English

“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.”
(C.S.Lewis)

 “Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.”
(Barbara W.Tuchman)

Aims

As a result of learning in our department, students will:

  • Be creative, articulate, imaginative learners, who are confident and secure in their opinions and thoughts;
  • Be adaptable and flexible communicators in spoken and written word;
  • Be unafraid to challenge complex ideas and material.

Our students will develop these dispositions and habits:

  • Having a critical eye, so that they do not blindly accept things;
  • They will openly welcome feedback, criticism and differing views and interpretations and not feel threatened by these;
  • They will be skilled in planning, showing evidence of deep thinking;
  • They will take risks, knowing that the learning they will experience is more valuable than the fear of failure;
  • They will actively listen to and reason with the ideas and expertise of others;
  • They will construct meaningful arguments, supporting their ideas with confidence and conviction.

They will experience learning activities that:

  • Have pace, choice and challenge;
  • Provide a healthy combination of independent and collaborative work;
  • Give them ample opportunity to speak in front of others;
  • Give them the time and space to write independently;
  • Offer the choice and autonomy to self-select activities that best challenge their thinking and ability;
  • Are well-planned by the teacher/ department, where activities have clear direction and purpose;
  • Enable them to build a sophisticated vocabulary, consistently.
  • Are academically rigorous and personally challenging.

Curriculum and Assessment Maps

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

  • Identify and Explain
  • Interpret and Analyse
  • Compare, Contrast, Evaluate
  • Communicate and Relate
  • Organise and Structure
  • Explore and Imagine
Myths and Magic Part 1

Legends and Language Change 

  • Exploring Creation and origin stories
  • Greek myths, including Orpheus and Euridice, Pandora, Theseus, Sisyphus, and excerpts from Stephen Fry’s Mythos 
  • Beowulf, Chaucer and Language Change through the Ages
  • Storytelling: the Brothers Grimm and Christopher Booker’s Seven Plots
  • Retellings including Blackberry Blue and Rumaysa

Writing for the Real World Part 1 Reading, communicating and writing in different transactional forms, including:

  • Advertising
  • Newspaper articles
Myths and Magic Part 2

Studying Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ 

  • Imagining the Island
  • Comedy in Performance
  • Magic and the Supernatural
  • Developing knowledge of Globe theatre and modern theatre
  • Ownership and issues of Colonialism 
  • Utopian Fiction

Poetry and Identity Part 1

Studying and creating poetry:

  • Introduction to analysing and evaluating poetry.

Writing for the Real World Part 2

Reading, communicating and writing in different transactional forms, including:

  • Magazine articles
  • Travel Writing 
Poetry and Identity Part 2

Studying and creating poetry:

  • Studying poetry on the themes of travel, nature and identity (including Alfred Lord Tennyson, Seamus Heaney, Elizabeth Brewster, John Agard, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edward Thomas, Imtiaz Dharkar)
  • Crafting and curating their own poetry projects, including excerpts from influential or favourite poems, new poems read, analysed and evaluated, and self-authored poems.

Writing for the Real World Part 3

Completing Baby Beacon school magazine project

* R&R (Read and Review) Lessons

In these weekly lessons, students complete a variety of independent reading tasks while one-to-one discussions and feedback is given by the teacher on rotation.

R&R* 

Reading ‘Oh My Gods’ and exploring how traditional myths are retold in modern contexts

R&R* 

Reading non-fiction and exploring what real-world writing looks like

R&R* 

Reading ‘The Bone Sparrow’ and exploring themes of hope and survival

Assessment Pieces

A piece of imaginative writing linked to topics studied.

Assessment Pieces

Literature – extract-based focus on ‘The Tempest’ 

Assessment Pieces

A piece of transactional writing linked to topics studied.

Key vocabulary Learning forms: 

fables, lore, myths and legends 

Learning about characters:

protagonists and antagonists

Recapping AFOREST (alliteration, facts, opinions, rhetorical questions, emotive language, similes and tone) Learning new persuasive techniques: tricolon, superlatives, anaphora, imperatives

Revision of writing sentences: fronted adverbials, parentheses, main and subordinate clauses.

Learning theatrical terms:

ensemble, unison, duologue, soliloquy, aside and iambic pentameter 

Learning new tonal terms:

sibilance, plosives, stress and intonation

New terms: byline, masthead, tabloid, broadsheet, persona, anecdote and rapport.

Learning poetic forms and structures: iambic and trochaic meter, rhythm, rhyme, ballads, Shakespearean and Petrarchan sonnets, odes, elegies and dramatic monologues

Key term: juxtaposition

Outside the taught curriculum Opportunities for students include:

  • Completing the Reading Challenges, organised through the Library
  • Participating in Latin club and Classics club (both Thursday lunchtimes) or the online Creative Writing Club (classroom code: qg36s6h)
  • Submitting entries for Creative Writing competitions (set on a termly basis) and contributing to Celebration of the Arts evening in June/July
  • Taking part in Drama Club (Thursday lunchtimes)
  • Watching productions, both in school locally, or in cinema screenings, where possible.
Suggested reading Please see our Year 7 Recommended Reading List for ideas:

Year 7 Recommended Reading List

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

  • Identify and Explain
  • Interpret and Analyse
  • Compare, Contrast, Evaluate
  • Communicate and Relate
  • Organise and Structure
  • Explore and Imagine
The Gothic and Ghoulish

Exploring spine-chilling short stories and excerpts from both classic and contemporary novels 

  • Writing to terrify, horrify and revolt (including The Monkey’s Paw, The Lottery, excerpts from Stephen King, Octavia E Butler, Richard Preston and Daphne du Maurier)
  • Exploring Monsters: The Werewolf, The Vampire and The Thing with no Name in Literature (including extracts from Dracula, Frankenstein and Jekyll and Hyde)
  • The Gothic in Literature (using excerpts from Helen Oyeyemi and Susan Hill)
  • Ghost Stories (H G Wells)
  • Unreliable and unorthodox narrators (looking at Lemony Snicket and Edgar Allen Poe)
  • The Twist in the Tale (using Roald Dahl short stories)
Transactional Unit

  • Refining skills in writing in using rhetoric and transactional forms, focusing on:
  • Reviews 
  • Letters 
  • Speeches 

Focus on logos, pathos and ethos. 

Comedy Gold

Studying Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado about Nothing’

  • Exploring the play through the lens of comedy
  • Researching historical contexts in relation to marriage conventions and gender roles
  • Performing and imagining comic opportunities in the play
  • Romantic comedies
  • Disguise and Deception in the play and wider Shakespearean plays
  • Endings and Resolutions in comedies
Power and Conflict Poetry Unit

  • Analysing and interpreting poems on the theme of war and conflict
  • War Poetry (Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Tennyson, Hughes)
  • Composition, sequence and shape used in poetry
  • Looking at the human impact and tragedy of war (War Photographer, I am Vietnam) 
  • Performance Poetry and debating
  • Learning to use what-how-why structures to help structure essays

Synthesis Unit: Combining Transactional and Comedy Writing – Baby Beacon

  • Creating mini versions of the school magazine, the Beacon, students work on a long-form project that recaps key skills from the year.
  • This includes writing articles, parodies and satirical content
* R&R (Read and Review) Lessons

In these weekly lessons, students complete a variety of independent reading tasks while one-to-one discussions and feedback is given by the teacher on rotation.

R&R* 

Reading around the Gothic and Ghoulish genre

R&R* 

Exploring non-fiction including a number of ‘Female Voices’

R&R* 

Reading around the Comedy Genre

Assessment Pieces

Reading task based on an unseen spine-chilling story

Assessment Pieces

Transactional task, writing for a specific purpose, audience and form

Assessment Pieces

Extract-based analysis task on unseen poetry on the theme of war

Key vocabulary Learning new literary styles and terms:

macabre, allegory, foreshadowing, the Gothic, the Outsider, omniscient narrators, third-person subjective, unreliable narrators

Learning new persuasive techniques: 

rhetoric, anaphora, epiphora

Learning about media bias, proof-reading purpose, audience and form

Learning comic terms: 

wit, absurd situations, visual humour, incongruity, dramatic irony, innuendo, euphemism, malapropisms, puns, farce, slapstick

Outside the taught curriculum Opportunities for students include:

  • Completing the Reading Challenges, organised through the Library
  • Participating in Latin and Classics club (Thursday lunchtimes) or the online Creative Writing Club (classroom code: qg36s6h)
  • Submitting entries for Creative Writing competitions (set on a termly basis) and contributing to Celebration of the Arts evening in June/July
  • Taking part in Drama Club (Thursday lunchtimes)
  • Watching productions, both in school, locally, or in cinema screenings
Suggested reading Please see our Key Stage 3 Recommended Reading List for ideas:

Key Stage 3 Recommended Reading List

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

  • Identify and Explain
  • Interpret and Analyse
  • Compare, Contrast, Evaluate
  • Communicate and Relate
  • Organise and Structure
  • Explore and Imagine
Imaginative Writing

  • Exploring perspectives and personas in writing
  • Crafting characters
  • Organising writing: looking at exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and denouement
  • Alternative structures – looking at new ways to shape narrative 
  • Shaping expression through showing, rather than telling

Nineteenth-Century Short Stories and Non-Fiction

  • Reading, comparing and evaluating a wide selection of short stories and non-fiction pieces on social issues (education, poverty, family and absent parents, marriage, crime etc) and interests (adventure and exploration, the Gothic genre)
Studying ‘Whose Life is it, Anyway?’ – Brian Clark

  • Debating ethical and social issues (euthanasia/right to life in particular)
  • Looking at the way social issues are presented in a playwright’s ideas and perspectives and in non-fiction 
  • Analysing, comparing and contrasting characters
  • Evaluating how events are structured in the play

Studying Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ 

  • Understanding the key features of a Shakespearean tragedy, in context to tragedies across the ages (from Ancient Greek to 20th century plays)
  • Exploring critical interpretations of the play, from theatrical critics’ views to feminist and post-colonialist critics
  • Character focus on: Iago as an antagonist, with exploration of Machiavellian characters
  • Character focus on: Othello and the tragic hero
  • Analysis of motifs, symbolism and imagery in the play
  • Exploring the treatment of race and gender politics in the play
The Modern Novel

Studying ‘Animal Farm’ – George Orwell 

  • Exploring contexts, understanding the way this text works as an allegory and reading around the time period/ other dystopian literary extracts 
  • Looking at propaganda and the ways leaders use words and performance to sway an audience
  • Exploring imagery and narrative methods used to engage the reader
  • Debates over key ideas in the novel
  • Consideration of structure: how do the characters develop across chapters? What clues are there in the novel?
  • Exploring Barthes’ Death of the Author theoretical approach.
* R&R (Read and Review) Lessons

In these weekly lessons, students complete a variety of independent reading tasks while one-to-one discussions and feedback is given by the teacher on rotation.

R&R* 

Wranglestone – Darren Charlton

Reading Sherlock Holmes stories: The Case of the Speckled Band and The Red-Headed League

R&R* 

Reading around the nineteenth-century genre (from wide school selection, both fiction and non-fiction)

R&R* 

Reading around modern literature

Reading Challenge  

Assessment Pieces

Imaginative Writing piece

Assessment Pieces

Reading C19th Fiction and Non-Fiction task, analysing, identifying and comparing unseen passages

Assessment Pieces

Literature task, based on a whole-text exploration of ‘Othello’

Key vocabulary Learning new creative writing terms:

Perspective, in media res, focalizer, omniscient narrative voice, personification, motif

Learning terms about self-expression: autonomy, orator, bureaucracy

Learning new tragedy terms:

tragedy, catharsis, hamartia, anagnorisis, hubris, Machiavellian, catalyst, tragic hero

Learning new terms:

Allegory, fable, satire, irony, authorial voice, cyclical narrative, foreshadowing, rhetoric, propaganda, revolutionary, Marxism, capitalist, communist, fascist, socialist, Soviet totalitarianism, corruption

Outside the taught curriculum Opportunities for students include:

  • Completing the Reading Challenges, organised through the Library
  • Participating in Latin and Classics club (Thursday lunchtimes) or the online Creative Writing Club (classroom code: qg36s6h)
  • Submitting entries for Creative Writing competitions (set on a termly basis), entering the Poetry by Heart competition, and contributing to Celebration of the Arts evening in June/July
  • Taking part in Drama Club (Thursday lunchtimes)
  • Watching productions, both in school, locally, or in cinema screenings
Suggested reading Please see our Key Stage 3 into Key Stage 4 Recommended Reading List for ideas:

KS3 into KS4 Recommended Reading List

English Language

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

  • Identify and Explain (Lang AO1-4)
  • Interpret and Analyse (Lang AO1-4)
  • Compare, Contrast and Evaluate (Language AO1-4)
  • Communicate and Relate (Lang AO5 &6, and AO7-9 for SLE)
  • Organise and Structure (Lang AO5 and AO6; AO7-9 for SLE)
  • Explore and Imagine (Lang AO2-6)
English Language Paper 2: 

Non-fiction and Transactional Writing

  • Understanding, interpreting, and analysing language, form and structure of unseen C20th or C21st texts
  • To be able to write effective texts that are suited to purpose, audience and form
  • To be able to write in a range of forms to suit a range of audiences in an engaging way, including focus this term on:
    • articles
    • speeches 
  • Exploring journalistic and oratorial devices used to engage an audience and how to use these in students’ own writing
  • Reading a wide range of non-fiction extracts to build confidence in the genre
English Language Paper 1: C19th Fiction and Imaginative Writing

  • Understanding, interpreting and analysing language, form and structure of an unseen C19th text
  • To identify and interpret explicit and implicit ideas and information 
  • Developing understanding of the literary canon and texts produced during the C19th, including how to work out the meaning of unfamiliar C19th vocabulary
  • To evaluate a writer’s intention, commenting on the importance of language and structure in creating meanings
  • To evaluate settings, ideas, themes and events in an unseen extract
  • To identify through inference and implied choices 
  • To plan and write original narratives that are interesting and engaging
  • To be able to write effective texts that are suited to purpose, audience and form
  • To be able to structure imaginative writing for effect, considering how to manipulate reader’s interest.
  • Revision of narrative structures from Year 9, including: in media res, frame narratives, ABCD patterns, shocking statements and dialogue
  • Crafting authentic characters and settings
  • Using vocabulary selectively
  • Using sentence structure and paragraphing accurately, and for effect
Paper 2 English Language: 

Spoken Language Endorsement

  • Demonstrate presentation skills in a formal setting 
  • Listen and respond appropriately to spoken language, including to questions and feedback to presentations 
  • Use spoken Standard English effectively in speeches and presentations

English Language Revision Period:

Revision of Paper 1

  • Students will use some lesson time to be coached by their teachers in areas of development revising Paper 1 
  • Revisiting key topics taught earlier in the course
Assessment Pieces

Students will complete a Common Assessment Task in November 2022 consisting of a transactional writing task, either an article or a speech, assessed against AO5/6 for GCSE Paper 2 Section B.  

Assessment Pieces

Ongoing teacher-selected formative assessments, to include: practice exam questions/paragraphs/plans, assessing relevant skills

Assessment Pieces

Students will complete a full paper 1: Fiction and Imaginative Writing /64 in their summer examinations in June 2023.

Students will also complete their Spoken Language Endorsement in July 2023, assessed at three levels: distinction, merit and pass.

Key vocabulary Some key terms, not exhaustive:  Further key terms for English study can be found here: https://www.litcharts.com/literary-devices-and-terms
auditory (sound), visual (sight), kinaesthetic (movement), olfactory (smell), tactile (touch/ feeling)

alliteration

anaphora/epiphora

assonance

bias

connotation/denotation 

emotive language

Ethos (an appeal to ethics)

hyperbole 

imperatives/comparative/interrogative

imagery 

irony 

Logos (an appeal to logic)

juxtaposition

metaphor 

narration, first person 

narration, third person

objective information

Pathos (an appeal to emotion)

rapport

register

rhetorical question

Stream of Consciousness

subjective information 

symbolism

tone 

tricolon/rule of three

verisimilitude

Outside the taught curriculum
  • Students have opportunities to extend their debating and public speaking skills during the weekly Senior Debate Society (Friday lunchtimes in Room 11)
  • Participating in Latin club (Thursday lunchtimes Room 10) or the online Creative Writing Club (classroom code: qg36s6h)
  • Submitting entries for Creative Writing competitions (set on a termly basis) and contributing to Celebration of the Arts evening in June/July 
  • Students can access high-quality additional materials and lectures on MASSOLIT and complete revision, where available, on SENECA. We also recommend In Our Time and other Radio 4 programmes.
  • Students are given opportunities to debate externally and speak on behalf of the school in Youth Speaks and ESU Mace debate competitions
  • Students can take part in other scheduled events, where possible (theatre trips, Poetry by Heart competition, Future Voices, Celebration of the Arts evening) 
  • Students are advised to keep a writing journal to hone their transactional and creative writing skills. 
Suggested reading Suggested Key Stage 4 Reading List; we also strongly recommend embellishing reading to include more modern non-fiction. 

Websites like Letters of Note and Speeches of Note are useful, as is daily reading of opinion-based journalism, such as the Guardian, the Times or the Independent for articles and reviews. 

English Literature

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

  • Identify and Explain (Lit AO1,2)
  • Interpret and Analyse (Lit AO1, AO2)
  • Compare, Contrast and Evaluate (Lit AO1, AO2, AO3.)
  • Communicate and Relate (Lit AO1)
  • Organise and Structure (Lit AO1, AO4)
  • Explore and Imagine (Lit AO1, AO3)
English Literature Paper 2: The Modern Text 

(Teacher choice of An Inspector Calls, Lord of the Flies, Never Let Me Go or The History Boys)

  • Investigating plot, character, theme and structure of a modern text
  • To investigate the range of methods used by authors to engage and structure a purposeful and interesting narrative
  • Exploration of the conventions of dramatic plays or modern novels, applying them to the text with confidence
  • To recognise the importance of social, cultural and historical contexts of the production of a text investigate these meanings in the context of this text
  • To develop essay writing skills, considering what big ideas to use to construct an argument, how a writer presents ideas through dramatic or narrative methods, and to engage with authorial intentions – why do they position ideas in such ways or what do they want the reader to think about through the presentation of X or Y?
English Literature Paper 1: Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ 

  • Exploration of the dramatic construction of the play, including its structure and dramatic methods used
  • Revision of the conventions of tragedy, applying them to the play
  • Exploration of characterisation, plot and thematic concerns of the play
  • Knowledge and understanding of the contextual issues in the play, such as power and ambition, or the role of family or women
  • Knowledge and understanding of the social and historical context of life in Jacobean England, and of C11th Scotland
  • Continuing to hone essay writing skills, refining how to select big ideas, how to embed evidence and how a writer presents ideas through dramatic methods
English Literature Paper 2: AQA Love and Relationships Poetry Anthology and Unseen Poetry

  • How to analyse and respond to an unseen poem
  • To develop critical views and analyse poetry in a perceptive and critical way
  • To analyse the impact of poetic methods for different readers, over time
  • To understand the relevance of social, political and literary contexts of texts on movements in Literature, like Romanticism
  • To investigate the range of methods used by poets to engage a reader, including structural devices (enjambment, stanza organisation etc) and conventions of poetic forms
  • To recognise how meanings of texts can shift over time and to investigate these meanings in the context of this text
Assessment Pieces

Students will complete a common assessment in early January 2023, completing a practice exam question in timed conditions.

Assessment Pieces

Ongoing teacher-selected formative assessments, to include: low-stakes assessments and practice essay questions/paragraphs/plans, assessing skills

Assessment Pieces

Students will complete a Macbeth assessment in their summer exams in June 2023. 

Key vocabulary Lord of the Flies:

Allegorical, omniscient, democracy, civilisation, savagery, anarchy, symbolic, human nature, foreshadows, utopia, dystopia, dichotomy, hierarchy, messianic, allusion

Never Let Me Go:

Anagnorisis, Bildungsroman, dislocation, dystopian, edify, euphemism, hegemony, human condition, institutionalised, mundane, non-linear storytelling, nostalgia, othering, pastoral, transgression, unreliable narrator

An Inspector Calls:

Mouthpiece, audience surrogate, polemical, catalyst, stichomythia, domestic sphere, social expectations, climatic curtain, hegemony, pretences

The History Boys:

Farce, satire, alienation, absurd, unrequited, eccentric, retrospective narrator, breaking the fourth wall, non-linear, dramatic irony, intertextual references, euphemism, flashforwards/flashbacks, catalyst, innuendo and double entendre, apotheosis, meretricious

Macbeth:

Five-act Shakespearean play includes: exposition, complication, crisis, resolution and denouement, tragic hero, catharsis, hubris, hamartia, anagnorisis, protagonist, antagonist, peripeteia, pathos, soliloquy, blank verse, stichomythia, aside, allegory, epithet, Divine Right of Kings, Great Chain of Being. 

Additional key terms for English Literature study can be found here: https://www.litcharts.com/literary-devices-and-terms

General Poetic Terms:

Stanza (e.g. couplet, tercet, quatrain, sestet, octave etc.), end-stopped lines, caesura, enjambment, contrast, motif, simile, metaphor, symbolism, concrete and abstract images, personification, pathetic fallacy, conceit, voice, tone, alliteration, sibilance, rhyme, rhythm, pace, meter, hard or soft consonants, plosives, relevant poetic form (e.g. elegy, sonnet (Petrarchan, Elizabethan), ballad).

Love and Relationships:

natural or pastoral imagery, Romantics, dramatic monologue, Petrarchan sonnet, free verse, Punglish, idiom, poet laureate, tercets, ambiguous endings, nautical or cartographical imagery, Edenic

Outside the taught curriculum
  • Students can access high-quality additional materials and lectures on MASSOLIT and complete revision, where available, on SENECA. We also recommend In Our Time and other Radio 4 programmes.
  • Students have opportunities to extend their debating and public speaking skills during the weekly Senior Debate Society (Friday lunchtimes in Room 11) or by participating in the Poetry by Heart competition
  • Participating in Latin club (Thursday lunchtimes Room 10) or the online Creative Writing Club (classroom code: qg36s6h)
  • Submitting entries for Creative Writing competitions (set on a termly basis) and contributing to Celebration of the Arts evening in the summer
  • Students are given opportunities to debate externally and speak on behalf of the school in Youth Speaks and ESU Mace debate competitions
  • Students can take part in other scheduled events, where possible (theatre trips to see texts in performance or guest lectures, Celebration of the Arts evening) 
Suggested reading Suggested Key Stage 4 Reading List.

Resources to support Literature study can be found on the British Library website, in the ‘Discovering Literature’ section. 

English Language

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

  • Identify and Explain (Lang AO1-4)
  • Interpret and Analyse (Lang AO1-4)
  • Compare, Contrast and Evaluate (Language AO1-4)
  • Communicate and Relate (Lang AO5 &6, and AO7-9 for SLE)
  • Organise and Structure (Lang AO5 and AO6; AO7-9 for SLE)
  • Explore and Imagine (Lang AO2-6)
Paper 2 English Language: 

Non-fiction and Transactional Writing

  • Understanding, interpreting, and analysing language, form and structure of unseen C20th or C21st texts
  • To compare and contrast views and perspectives when exploring non-fiction texts, particularly opinions, bias, ideas and themes through analysing voice and register, structure and language in two or more texts. 
  • To be able to write effective texts that are suited to purpose, audience and form 
  • To be able to structure transactional writing for effect, considering how to manipulate reader’s interest.
  • To be able to write in a range of forms to suit a range of audiences in an engaging way, including focus this term on:
    • letters, both formal and informal
    • reviews
    • obituaries
  • Using vocabulary selectively
  • Reading a wide range of non-fiction extracts to build confidence in the genre
Paper 2 English Language: 

Non-fiction and Transactional Writing

  • Understanding, interpreting, and analysing language, form and structure of unseen C20th or C21st texts
  • To evaluate settings, ideas, themes, and events in an unseen extract
  • To evaluate a writer’s intention, commenting on the importance of language and structure in creating meanings
  • To identify and interpret explicit and implicit ideas and information 
  • Using sentence structure and paragraphing accurately, and for effect
  • To be able to write effective texts in a range of forms to suit a range of audiences in an engaging way, including focus this term on:
    • textbook entries
    • autobiographies
    • travel writing
English Language Revision Period:

Revision of all modules completed so far

  • Students use lesson time to be coached by their teachers in areas of development. 
  • Revisit key topics taught earlier in the course
Assessment Pieces

Students will complete a Common Assessment Task in the November exam session in 2022, consisting of a 7a and 7b question, with a transactional writing task, assessed against AO5/6 for GCSE Paper 2 Section B.  

Additional assessments may be made of Q7a and b) style questions, or other areas of focus, by teachers. 

Assessment Pieces

Additional assessments may be made of Q1-7b style questions, or other areas of focus, by teachers. 

Assessment Pieces

Ongoing assessments completed in topics of student’s choice. 1 piece per week’s allowance.

Key vocabulary Some key terms, not exhaustive:  Further key terms for English study can be found here: https://www.litcharts.com/literary-devices-and-terms
alliteration

anaphora/epiphora

anecdote

assonance

bias

connotation/denotation 

emotive language

hyperbole 

imperatives/comparative/interrogative

imagery 

irony 

juxtaposition

metaphor 

narration, first person 

narration, third person

objective information

rapport

register

rhetorical question

subjective information 

symbolism

tone 

tricolon/rule of three

Outside the taught curriculum
  • Students have opportunities to extend their debating and public speaking skills during the weekly Senior Debate Society (Friday lunchtimes in Room 11) and through entering the Poetry by Heart competition
  • Students in Year 11 may attend Lit Soc on Tuesday lunchtimes in room 11. At Lit Soc, students are provided opportunities to go beyond the curriculum and explore new and niche areas of literature. Guest speakers and a rotation of teachers lead sessions, capitalising on areas of interest, with a book club element each half term. 
  • Participating in Latin club (Thursday lunchtimes Room 10) or the online Creative Writing Club (classroom code: qg36s6h)
  • Submitting entries for Creative Writing competitions (set on a termly basis) and contributing to Celebration of the Arts evening in the summer term.
  • Students can access high-quality additional materials and lectures on MASSOLIT and complete revision, where available, on SENECA. We also recommend In Our Time and other Radio 4 programmes.
  • Students are given opportunities to debate externally and speak on behalf of the school in Youth Speaks and ESU Mace debate competitions
  • Students can take part in other scheduled events, where possible (Future Voices, Celebration of the Arts evening) 
  • Students are advised to keep a writing journal to hone their transactional and creative writing skills. 
Suggested reading Suggested Key Stage 4 Reading List; we also strongly recommend embellishing reading to include more modern non-fiction. 

Websites like Letters of Note and Speeches of Note are useful, as is daily reading of opinion-based journalism, such as the Guardian, the Times or the Independent for articles and reviews. 

English Literature

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

  • Identify and Explain (Lit AO1, 2)
  • Interpret and Analyse (Lit AO1, AO2)
  • Compare, Contrast and Evaluate (Lit AO1, AO2, AO3)
  • Communicate and Relate (Lit AO1, AO4)
  • Organise and Structure (Lit AO1, AO4)
  • Explore and Imagine (Lit AO1, AO3)
English Literature Paper 2: AQA Love and Relationships Poetry Anthology 

  • How to analyse and respond to the poems in the AQA Love and Relationships Anthology
  • To develop critical views and analyse the Anthology poems in a perceptive and critical way
  • To analyse the impact of poetic methods for different readers, over time
  • To understand the relevance of social, political and literary contexts of texts on movements in Literature, like Romanticism
  • To investigate the range of methods used by poets to engage a reader, including structural devices (enjambment, stanza organisation etc) and conventions of poetic forms
  • To recognise how meanings of texts can shift over time and to investigate these meanings in the context of this text
English Literature Paper 1: The Nineteenth Century Novel (Teacher choice from Great Expectations, Frankenstein, A Christmas Carol, Jekyll and Hyde)

  • Investigating plot, character, theme and structure of a C19th text
  • To investigate the range of methods used by authors to engage and structure a purposeful and interesting narrative
  • To recognise the importance of social, cultural and historical contexts on the production of a text and to relate these to characters, settings and ideas
  • To recognise how meanings of texts can shift over time and to investigate these meanings in the context of this text
  • To have a secure understanding of the range of relevant contexts in relation to this text
  • To understand and investigate where this text ‘sits’ within the canon of literature. 
  • To refine essay writing skills, considering what big ideas to use to construct an argument, how a writer presents ideas through narrative methods, and to engage with authorial intentions 
English Literature Revision Period – Revision of all modules completed so far

  • Students to use lesson time to be coached by their teachers in areas of development. 
  • Revisit key topics taught earlier in the course
Assessment Pieces

Students will complete: an essay on the Love and Relationships poetry anthology; both 27.1 and 27.2 unseen poetry questions in November/December 2022, in exam-conditions.

Assessment Pieces

Students will complete an assessment in February/March 2023, on their nineteenth-century texts, in exam-conditions. 

Assessment Pieces

Ongoing assessments completed in topics of student’s choice. 1 essay per week allowance.

Key vocabulary Love and Relationships:

natural or pastoral imagery, Romantics, dramatic monologue, Petrarchan sonnet, free verse, Punglish, idiom, poet laureate, tercets, ambiguous endings, nautical or cartographical imagery, Edenic

General Poetic Terms:

Stanza (e.g. couplet, tercet, quatrain, sestet, octave etc.), end-stopped lines, caesura, enjambment, contrast, motif, simile, metaphor, symbolism, concrete and abstract images, personification, pathetic fallacy, conceit, voice, tone, alliteration, sibilance, rhyme, rhythm, pace, meter, hard or soft consonants, plosives, relevant poetic form (e.g. elegy, sonnet (Petrarchan, Elizabethan), ballad)

Frankenstein:

framed narrative, epistolary fiction, galvanism, Romanticism, the Sublime, the Age of Enlightenment, transgression, doppelgänger, Gothic / Gothic Outsider, hubris.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: 

Gothic, duality, epistolary, sublime, uncanny, hubris, social expectations

Great Expectations:

bildungsroman, serial/periodicals, autobiographical, retrospective narration, narrative tension, cyclical narrative, gothic setting, character doubles, post-Industrial Revolution Victorian social structures

A Christmas Carol:

avarice, predestination, novella, want, miserly, redemption, prophetic, staves, ephemeral, repentance

Additional key terms for English Literature study can be found here: https://www.litcharts.com/literary-devices-and-terms
Outside the taught curriculum
  • Students can access high-quality additional materials and lectures on MASSOLIT and complete revision, where available, on SENECA. We also recommend In Our Time and other Radio 4 programmes.
  • Students have opportunities to extend their debating and public speaking skills during the weekly Senior Debate Society (Friday lunchtimes, Room 11) or representing the school in ESU MACE and Oxford Schools’ competitions
  • Participating in Latin club (Thursday lunchtimes Room 10) or the online Creative Writing Club (classroom code: qg36s6h)
  • Submitting entries for Creative Writing competitions (set on a termly basis) and contributing to Celebration of the Arts evening in June/July
  • Students in Year 11 may attend Lit Soc on Tuesday lunchtimes in room 11. At Lit Soc, students are provided opportunities to go beyond the curriculum and explore new and niche areas of literature. Guest speakers and a rotation of teachers lead sessions, capitalising on areas of interest, with a book club element each half term. 
  • Students can take part in other scheduled events, where possible (participating in the Poetry by Heart competition, going on theatre trips to see texts in performance or guest lectures etc) 
Suggested reading Suggested Key Stage 4 Reading List, though students may like to prepare for future A Level study using our KS5 Reading List

Resources to support Literature study can be found on the British Library website, in the ‘Discovering Literature’ section.

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

  • Identify and Explain (Lit AO1,2,3)
  • Interpret and Analyse (Lit AO1, AO2,AO3)
  • Compare, Contrast and Evaluate (Lit AO1, AO2, AO3, AO4)
  • Communicate and Relate (Lit AO1, AO5, AO4)
  • Organise and Structure (Lit AO1, AO5)
  • Explore and Imagine (Lit AO1, AO4, AO5)
Students have two teachers for their A level study. Each teacher will take students through a different aspect of the course. 

Paper 1: Aspects of Comedy – Wider AO4 Comedy Genre and Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’

Students study and learn the generic conventions of comedies, with exploration of how texts develop across the centuries and decades. Using an array of texts, from ancient Greek plays and middle English poetry in excerpts from Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath, up to modern day satire, autobiographies, and screenplays, including Fight Club, Small Island, Richard Curtis and Nora Ephron scripts, students explore how comedy responds to socio-political movements, moral shifts and cultural trends. Students produce presentations to help build communication skills on movements such as Restoration Comedy, Theatre of the Absurd and Comedy of Manners to build their knowledge of the genres. 

Students then explore Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, looking particularly at how the text operates within the comedic genre. They build confidence and expertise in analysing dramatic methods and are able to communicate and relate their ideas with increasingly perceptive ideas on the texts as the term progresses. They will be: 

  • Studying comedy texts through subgenres and identifying key conventions, whether a text is a classic romantic drama, a satire, a comedy of manners etc.;
  • Investigate the settings for the comedy, both places and times;
  • Identify the journey towards knowledge and happiness for the protagonists, often in relation to their love interest, their mistakes and misunderstandings along their journey, moments of unhappiness and ultimate sense of joy;
  • Investigate the role of the comic villain, or rival, who directly affects the fortune of the hero or heroine;
  • Notice patterns in the exposition and resolutions in comedies;
  • Investigate how the behaviour of the hero or heroine affects primarily themselves and perhaps one or two others;
  • Developing skills in constructing and structuring assured essays that explore and initiate strong lines of debate 

Paper 2: Elements of Social and Political Protest

Students will be studying a range of texts within the Social and Political Protest tradition. 

During this first term they will study: 

Unseen Social and Political Protest texts, across a range of genres and time periods, and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood.

Whilst studying these texts, particular attention will be drawn to: 

  • the type of the text itself, whether it is a post-modern novel, science fiction, satirical poetry, historical and political drama
  • the settings that are created as backdrops for political and social action and the power struggles that are played out on them. Both places (real and imagined) and time settings will also be significant here
  • the specific nature of the power struggle, the behaviours of those with power and those without, those who have their hands on the levers of power
  • the pursuit of power itself, rebellion against those with power, warfare
  • the workings of the ruling political classes
  • corruption, conspiracy, control
  • the connection of the smaller world to the larger world
  • the focus on human organisation: domestically, in the workplace, in local and national governments
  • gender politics and issues of social class
  • the structural patterning of the text, how political tensions are heightened and perhaps resolved
  • the way that language is used in the worlds that are created
  • the way that political and social protest writing is used to comment on society, particularly the representation of society in these historical periods
  • ultimately how political and social protest writing affects audiences and readers, inviting reflection on our own world.
Students have two teachers for their A level study. Each teacher will take students through a different aspect of the course. 

Paper 1: Aspects of Comedy – Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ (continued)

Students will continue their investigation into Shakespeare’s play, looking particularly at how it operates within the comedic genre. They will be completing further study on: 

  • the significance of human folly, trickery and gullibility
  • identifying the use of complex plotting and sub-plots
  • evaluating the way that language is used to heighten the comedy, particularly wit and linguistic play
  • the way that comedy draws attention to itself

Paper 2: Elements of Social and Political Protest

Students will continue to study a range of texts within the Social and Political Protest tradition. 

During this first half term, they will complete their study of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood.

Non-Exam Assessment Preparation – Applying Critical Theories and Prose Study

Students will study literary critical theories and be encouraged to read a range of texts through this lens. 

Students will learn how to apply the following theories to a prose novel or short story collection: 

  • Marxism
  • Feminism
  • Post-Colonialism
  • Narrative theory
  • Literary Value and the Canon

After selecting their prose texts, students create and select their own investigation question which is supported by the teacher.

Non-Exam Assessment Preparation – Applying Critical Theories and Prose Study – (continued)

Students will study literary critical theories and be encouraged to read a range of texts through this lens. 

Students will learn how to apply the following theories to a prose novel or short story collection: 

  • Marxism
  • Feminism
  • Post-Colonialism
  • Narrative theory
  • Literary Value and the Canon

After selecting their prose texts, students create and select their own investigation question which is supported by the teacher.

Paper 1: Aspects of Comedy – 1c Preparation

Students study and prepare for section 1c in Paper 1, starting their exploration of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ by Oscar Wilde 

Paper 2: Elements of Social and Political Protest

Students will be studying a range of texts within the Social and Political Protest tradition. 

During this term they will commence their study of William Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’

Assessment Pieces

Students will be assessed on an Unseen 1a Social and Political Protest essay in November 2022.

Assessment Pieces

Students will be assessed on a Paper 1 1a The Taming of the Shrew essay in February 2023.

Assessment Pieces

Completing first draft of NEA Assessment 1 – Prose essay of 1250-1500 words, using a critical lens to investigate a novel or collection of short stories

Students will be assessed formally during the end of Year 12 examination series on Paper 1: The Taming of the Shrew 1b essay question and Paper 2: 2b The Handmaid’s Tale essay questions

Key vocabulary Key terms for English Literature study can be found here: https://www.litcharts.com/literary-devices-and-terms
Outside the taught curriculum
  • Students have opportunities to extend their debate and public speaking skills during the weekly Senior Debating Society (Friday lunchtimes in Room 11) and on behalf of the school in Youth Speaks and ESU MACE competitions
  • Members of Year 12 can work as part of the much-loved, award-winning Beacon magazine, either as editors, designers, artists, or writers.
  • Students in Year 12 may attend Lit Soc on Tuesday lunchtimes in room 11. At Lit Soc, students are provided opportunities to go beyond the curriculum and explore new and niche areas of literature. Guest speakers and a rotation of teachers lead sessions, capitalising on areas of interest, with a book club element each half term. 
  • Students can get involved in Creative Writing club virtually with multiple competitions offered each term, both internally in House competitions and externally (Google Classroom code qg36s6h)
  • We run a Latin club on Thursdays, learning the language and challenging the idea that it is ‘dead’!
  • Students can take part in other scheduled events (such as activity days or theatre trips, and students may create their own extra-curricular clubs, such as a Sixth Form Book Club or running Junior Debating)
  • We also have opportunities to enter Poetry by Heart and other essay writing competitions 
Suggested reading Our full guidance for the course is available in the A Level English Literature Handbook, which all students are issued with. This includes recommended radio programmes and podcasts. 

Wider reading on all modules is highly recommended. The A Level Reading List is coded to help identify texts within the genres of comedy and social and political protest. Wider reading on literary criticism (namely Marxism, Feminism, Post-Colonialism, Eco-Criticism) is also encouraged; further details on the NEA can be found here: NEA Reading List 

We also recommend: 

Beginning Theory – Peter Barry; Aspects of the Novel – EM Forster; The Norton Anthology of English Literature; The Norton Anthology of Literary Criticism

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

  • Identify and Explain (Lit AO1,2,3)
  • Interpret and Analyse (Lit AO1, AO2,AO3)
  • Compare, Contrast and Evaluate (Lit AO1, AO2, AO3, AO4)
  • Communicate and Relate (Lit AO1, AO5, AO4)
  • Organise and Structure (Lit AO1, AO5)
  • Explore and Imagine (Lit AO1, AO4, AO5)
Students have two teachers for their A level study. Each teacher will take students through a different aspect of the course. 

Paper 1: Aspects of Comedy – 1c Preparation

Students study and prepare for section 1c in Paper 1, completing their exploration of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ – Oscar Wilde and commencing their study of ‘Emma’ – Jane Austen.

Students will investigate both Austen’s novel and Wilde’s play, looking particularly at how they operate within the comedic genre. They build confidence and expertise in analysing dramatic and narrative methods created by writers, and are able to communicate and relate their ideas with increasingly perceptive ideas on the texts as the term progresses. They will be: 

  • Studying comedy texts through subgenres and identifying key conventions, whether a text is a classic romantic drama, a satire, a comedy of manners etc.;
  • Investigate the settings for the comedy, both places and times;
  • Identify the journey towards knowledge and happiness for the protagonists, often in relation to their love interest, their mistakes and misunderstandings along their journey, moments of unhappiness and ultimate sense of joy;
  • Investigate the role of the comic villain, or rival, who directly affects the fortune of the hero or heroine;
  • Notice patterns in the exposition and resolutions in comedies;
  • Investigate how the behaviour of the hero or heroine affects primarily themselves and perhaps one or two others;
  • Developing skills in constructing and structuring assured essays that explore and initiate strong lines of debate 

Paper 2: Elements of Social and Political Protest

Students will be studying a range of texts within the Social and Political Protest tradition. 

During this first term they will study: 

William Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’ and start looking at Khaled Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’. 

Whilst studying these texts, particular attention will be drawn to: 

  • the type of the text itself, whether it is a post-modern novel, science fiction, satirical poetry, historical and political drama
  • the settings that are created as backdrops for political and social action and the power struggles that are played out on them. Both places (real and imagined) and time settings will also be significant here
  • the specific nature of the power struggle, the behaviours of those with power and those without, those who have their hands on the levers of power
  • the pursuit of power itself, rebellion against those with power, warfare
  • the workings of the ruling political classes
  • corruption, conspiracy, control
  • the connection of the smaller world to the larger world
  • the focus on human organisation: domestically, in the workplace, in local and national governments
  • gender politics and issues of social class
  • the structural patterning of the text, how political tensions are heightened and perhaps resolved
  • the way that language is used in the worlds that are created
  • the way that political and social protest writing is used to comment on society, particularly the representation of society in these historical periods
  • ultimately how political and social protest writing affects audiences and readers, inviting reflection on our own world.

Non-Exam Assessment Preparation (Poetry Study)

Students will complete the study of literary critical theories and be encouraged to read a range of texts through this lens. Students will learn how to apply the following theories to a poetry collection: 

  • Marxism
  • Feminism
  • Eco-Criticism
  • Post-Colonialism
  • Narrative theory
  • Literary Value and the Canon

After selecting their poetry texts, students create and select their own investigation question which is supported by the teacher.

Students have two teachers for their A level study. Each teacher will take students through a different aspect of the course. 

Paper 1: Aspects of Comedy – 1c Preparation

Completing the study of ‘Emma’ – Jane Austen and starting revision of Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ 

Paper 2: Elements of Social and Political Protest

This term focuses on the delivery of Khaled Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’, looking at approaches to 2b style essay debate questions.

The focus will draw together in the second half of the term to 2c essays, applying knowledge and understanding of all social and political protest texts studied (‘The Handmaid’s Tale, Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence and of Experience’ and ‘The Kite Runner’) SPP texts (HMT, KR and Songs of Innocence and Experience) 

Non-Exam Assessment Preparation (Poetry Study)

Students will complete and submit their first draft of their poetry NEA, and following discussion with their NEA supervisor, they will redraft this for submission around late March/early April

Paper 1: Aspects of Comedy 

Revision of all sections of Paper 1.

Paper 2: Elements of Social and Political Protest

Revision of all sections of Paper 2.

Assessment Pieces

  • Completing final draft of NEA Assessment 1 – Prose essay of 1250-1500 words, using a critical lens to investigate a novel or collection of short stories
  • Blake 2b essay and Unseen 1a Social and Political Protest essays – Assessment 1 (December 2022)
Assessment Pieces

  • Submitting first drafts and final drafts of NEA Assessment 2 – Poetry essay of 1250-1500 words, using a critical lens to investigate a poem of length (1000 lines roughly) or a collection of poems (15-20 recommended)
  • 1c Comedy Texts essay, exploring ‘Emma’ and ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ – Assessment 2 (February 2023); and 2b essays – Assessment 3 (tbc)
Assessment Pieces

  • 2c essay exploring choice of two texts studied from Paper 2 
Key vocabulary Key terms for English Literature study can be found here: https://www.litcharts.com/literary-devices-and-terms
Outside the taught curriculum
  • Students have opportunities to extend their debate and public speaking skills during the weekly Senior Debating Society (Friday lunchtimes in Room 11) and on behalf of the school in Youth Speaks and ESU MACE competitions
  • Students in Year 13 may attend Lit Soc on Tuesday lunchtimes in room 11. At Lit Soc, students are provided opportunities to go beyond the curriculum and explore new and niche areas of literature. Guest speakers and a rotation of teachers lead sessions, capitalising on areas of interest, with a book club element each half term. 
  • Students can get involved in Creative Writing club virtually with multiple competitions offered each term, both internally in House competitions and externally (Google Classroom code qg36s6h)
  • We run a Latin club on Thursdays, learning the language and challenging the idea that it is ‘dead’!
  • Students can take part in other scheduled events (such as activity days or theatre trips, and students may create their own extra-curricular clubs, such as a Sixth Form Book Club or running Junior Debating)
  • We also have opportunities to enter Poetry by Heart and other essay writing competitions
Suggested reading Our full guidance for the course is available in the A Level English Literature Handbook, which all students are issued with. This includes recommended radio programmes and podcasts. 

Wider reading on all modules is highly recommended. The A Level Reading List is coded to help identify texts within the genres of comedy and social and political protest. Wider reading on literary criticism (namely Marxism, Feminism, Post-Colonialism, Eco-Criticism) is also encouraged; further details on the NEA can be found here: NEA Reading List 

We also recommend: 

Beginning Theory – Peter Barry; Aspects of the Novel – EM Forster; The Norton Anthology of English Literature; The Norton Anthology of Literary Criticism

Further information

  • Mrs L Mckee (Head of Department)
  • Ms M Bates (Second in Department)
  • Miss J Glendenning  (Assistant Headteacher)
  • Miss M McDonnell
  • Miss D Plante-Bekenn
  • Ms E Gallagher
  • Mrs T Whybrow

Additional Information

The English department is forward-thinking and innovative in its practice and is constantly striving to enable students to reach their full academic potential in the subject. English is popular amongst students, who enjoy the lessons, the styles of teaching and relish the challenges they are faced with.

The subject is a popular option for Sixth Form students and many have gone on to study English at undergraduate level at universities such as Oxford and Cambridge.

How to improve

  • Read, read, read….
  • Use the resources of the library; it contains a plethora of texts, whether for background reading/ research purposes or the sheer joy of reading. Mrs Harris can help you with any queries you have.
  • Read around the subject, especially if you are GCSE and A level students. The more awareness you have of the context, genre, and literary tradition of the texts you are studying, the greater your understanding of the issues/perspectives of the writers will be. This is also becoming significantly important as the future GCSE in development focuses on a much wider range of texts.
  • Write down and learn corrected spellings after each piece of work
  • Ask for grammar, spelling or punctuation worksheets for additional support. The department has a lot of resources that are readily available to all students. Please learn how to use apostrophes correctly. From 2015, 20% of the GCSEs will be awarded for correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  • Be proactive. If you are told that you need to update notes/character profiles/theme grids/plot summaries/tension graphs, etc. make sure you do this on an ongoing basis. All this information will be vital to your success; both in an end of unit assessment but also in order for you to understand texts being studied.

The English Department works closely with an external Literacy Support teacher, Mr Waggott. Mr Waggott supports students with EAL difficulties. If you feel any of these members of staff can provide you with additional support, please discuss it with your subject teacher. Likewise, if your subject teacher has recommended you have support from these members of staff make the most of this opportunity. It is not something to feel embarrassed about; they are all here to maximise your enjoyment and understanding of the subject (and indeed all your written subjects).

Studies and statistics show that reading is the most beneficial activity to support learning and development across the curriculum. A study by the OECD found that learners that read for up to 30 minutes per day perform significantly beyond their age group, compared with those learners who do not read at all [OECD (2002) Reading for Change: Performance and engagement across countries p.16-17].

The correlation between reading and learning in English is marked, hence why we believe it should be a top priority for students. There are many ways you can support this at home to support:

  • Be seen to be reading regularly (this can be any texts: newspapers, articles, novels, journals, plays, poetry);
  • Discuss your reading with your children (what have you enjoyed? What have you not enjoyed so much? What other novels/ texts does it remind you of?);
  • Take an interest in their reading material- all students are expected to take part in the school’s Reading Challenges, ask them to describe characters, plot, events to you;
  • Encourage your daughter to take an interest in current affairs- use this as a stimulus for conversation ( you could use the ‘Agree, Build, Challenge’ mantra which is a good way to engage in a conversation/ debate (there’s a useful Blog post on this style of questioning here: https://www.theconfidentteacher.com/2013/12/disciplined-discussion-easy-abc/)
  • Keep a reading journal of your own, model effective behaviours to your child.
  • Help them learn complex spellings- you may keep a spelling book at home or test them during a long journey.

If your daughter feels as though she is struggling, there is help available outside of her English lessons. She can book a 121 appointment with her English teacher or seek support from our trained student ambassadors. Here, your daughter can bring her work or anything she is having difficulty with and have one-to-one support with an English teacher or a trained English Assistant.

English is a versatile subject that is marketable in the majority of career areas. English graduates often go on to careers where communication and effective written English are valued; the subject does offer a plethora of possible career paths. With a qualification in English, you could pursue careers in writing, journalism, publishing, law, teaching, advertising, business, accounting, finance… the list goes on!

All department members contribute actively and energetically to the life of the school, for example organising “The Beacon” the school magazine published at the end of the academic year and Junior and Senior Debating societies. The department also runs a Creative Writing Club and IntoFilm Club.

As well as these ongoing activities, we also encourage students to enter external competitions, including the Birmingham Young Poet Laureate and the annual Speak Out competition. Any competitions are advertised on the notice boards in the playroom and Sixth Form Common Room and students are notified by email.

We endeavour to organise evening trips to the theatre when possible and arrange other extra curricular opportunities when they arise.

English opportunities parents can provide

  • Theatre trips: this does not necessarily have to be texts we are studying. As we study a range of plays, the experience of seeing any production on stage will be beneficial.
  • Adaptations of novels/plays are often televised and can be worth watching. The BBC often has ‘seasons’ on a particular writer, which would also be useful to provide context for your daughter. Examples in the past are Jane Austen, William Shakespeare and Mary Shelley.
  • Encouraging your daughter to use the school library as well as a local library.
  • Encouraging your daughter to read newspapers and a range of non-fiction texts will be beneficial to enhance their reading/writing skills. It will also make them aware of what is happening around them and the topics that they may need to explore in an examination situation.
  • Encouraging your daughter to take part in activities being run in school and to speak to their subject teacher if they have concerns.
  • Discussing the texts your daughter is studying with them. It will help your daughter consolidate her knowledge and give her the opportunity to express her opinions on a range of different issues.