Curriculum Leader: Mr S Attwood

Subject Teachers: Mr S Attwood, Ms N Stevens, Mrs D Anderson, Mrs S Fitzgerald, Mrs N Gibberd, Mrs C Richards, Mrs A Sansbury and Miss S Strydom

If I were to teach I suspect it would be English literature. I've always been deeply, deeply in love with that kind of thing

Stephen Fry

Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery

Mark Amidon

Overall Purpose of the Subject - Summary:

To inspire students to become literate, confident communicators and critical thinkers. To explore a wide range of texts, classic and modern, fiction and non-fiction, where writers, throughout the ages, have used different forms of writing to explore questions of human existence.

Course Outline and Structure - Key Stage 3

Year 7

Year 7 are introduced to key reading skills using a collection of short stories with a twist as the stimulus: “The Cabinet of Curiosities” (Bachmann et al). Students are encouraged to question and speculate, checking and justifying their ideas using evidence from the text(s).

Students continue to practise these key skills as they study a range of further texts including “A Christmas Carol” (Dickens), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Shakespeare) and “Northern Lights” (Pullman)

They will additionally explore a range of original Fairy Tales (Brothers Grimm et al) as well as non-fiction texts and extracts linked to the main texts.

As well as developing their approaches to reading, students will apply what they’ve learned in their own pieces of creative writing; they will also begin to learn how to write critically when analysing other texts.

Year 8

Year 8 build on the previous year with a focus on the writer’s craft: they study “The Speckled Band” (Conan Doyle), short stories from “Tales of the Unexpected” (Dahl) and “The Island at the End of Everything” (Millwood) to explore how fiction writers utilise characterisation, setting and structure (amongst other things) to achieve the effects they desire.

Students also explore a wide range of non-fiction extracts and speeches on topical real-life issues – again focusing on how writers (and speakers) choose specific language and structural methods to give their opinions impact.

Year 8 continue to apply what they’ve learned in their own writing, be it creative writing, opinion writing and critical essay writing.

Year 9

Year 9 consolidate the study of the reading, writing and speaking skills they will need when they begin the GCSE course in Year 10.

Consequently, they explore the use of figurative language and symbolism in poetry and modern short stories (e.g. “Compass and Torch” [Baines]). The study of “Of Mice and Men” (Steinbeck) re-visits these aspects of the writer’s craft but also underlines the importance of wider societal themes like exploitation, racism and the role of women.

In a similar way, students study “Romeo and Juliet” (Shakespeare) which is then used to stimulate an exploration of the theme of conflict, including non-fiction extracts on gangs and knife crime.

Students are also immersed in nineteenth century prose (as will be required in the GCSE) where they explore the Gothic genre through extracts from classics like “Dracula” (Stoker), “Frankenstein” (Shelley) and “The Woman in White” (Collins), as well as short stories like “The Red Room” (Wells) and “The Tell-Tale Heart” (Poe).

Course Outline and Structure - Key Stage 4

Exam Board:  AQA

All students will sit the English Language GCSE, English Literature GCSE and undertake the Spoken Language Endorsement.

In Year 10, students cover a lot of the required set text coverage for Literature.  These texts are:

  • An Inspector Calls (J.B. Priestley)
  • Macbeth (William Shakespeare)
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson)
  • Poems Past and Present: Love and Relationships (various poem linked by theme)

As these texts are read, students also practise English Language questions and prepare a speech for their Spoken Language Endorsement on an issue or topic that has been agreed with their teacher.  There will be formal Mock exams in Summer term.

In Year 11, students finish required set text coverage and are focused increasingly on applying their knowledge and skills in practice exam questions.  There are formal Mock exams in November and March, prior to final exams in May and June.

Assessment Method - Key Stage 4

English Language – Graded 1 to 9

Paper 1

Explorations in creative reading and writing

(1 hour 45 minutes)

Reading skills (50%): students are marked for comprehension, analysis and evaluation of an unseen fiction extract.

Writing skills (50%): students plan and undertake a creative writing task where marks are awarded for content, organisation and accuracy.

Paper 2

Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives

(1 hour 45 minutes)

Reading skills (50%): students are marked for comprehension, summary, analysis and comparison of two unseen non-fiction extracts on a linked theme.

Writing skills (50%): students plan and undertake a transactional writing task (usually arguing a particular point of view on an issue inspired by the unseen exam extracts) where marks are awarded for content, organisation and accuracy.

English Literature – Graded 1 to 9

Paper 1

Shakespeare and the 19th Century novel

(1 hour 45 minutes)

Students write two critical essays:  one on Macbeth,  the other on Jekyll and Hyde. The exam questions contain an extract from each text as stimulus for the overall question.

Paper 2

Modern Texts and Poetry

(2 hours 15 minutes)

Students write two critical essays: one on An Inspector Calls, the other on the Love and Relationships Poetry.

Students additionally analyse and compare two Unseen Poems linked by a common theme or idea.

Spoken Language Endorsement – Grade Pass, Merit, Distinction

Students deliver  a speech or presentation of 4 to 5 minutes on an issue or topic which has been pre-agreed.   There follows a four to five minute discussion where the student responds to comments arising from their speech.

Extra-Curricular Activities / Clubs:

Opportunities to see live performances/films linked to the set texts.

Hampshire Book Award.

Poetry/Fiction writing competitions.

Key Website to Support Learning / Useful Resources: