how the texts use language to present ideas, attitudes and opinions and secondly, a directed writing task linked to the same topic and the ideas in the texts, which may be in the format of an option article or persuasive writing task.
Component 3: NEA (Non-Examined Assessment)
Investigating Language and Original Writing
Pupils are expected to research an area of English Language of their choice to present an informed investigation of 2000 words (excluding data). They also have the opportunity to develop their own original writing by producing one piece of writing and a commentary totalling 1500 words. The original writing can be creative, persuasive or informative and encourages pupils to read a range of texts and genres. Both the investigation and original writing must be completed for this component. This counts for 20% of the A Level.
English Language A Level would be a useful qualification to those who envisage any career that deals with written or spoken English. In particular, pupils contemplating careers in the fields of journalism, education, advertising, publishing, management at all levels, work in the media or public relations would be empowered by this qualification.
The study of English Literature is essentially a study of humanity. Writers throughout the ages have dealt with the same basic human concerns, ideals and emotions. Pupils of literature investigate the cultural contexts that form the background to the texts, whilst analysing the ways in which the writers communicate emotionally and intellectually with the reader today.
The subject requires an open mind, an eagerness to enter into debate (with the texts, the teacher and with fellow pupils), the ability to write structured essays, and, of course, an enjoyment of reading.
The subject aims to develop the analytical and critical faculties of pupils, to deepen their enjoyment of reading, and to encourage confident, fluent, reasoned argument both orally and in writing.
Texts studied will range from the 14th Century to the modern day, and will include poetry, prose and drama.
Those pupils contemplating English at University might also choose to take both subject and English Language at A Level.
Examination Board: Edexcel
Students will take the A Level qualification in their Upper Sixth Year.
A Level (First Certification 2017)
Component 1: Drama
Study of one Shakespeare play and one other drama text from the genres of tragedy or comedy. Texts may be selected from the same genre, or one from comedy and one from tragedy. The plays are studied with reference to Examination Board-supplied critical material on each of the genres.
Examination Length: 2 hours 15 minutes
Section A: Shakespeare. A choice from two questions on the selected text.
Section B: Other Drama. A choice from two questions on the selected text.
Component 2: Prose
Study of two prose texts (at least one of which must be written before 1900) on a chosen theme: Childhood, Colonisation and its Aftermath, Crime and Detection, Science and Society, the Supernatural, or Women and Society.
Examination Length: 1 hour
One question: a choice of two essay questions on the chosen texts. These include Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, or Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë or A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.
Component 3: Poetry
Study of 21st century poetry (Poems of the Decade. An Anthology of the Forward Books of Poetry 2002-2011), and either a range of poetry from a literary period or a range of poetry from a named poet.
Examination Length: 2 hours 15 minutes
Section A: Contemporary Poetry. One essay in response to a choice of two questions on an unseen poem compared with a named poem from the studied 21st century collection.
Section B: Poetry Collections. One essay in response to a choice of two questions on the studied poems, likely to be The Romantics.
Component 4: Coursework
Pupils study a free choice of two texts linked by theme, movement, author or literary period.
Assignment 1: an extended comparative essay on the two chosen texts: 2500-3000 words.
Because it is an analytical subject, English Literature A Level is an advantage for a career in any profession, as it proves that the pupil is able to analyse and to form independent ideas.
A Level English Literature could lead to a career in the following:
Management at all levels