Key Stage 3
English is a core subject at Key Stage 3 and literacy skills are crucial to students’ achievement in subjects across the curriculum. Based on the National Curriculum, our Schemes of Learning are broad and varied and offer students opportunities to engage in a wide range of stimulating activities. Students study poetry, prose and drama texts from different literary periods, including those written pre 1900, so they are familiar with the English literary heritage. They are encouraged to read independently and to develop a love of books. Students are encouraged to explore ideas orally and in writing using a variety of imaginative styles. Reading is fundamental to the English curriculum and books are read independently, shared in class or as a part of small group teaching. Students will have one lesson a fortnight in the Learning Resource Centre (Library) to nurture and extend their wider reading.
Whilst we seek to develop students’ creativity we also strive to ensure that they are confident and competent users of both the written and spoken forms of the English language and are prepared for the demands of Key Stage 4. We expect students to become increasingly independent in their learning as the Key Stage progresses.
We recognise that much learning takes places outside of the classroom and thus enrich the curriculum with many extra-curricular visits and activities including theatre visits, drama workshops, reading projects and writing competitions.
Students are assessed regularly throughout the Key Stage and are also given examination practice at the end of each year.
Key Stage 4
GCSE English is a core subject at Key Stage 4. Students study both English Language and English Literature in an integrated course and are awarded separate GCSEs for each subject.
During the English Language course students develop their ability in functional English, analysing language and using language creatively. Students are assessed in two final examinations in which reading, of fiction and non-fiction texts, and writing skills are tested. Students are awarded a Speaking and Listening grade which appears alongside their overall grade but which does not contribute to it.
In the English Literature course students study poetry, prose and drama from the English literary heritage, including at least one Shakespeare play. Students are also prepared to respond to unseen poetry. Students are assessed on their knowledge of set texts over two final examination.
To prepare students for the rigorous exam period, at Key Stage 4 students are regularly assessed and complete 3 sets of mock exams in the examinations hall.