English is a critical part of today’s education. We aim to help our learners develop into effective, articulate communicators, who have the skills to succeed in the 21st century.
Our innovative approaches, including the use of ICT in the classrooms, means that we are able to prepare students for the challenges and opportunities they may face in their future.
English can be divided into three key aspects of reading, writing and speaking and listening. We want to make sure that our students develop high levels of literacy and communication skills in each of these areas, for everyday life. A key part of doing this is to harness their imagination and creativity. This helps to develop a culture of explorative curiosity and open-mindedness that inspires students with a passion for words and an appreciation of their own and other cultures.
- Our drive is to create independent learners who are willing to take risks and willing to try new things.
- We aim to facilitate learning through exploration and discovery, and encourage pupils and students to take responsibility for their own learning.
- We want our learners to be cooperative, collaborative, reflective and able to self evaluate. We will encourage them to do this through the creation of a supportive atmosphere that rewards effort as well as success,
- Above all, we want to make sure our lessons are engaging, and infuse our pupils with the enthusiasm and passion we feel for English.
Our results at all key stages are very strong, with our GCSE and A-levels in particular being outstanding. Many of our A-level students choose to continue their English studies at some of the country’s most prestigious universities. We are very proud of our track record of results and work hard to maintain our high standards.
Key Stage 3
At KS3, pupils study a variety of units covering the new English curriculum. In Year 7 pupils study the craft of writers; experiment with different forms of poetry; and, learn about the rich heritage of English Literature. Small groups of pupils also complete Literacy Plus Units (LPUs) to help them to build upon their key skills from KS2.
These skills are consolidated in Year 8, where pupils study a body of poetry from one writer and learn about the intricacies of specific genres. They also study a range of plays – from Elizabethan theatre to modern drama.
In Year 9, pupils consolidate the skills learned in year 7 and 8, while laying the foundations for the GCSE courses. Year 9 students study one complete work by William Shakespeare (this year, A Midsummer Night’s Dream) using fun, practical, workshop-based ways into the text. There are also opportunities for pupils to develop their media skills in year 9 in both practical and theoretical ways.
Pupils are given many opportunities to approach their work creatively. For example, they may prepare work in class which could be placed on the Bay House English Channel - allowing them to create texts for real audiences. Pupils are given the opportunity to visit Shakespeare’s Globe in London and have access to a variety of other extra-curricular activities, from poetry writing competitions to visits from authors and a creative writing club.
Key Stage 4
At KS4, all students follow the AQA English and English Literature course, (Specification A). This is assessed through a combination of spoken and written coursework, and terminal examinations: two for English and one for English Literature.
In Year 10, pupils begin to compile their coursework folders, producing pieces based around media, modern drama and original writing. They will take part in a range of speaking and listening activities, some of which will contribute towards their coursework folder. They also study poetry from other cultures and traditions and begin to develop their skills for the terminal examinations.
In Year 11, pupils study a play by William Shakespeare and a significant work of pre-twentieth century prose as their final pieces of coursework. They also complete their speaking and listening folders. Students then study poetry from two of the UK’s best-known contemporary poets, as well as pre-1914 poetry.
In addition, they study one complete prose text. While studying these works of poetry and prose, pupils also hone their communication skills, working on how to read a variety of non-fiction texts for meaning and how to write convincingly in a variety of styles and genres.
These skills all build on the solid foundations pupils were given in KS3. We offer all our KS4 students the opportunity to come and see live theatre performances and poetry readings linked to the curriculum. This year, amongst others, we have offered trips to Poetry Live and Shakespeare’s R&J. We also encourage them to produce work for real audiences by putting presentations on the Bay House English Channel.