English Language and English Literature are undoubtedly among the most important and influential subjects learnt at school. From the necessary lifeskills of communicating through writing and speaking, to nurturing a life-long love of literature, the English Department has something to offer every learner.
The intent of the English Curriculum
The KS3 English curriculum at Sir John Leman High School is designed to support all students in developing the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills needed to be successful in school and beyond. The curriculum ensures that students are able to grow into thoughtful readers and skilled writers, and that they have the necessary grounding for the two GCSEs that they will take at KS4. The curriculum covers three key areas:
Reading: students will encouraged to read widely and critically. They will be taught to read for comprehension, to make inferences in texts, to analyse the ways that fiction and non-fiction texts are written, to support their ideas with relevant textual references, and to relate texts to their contexts.
Writing: students will be taught to enjoy crafting their writing for a range of purposes and audiences, to use a variety of structural features and punctuation to manipulate the reader, to use a wide range of vocabulary, and to structure their texts effectively.
Speaking and Listening: students will be taught to speak and listen in a variety of contexts, including formal presentations.
How is the English Curriculum implemented?
Reading, writing, and speaking and listening skills are taught through schemes of work focusing on different topics. Each scheme of work will cover a range of skills, gradually building in complexity as students move through the years. Units may be taught in a different order due to timetable considerations.
1) Non-Fiction: students look at biographical and autobiographical writing, and produce their own autobiography.
2) ‘Stormcatchers’ – Tim Bowler: students read a novel, developing their skills of analysis and inference.
3) Poetry: students explore a range of poetic forms
4) Crime Writing: students read a range of short stories and extracts, using these to inspire their own short story entitled ‘The Great Sweet Shop Robbery’.
5) Transactional Writing: students read a range of non-fiction texts and use these to inspire their own writing, developing their ability to write in different forms and for different purposes.
6) Heroes and Villains: students read a range of extracts from classic texts, exploring what makes a ‘hero’ or a ‘villain’ and how these characters are presented.
7) Moving Images: students develop their understanding of how film makers achieve particular responses from audiences, and begin to develop evaluative skills.
8) The Other Side of Truth – Beverley Naidoo: a class novel, through which students consider issues of identity, belonging and justice.
9) David Copperfield: a short introduction to one of Charles Dickens’ classic novels, introducing students to the bildungsroman form.
10) Formal presentations on students’ ‘best ever’ film, book, etc, and on a historical figure of their choice.
1) Novel (‘Strange Star’/‘The Lie Tree’): students read a novel, developing their skills of analysis and inference and their understanding of context.
2) The Happiness Project: students study research into what makes us happy, whilst practising key reading and writing skills.
3) Get Into A Book - Students read and analyse the openings of a range of modern teen fiction, exploring how effective that are at engaging the reader.
4) Poetry and Imaginative Writing: students develop their understanding of poetic forms and techniques, using the poems studied as a springboard for producing imaginative writing.
5) ‘Romeo and Juliet’ – William Shakespeare: students study the whole play, exploring plot, character and themes and developing skills of language analysis and inference.
6) Advertising: students study a range of print and moving image adverts, developing their media literacy skills.
7) Occupations: students write for a range of ‘real world’ audiences and purposes.
8) Formal presentations on a historical era of interest, and on an animal
1) Transactional Writing: students read a range of non-fiction texts and develop transactional writing skills.
2) Dystopian Fiction: students read a novel alongside extracts from other dystopian texts. They develop their skills of analysis and inference and their ability to write for a range of purposes.
3) Poetry from Different Cultures: students read poetry from a range of cultures, developing their understanding of poetic forms and techniques, developing their understanding of other cultures, and learning to draw comparisons between texts.
4) ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ – William Shakespeare: students study the whole play, focusing on plot, character and theme. This text will be revisited at GCSE.
5) Gothic Reading and Writing: students study a range of gothic extracts, preparing them for the demands of the GCSE course. They practise writing imaginatively.
6) ‘The Woman in Black’ – Susan Hill: students study the novel, focusing on developing their skills of analysis and inference and their ability to relate the text to its context.
7) Non-fiction reading practice: students read a variety of high-quality literary non-fiction and practise responding to it in formal ways.
8) Formal presentations on a scientific invention of their choice, and on a place they’d like to visit.
Curriculum Road Map - English
The impact of the English Curriculum at the end of Key Stage 3
The Key Stage 3 curriculum is intended to increase students’ confidence, skills and enjoyment of reading, writing, speaking and listening. They develop academic resilience, and are encouraged to cultivate independence in reading and responding to a range of texts, and in writing for a range of purposes and audiences. The curriculum ensures that students develop an appreciation of the power of the written word and a love of reading, and are prepared for the demands of the GCSE English specifications.
How is it assessed?
Classes are organised so that students with similar target levels are working together. Within classes there will be a mix of class, group, pair and individual work.
Most units of work provides at least one opportunity for formal assessment from teachers. Across the year there will be a balance of reading, writing and speaking and listening assessments, prepared in class or as a homework project. Marking criteria will be shared and discussed with groups; a clear grade will be given for assessed work, along with individual targets for improvement. Each student will have a record/target sheet in their book so that progress can be monitored and targets regularly consulted.
Many lessons will provide students with the opportunity to give and receive informal feedback, as well as reflecting on feedback they have been given, both from their teacher and from their peers.
At the end of the year an overall grade for that year will be recorded, based on their work and progress over the year.
How can I help my child?
Other things you can do:
- Encourage your child to read a range of fiction and non-fiction regularly for pleasure
- Read a range of texts together, and discuss the stories and characters together. Talk through their homework projects and help them manage their time when completing projects
- Ask your child about their learning, including any targets or ‘next steps’ they are working on.
The intent of the English Curriculum
In English Language you will learn to analyse fiction and non-fiction texts. You will also develop your writing skills, learning to write in a variety of styles for different audiences and purposes.
In English Literature you will study a range of texts – poetry, plays and a novel – and will learn to analyse these closely.
You will also be assessed for your speaking and listening skills, and will receive a separate certificate for this.
How is the English Curriculum implemented?
A wide variety of work will be completed over the two years. This will include:
- Creative / imaginative writing
- Writing to argue and persuade
- Reading a wide range of texts
- Planning and giving presentations
Extended Learning plays a key role in the course and is set via half-termly projects.
The impact of the English Curriculum at the end of Key Stage 4
How is it examined?
Both English Language and English Literature are assessed by examination at the end of year 11.
What qualifications will I get?
- Pearson Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE (9-1) in English Language
- Pearson Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE (9-1) in English Literature
You will also get a certificate for your speaking and listening skills.
Is it any use?
A good grade in English is a requirement of many employers, sixth forms, colleges and universities.
Career directions could include:
All careers require English skills of written and verbal communication. However, GCSE English Language and Literature are particularly relevant to careers in marketing and public relations, media and publishing, social work, teaching, law, human resources and personnel, business administration and communications.
English Language (KS5)
English Language – A-Level Qualification
Ideally Grades 5 / 6 GCSE English Language/ English Literature
Mrs J Shoote
This course is for students who enjoy reading non-fiction and who are interested in how we use language in the real world. The course also includes a creative writing component which can be fiction or non-fiction. The course will allow students to hone their analytical and creative skills.
Component 1: Language Variation (35% of A Level). Assessment is through a 2 hour and 15 minute written examination. Students learn about how language varies depending on modes of communication, audiences and functions, and how language can be used to create personal identity. Students will explore issues such as accents, stereotyping and how gender influences language. A range of written and spoken data will be analysed. Students will also study the history of the English language. Section one of the exam requires students to use linguistic knowledge to compare two unseen 21st century texts. The second section requires a comparison of two thematically linked texts from different time periods. Component 2: Child Language (20% of A Level). This unit is assessed through a 1 hour and 15 minute examination. Students will study how children learn to speak, including how they acquire vocabulary and grammar. They will also study how children learn to write. The exam requires students to write an extended response to unseen data. Component 3: Investigating Language (25% of A Level). Assessment is through a 1 hour and 45 minute written examination. Students investigate an area of language from a set list, for example ‘Language and Power’ or ‘Language and Gender’. The first section of the exam requires a response to unseen data and the second requires students to connect data to their in-depth investigation. This component gives students the opportunity to develop independent research and investigation skills. Coursework: Crafting Language (20% of A Level). Assessment is through two written assignments. Students will explore a range of genres, studying exemplar texts. They will then select a genre and will produce two pieces of original writing in this genre, demonstrating their ability to adapt the way that they write for different audiences. Students also produce a commentary exploring the choices they have made and the reasons for these choices.
Tasks will include collecting and analysing language data, annotating texts, exam practice essays and coursework.
English Literature (KS5)
English Literature – A-Level Qualification
Ideally Grades 6 / 6 GCSE English Language/ English Literature
Mrs J Shoote
This course is suited to students who love reading and want to develop their ability to read texts critically. Students read a wide range of texts on this course, and must be willing to read these outside of lessons. Students should be ready to explore ideas through writing and discussion.
Component 1: Drama (30% of A Level): Assessment is through a 2 hour and 15 minute examination. Students study one Shakespearean tragedy, exploring plot, character and themes. They will also study an anthology of critical material relating to the play and explore the text in the light of these critical views. In addition, students will study ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams. Students will answer an exam question on each play studied. Component 2: Prose (20% of A Level): Assessment is through a 1 hour 15 minutes examination. Students study two novels, which are linked by a theme. These are likely to be ‘Dracula’ and ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’. Students will explore the plot, themes, characters and structure of the texts as well as relating them to their genre and contexts. This unit develops students’ comparative skills, as the exam requires an essay comparing the two texts. Component 3: Poetry (30% of A Level): Assessment is through a 2 hour and 15 minute examination. Students will study a range of modern poetry, learning the skills of poetry analysis. The exam will require them to compare one of these poems to an unseen poem. Students will also study a collection of poetry linked by poet or era, and will respond to an exam question based on one of these poems. Component 4: Coursework (20% of A Level): This coursework unit will allow students to read two texts that are linked by a theme, movement, author or genre. Students will select their own texts from a list, and will write a comparative essay exploring an aspect of the two texts. This unit is designed to develop students’ ability to work more independently and to develop their own readings of texts.
Students will be required to read texts as a key part of extended learning. They will also be required to complete tasks such as reading critical essays about texts, identifying key quotations, producing exam style written responses and researching the background to their texts.