English is everywhere. We are reading, analysing and composing ‘texts’ all the time. We use English to communicate in our everyday lives. English is also one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world. Exploring and understanding our language therefore helps us to take our place as citizens in the modern world.
Studying English language is not just about reading books or writing stories. In English we read and explore a variety of ‘texts’, such as articles, novels, letters and autobiographies. The use of a vast range of enriching stimulus material helps students to develop an understanding of society and offers valuable insights into our social, cultural and historical influences.
Through innovative, inspiring and inclusive teaching, we help students develop into reflective and independent thinkers, expressive, creative and precise in written and verbal communication.
We want students to enjoy reading. Our aim is to nurture lifelong readers, who leave us eager to lose themselves in the adventures of the myriad characters awaiting them. We read, analyse and explore plays, novels, poetry and non-fiction pieces, helping students explore worlds previously undiscovered.
The study of English literature is an enjoyable and enlightening journey through our literary heritage. It develops our ability to think critically and to understand different cultures and historical, social and philosophical contexts.
English in key stage 3
Your child will be studying a range of themes in order to address all the skills required for GCSE and to prepare them for adult life. Themes have been chosen to ensure that your child in engaged in their English learning, as well as providing opportunities to explore and question ideas, opinions and other cultures and beliefs.
Throughout key stage 3, your child will study a range of texts from different eras and genres – from classic English heritage literature, including Shakespeare and fiction and non-fiction genres, to a range of poetry, contemporary novels and plays.
Students also develop their writing skills as they learn how to adapt their writing for different purposes and audiences. In addition, there is a focus on speaking and listening to support students in becoming confident and effective communicators when presenting, discussing or debating ideas.
We encourage students to study the writing of others and to become active writers of different genres of writing themselves. Schemes of work incorporate many opportunities for students to develop their creative writing skills through poems and stories, and we support this through regular workshops and visits from local writers.
English in key stage 4
All students study both GCSE English language and GCSE English literature. They begin both courses in Year 9.
Examination Board: Eduqas
Specification Name: GCSE (9-1) English Language
Link: English Language
In English language, we study a range of fiction and non-fiction texts from the last 200 years. This enables students to develop their reading skills, encouraging them to read fluently and gain a good understanding of a variety of texts. They acquire and apply a wide vocabulary.
Students are encouraged to explore the importance of language and its development over time, carefully reflecting on the impact texts have on different audiences and why that is. They use this knowledge to improve their own writing.
For the writing elements of the course, students develop their creative-writing skills and the ability to write in a variety of ‘transactional’ styles, including formal letters and reports.
Students build on speaking and listening skills developed in key stage 3 to support them in delivering presentations and answering questions in a formal situation. This element of the qualification gives students the opportunity to develop key skills they will need to use outside of school, such as during job interviews.
Examination Board: AQA
Specification Name: GCSE (9-1) English Literature
Link: English Literature
English literature involves the study of a variety of texts that have become staples of modern society. The course itself has been designed to encourage students to develop their understanding of the English language, as well as exploring aspects of plot, characterisation, events and settings. The ability to distinguish between what is said explicitly and what is implied is a key life skill.
Students are expected to produce clear and coherent responses. They learn how to create effective, coherent arguments that are critical, exploratory and conceptualised, well supported by judiciously chosen quotes and driven by their own ‘concept’.
Students are encouraged to read critically, applying their wider knowledge to text in order to evaluate the impact texts have on society at the time the texts were written and on modern-day society.
Students develop empathy skills and a wider understanding of the world. They critically discuss the impact of historical events and apply them to the texts and characters that writers have used as constructs to portray a specific idea or viewpoint. For example, they will reflect on the suffragette movement and its significance and on the contemporary #MeToo movement.
Click to read our learning programmes for English.