The Department is committed to ensuring that academic, social and spiritual teaching is embedded within our teaching. Staff strive to demonstrate their love of English and literature and communicate that enthusiasm to the students. We have high expectations of all pupils and we respect their social, cultural and religious backgrounds. Above all, we aim to treat all pupils consistently, with respect and consideration.
Teachers ensure that lessons are differentiated for all students. They know that a mixture of sound planning prior to lessons and spontaneity within the classroom will help the pupils get the most out of their education. In order to engage the students, we aim to provide a good variety of materials within the classroom and are constantly renewing the texts we teach across all three key stages. The setting of regular homework should help consolidate and extend the learning done in class. Furthermore, our ongoing commitment to extra-curricular visits and revision sessions should extend these benefits even further. Finally, we are focusing on how the effective use of ICT within the classroom can enhance the students’ learning experience.
Key Stage 4
We teach Year 7 in mixed ability groups, with the exception of one class where the focus is on students with special educational needs. In Years 8 and 9 the students are banded according to ability. Schemes of work are in place to ensure that each group is taught to the same high standards, while teachers exchange resources and share best practice to make sure that their lessons are renewed and refreshed. We have just purchased a number of new class readers, ensuring that all students have access to the latest Key Stage 3 texts over the course of the academic year. Key Stage 3 students read texts ranging from ‘classics’ such as A Christmas Carol to modern favourites like Holes and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
All Key Stage 3 students are assessed on a half-termly basis; such regular testing ensures that a summative record of each childs’ performance is kept and that, more importantly, so-called Assessment for Learning (AFL) principles are embedded across the Key Stage 3 curriculum.
Key Stage 4
Year 9 students will now be assessed for reading and writing in January, after which time they will begin preparing for their GCSE studies.
At Key Stage 4 the students remain in banded groups and follow AQA GCSE English and English Literature courses. Over the course of Years 10and 11 they complete five pieces of written work and three speaking and listening activities which count towards their overall mark in both English and English Literature. At the end of the course, the students sit two English Language examinations and one Literature exam. Teachers select novels and plays from a list of prescribed texts with popular text choices in recent years including, Of Mice and Men, Macbeth, An Inspector Calls and Great Expectations.
Key Stage 5
In Year 12 students follow the AQA’s B Specification in English Literature. Students write two pieces of coursework in Year 12; both pieces must be based on the tragedy genre, with one compulsory Shakespeare text. King Lear and Hamlet are being taught during the 2009-10 academic year. The remainder of Year 12 is then spent preparing the students for the AS Level examination on Aspects of Narrative. Four texts, including two novels, must be studied during this part of the course.
Year 13 students are also following the B Specification and they will study two new units. For the A-Level examination they will be expected to respond to questions based upon their knowledge of three texts from the gothic genre. Finally, a portfolio of two pieces of written coursework must be produced after the students have studied three texts, including one text from an anthology of critical material