‘Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.’ - Benjamin Franklin
We believe that the study of English and literature is essential, not only in terms of helping individuals make sense of who they are, but also in learning how to communicate successfully with the world. Culturally we think that the study of literature fosters tolerance and understanding and is a vital part of a balanced education.
Our aim is to ensure that all students maximise their academic potential, developing skills for lifelong learning and enabling them to be successful contributors to a global society. We believe that all students should be able to use reading, writing and oral skills as powerful tools for reasoning and communicating in pursuit of their life-long goals. We work as a team to plan Schemes of Learning that are stimulating and enjoyable, with activities that enable students to investigate texts and explore the ways in which meanings are communicated. We have a clear focus on the development of students' literacy skills and use assessments to provide precise targets that will allow students to make progress, ‘close the gap’, and have a sense of direction for future learning.
In Year 7, students are introduced to the assessment objectives through which their achievement and progress will be monitored and assessed throughout Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, culminating in their GCSE English Language and Literature examinations. Teaching is thematic and skills driven, with students learning, developing and embedding the skills required to be successful at every stage of their school career.
Students study a theme or ‘key question’ each term, linking texts, themes and ideas with the overarching question, the first of which is: ‘What if we all belonged?’ By using open questions, Year 7 students will begin to make links between texts and begin to be able to study a text thematically, allowing for exploration of wide social issues, events in history and the effects of these issues and events on authors and writers. In term two, students consider the question: ‘What if we could tell the best story in the world?’ and in term three, we explore the question: ‘What if we could change the world?’
Whilst students will study core texts in each term, they will also study a range of texts, including additional novels and plays. They will also be exposed to a range of fiction and non-fiction texts throughout the year, including poetry, whilst their writing and Speaking and Listening skills will also be developed.
In Year 8, students follow a thematic/question-based scheme of learning similar to that of Year 7. However, through the integration of topical articles and a wider scheme of literature, we begin to embed and build upon the skills introduced in the first year of their Key Stage 3 journey.
In the Autumn term, students focus on the idea of Time Travel, working around the question: ‘What if we could go back in time?’ The core text for this scheme is ‘The Speckled Band’, a Sherlock Holmes novel filled with mystery, suspense and tension. Students begin to explore pre-19th century texts, allowing them to discover new ways of writing as well as developing their knowledge of the history of English literature.
The Spring Term allows for students to throw themselves into Shakespeare, studying Romeo and Juliet or Twelfth Night. The study of Shakespeare is a core requirement within the curriculum framework, and allowing our students to explore and engage with Shakespearean texts early enables them to fully understand and enjoy 16th century plays before the examination course begins. The key question for this term is: ‘What if we could be whoever we want to be?’ allowing students to develop their non-fiction research and writing by engaging with a wide range of topics from Politics to Law.
In the Summer Term we aim to consolidate Key Stage 3 learning, focusing on texts that promote the theme of ‘changing minds’ with core texts ranging from Hunger Games to Lord of the Flies, giving students a taste of GCSE language and skills.
At Key Stage 4 students will:
• Identify and interpret information within texts
• Analyse and evaluate writers’ methods
• Compare and contrast a range of texts
• Explore the impact of contextual factors on texts
· Develop literacy skills and writing for a range of purposes
· Develop Speaking and listening skills
In Language, students will study a range of fiction and non-fiction extracts from across the ages, summarising information, comparing viewpoints and analysing language and structural features. They will also have the opportunity to write creatively, exploring effective descriptive and narrative writing as well as writing to explain or argue a viewpoint.
In Literature, students will have the opportunity to study a range of texts, such as “Macbeth”, “Sign of Four” and “Inspector Calls” or “Blood Brothers”, as well as a set collection of poetry. As students advance through the course, so will their ability to interpret ideas within texts and to think critically about moral, social and cultural issues raised within them.
As students progress through the Key Stage 4 course, students will embed and develop these skills at more advanced levels, utilising and embedding independent study skills which are integral to their final GCSE examinations.
At AS students will:
• pay close attention to how genre influences texts
• Explore extracts from text and relate them to the wider text and genre
• Engage in debate over the genre and texts studied
Students will study the central position of genre in the ways in which literary texts work, focusing on how narratives are constructed by authors and the different ways in which they can be responded to by readers.
Students will analyse and evaluate specific extracts from texts and make connections to the genre of tragedy and the text as a whole. They will also engage in debate over statements on the genre, making clear arguments and developing them with their own understanding and insights. Students will explore the Tragic genre, studying texts such as “Othello”, “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”, “Death of a Salesman” and Keats’ poetry.
At A2 students will, as part of the potential for stretch and challenge:
• broaden their understanding of genre and categorisation
• extend their independent reading
• extend their awareness of critical methods and readings.
Students will develop ideas on the significance of genre which have been established during the AS course. Students will explore the political and social protest writing, studying texts such as “A Handmaid’s Tale”, “Kite Runner” and Blake’s poetry.
Students will also apply a Critical Anthology to the reading of a text of their own choice, exploring how different critical approaches can be applied to the study of texts. Students will also complete a comparative study, exploring and comparing how a specific aspect is approached and presented in two texts of their own choice.
The study of English Literature will complement any future studies in the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law faculties at University. There is no limit to the possibilities that English Literature can give rise to. The subject is still one of the most prestigious to study in the country. Career opportunities include: journalism, speech therapy, advertising, creative writing, teaching, law, broadcasting and further study at university.