Subject Overview: The English Department aims to provide students with a rich and varied introduction to literature across the ages – developing an appreciation and understanding of great writers from Shakespeare through to contemporary work; taking in novels, poetry, plays and short stories along the way. We also appreciate the need to instil every child with an excellent grounding in English language including the essential literacy skills of spelling, punctuation and grammar as well as developing oracy so that our students emerge as habitual readers and confident communicators. English is a core subject and all students will study both English Language and Literature up to GCSE level. We also offer A Level English Literature.
What we cover in each Year group:
Year 7: Students will be introduced to the idea of reading for pleasure so that excellent reading habits are established from day one. They will also begin investigating language in depth – becoming language ‘detectives’ in order to develop an understanding of how texts are constructed. Later in the year, they will have an introduction to 19th century literature through their studies of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Pupils’ cultural awareness will be broadened through an exploration of poetry from across the world and a Shakespeare introductory unit.
Year 8: Pupils will begin with a Monsters and Mystery unit which will introduce them to Gothic literature – from modern day horror stories to classic 19th Century Gothic. They will continue to develop the skills of language analysis, oracy and creative writing through the unit. They will also practise higher level skills such as comparison and evaluation. At this stage, students tackle a full Shakespeare text for the first time – The Tempest – as well as studying a contemporary novel.
Year 9: The aim for year 9 is to start preparing students directly for their GCSE language and literature. Students begin the year with an ‘unseen’ poetry unit before exploring Of Mice and Men. Through these texts they will refine and develop their ability to analyse language and structure as well as developing a contextual understanding of various periods and cultures. Pupils will also be introduced to the GCSE language paper 1 and paper 2.
Year 10: This year begins with pupils studying Stevenson’s 19th century classic Jekyll and Hyde. They will also be spending time developing their GCSE language skills – working on how to decode unseen texts, how to compare texts and how to write both formally and informally to specific audiences and purposes. Pupils will also study Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the Relationship poetry from the GCSE anthology.
Year 11: The final push towards GCSE will include further work on poetry – both seen and unseen, as well as studies of a 20th Century play – Priestley’s An Inspector Calls. There will also be time to re-visit past texts covered in relation to the syllabus. Mock exams will be sat by all students and intervention sessions arranged on a needs basis.
A-Level: We aim to prepare our A level students in a way that allows them to continue to nurture a lifelong love of literature while also ensuring they achieve their potential in the subject. A wide range of poetry, drama and prose is studied while students are also encouraged to develop independence through a coursework unit.
Enrichment: Cultural trips or in-house visits are organised for every year group, with the emphasis on enriching our students’ experiences and enabling them to experience at first-hand various cultural events. . The Globe Players perform interactive Shakespeare workshops for key stage 3 students, while there also theatre trips, poetry recitals and other literary experiences available to students at each key stage.
Head of Department: Mr Godsal