Literature and Language are taught concurrently to students in the lower school. At the end of Year 11, students sit two GCSEs with the AQA exam board: English Language and English Literature. In College VI, students follow a two year A-level that works towards the AQA qualification English Literature A.
A thematic approach is taken to English in every key stage so that students become familiar with challenging literature in a way that allows them to simultaneously develop their reading and writing skills, broaden their cultural appreciation, hone their faculty for critical engagement with language and become fluent at expressing themselves clearly and convincingly.
Autumn Term – Using a primary novel as the key source, students have the opportunity to explore important social and literary themes. They will learn to understand texts within their cultural contexts and begin to understand how to structure analytical and interpretative responses. There is an emphasis on their own ability to manipulate vocabulary and linguistic methods in their own writing to create tone or communicate theme. The key assessment for this term will therefore be a piece of creative writing.
Year 7 – Gothic Ghouls and Monsters (“My Swordhand is Singing” by Marcus Sedgewick)
Year 8 – Difference / The Other (“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon)
Year 9 – Can You Share a Dream? (“Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck)
Spring Term – With a focus on Shakespeare, students will be asked to persevere with the challenges presented by typical examples of literature from the English literary tradition but will also look at other non-fiction texts that reveal how the themes of these great plays resonates in our own time. This will allow students to employ and develop all the key reading and writing skills outlined in their flightpath. The key assessment for this term will be an essay on the whole play founded on an analysis of one key moment. Students will need to have memorised quotes from the play over the course of the term.
Year 7 – Magic and Enchantment (“The Tempest”)
Year 8 – Blood, Guts and Gore (“Macbeth”)
Year 9 – What Makes a Man? (“The Merchant of Venice”)
Summer Term – A more broad approach is taken to allow teachers the opportunity to work on the key skills that their classes might need in order to master the skills outlined in their flightpath. A broad selection of texts is used in order to achieve this, with a focus on poetry. The key assessment task for this term will be the end of year exam, where students are asked to complete a series of analytical and interpretive tasks on an extract from a previously unseen work of prose fiction. A short creative writing task also allows us to look at the progress the student has made since the Autumn Term.
Year 7 – Around the world in Eighty Days (anthology of poetry from other cultures)
Year 8 – The Time Machine (anthology of poetry and short fiction that traces the development of English Literature)
Year 9 – Clashes and Collisions (“Lord of the Flies”)
English at KS4
Year 10 (September to February) – Our World in Crisis (social conflict, displacement, power, inequality)
Students will be introduced to all the skills they will be expected to demonstrate in the GCSE public examinations. They will also be expected to complete the speaking component of their qualification: a prepared speech on a topic of their choice. Students will complete studying one of the three key texts: “An Inspector Calls”. They will also be introduced to the “GCSE Poetry Anthology: Power and Conflict” from which they will study five of the required works.
Year 10 (March to July) – The Human Heart (love, family, home, loss)
Students will improve on all the key reading and writing skills necessary to succeed in the Year 10 pre-public examinations (PPE) held at the end of the academic year where they will sit a full mock of both of the English Language exams and the second of the English Literature exams. The key text taught in this period will be Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and another five poems from the anthology will be studied.
Year 11 (September to February) – Our Shadow Side (corruption, good vs evil, morality, guilt, violence)
With an emphasis on more challenging content, students will need to master the full range of skills they will be expected to demonstrate in their final exams. At key moments in the school calendar, they will have the opportunity to sit a PPE of all four papers. They will study the last five poems in their anthology and either Stevenson’s “Jekyll and Hyde” or Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.
Year 11 (March to May) – Revision
Reacting to student outcomes in the PPEs, teachers will focus on the key skills and areas of knowledge that will help students fulfil their potential in the public examinations.
English at KS5
Students sit two papers at the end of their final year; the theme of each is examined through three set texts:
Love Through the Ages – “The Great Gatsby”, Anthology of pre-1900 poetry, “Othello”
Texts in Modern Times – “The Handmaid’s Tale”, “Skirrid Hill”, “A Streetcar Named Desire”
Students must also submit a 2500 word essay in their first year where they compare two texts of their choice which they have studied independently.
Both papers also ask students to analyse previously unseen prose and poetry.
Additional information to follow
At KS3, student progress is assessed against six key reading and seven key writing skills.
An explanation of these, as well as some indicative content, and a breakdown of each step on the flightpath can be found in the documents below: