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 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.
At KS3, pupils study a variety of units covering the new English curriculum.
In Year 7, pupils study a novel on the theme of Journeys and explore the exciting world of literary villains. They learn to write a persuasive speech before taking part in an inter-class debating tournament. They study 19th Century short fiction and study Dickens’ ‘Oliver Twist’ in the Summer term. Throughout the year, they follow a structured programme of spelling, punctuation and grammar, as well as library-based reading lessons to help them to build upon their key skills from KS2.
These skills are consolidated in Year 8, where pupils study a novel that explores the theme of relationships as well as a selection of poetry in the ballad form. They study a Shakespeare play (‘The Tempest’ or ‘A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream’) whilst gaining an understanding of the context he was writing in, and they examine great speeches of the past in order to create one of their own, which they perform in class. They also study a variety of short 19th and 20th Century fiction to continue their exposure to more challenging texts before GCSE.
In Year 9, pupils consolidate the skills learned in Year 7 and 8 by exploring writing other cultures (including poetry, short stories and a novel). They also study the Gothic, looking at the development of the genre over time, and a complete work by Shakespeare (‘Hamlet’, ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ or ‘Twelfth Night’). Non-fiction writing and debating complete the programme.
Not all English-based activities take place within the classroom; our pupils take part in reading groups, such as the Hampshire Book Awards and Carnegie Prize Shadowing Group, debating and public speaking competitions and creative writing challenges.
At KS4, all pupils follow the AQA GCSE English and GCSE English Literature course (2015 onwards). The course is assessed through 100% examinations: two for English Language and two for English Literature.
In Year 10, pupils begin the course with English Literature by studying a modern novel or play, such as ‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘Lord of the Flies’ or ‘Animal Farm’. Pupils are then introduced to English Language Paper 1: Explorations in Reading and Creative Writing. In the spring term, pupils study the ‘Power and Conflict’ or the ‘Love and Relationships’ poems from the AQA Poetry Anthology, before taking their Year 10 examinations. In the summer term, pupils begin to study, explore and discuss their 19th century novel for English Literature, such as ‘Frankenstein’, ‘A Christmas Carol’ or ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’.
In Year 11, pupils start the autumn term with a play by William Shakespeare, typically ‘Romeo and Juliet’ or ‘Macbeth’. Once this is complete, pupils will focus on English Language Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives.
During the two-year course, pupils will prepare and give a speech on a topic of their choice, which forms the basis of their Spoken Language Accreditation. This is internally assessed, with pupils being awarded a pass, merit or distinction.
Throughout the GCSE course, pupils sit mini-mock assessments and Pre-Public Examinations (PPEs), which reflect the type of questions they would expect to be given in the final examinations. These also allow pupils to experience formal exam conditions, so that they are able to build, develop and reflect on their exam knowledge, skills and techniques.