English is a skill for life, and we aim to ensure that all students learn to communicate effectively in speech and writing. The English department strives to help each student to understand and respond imaginatively and critically to what they hear, read and experience in a variety of media. Students are encouraged to enjoy both modern and classical literature in all its forms, and we are lucky to have the Learning Resource Centre to support our schemes of learning and help cultivate a love of reading. We equip students for the varying demands of modern society, whilst also supporting them in becoming independent learners.
At KS4, students take both GCSE English Language and Literature, and many go on to study English at A Level and beyond. Students leave with a thorough grounding in English and, we hope, love of literature. Some students are also offered the opportunity to do an additional Entry Level Qualification which supports the GCSE examinations.
Key Stage 3
In response to national changes implemented by the Department for Education, the
English Department have created a new, dynamic and challenging curriculum for our Key Stage 3 students. Our aim is to prepare students with the skills necessary for success at GCSE. A key aspect of our teaching is to embed examination technique at an early stage. The four main areas for English are: Reading, Writing, Grammar and Vocabulary and Spoken English.
The assessment system mirrors the changes to GCSE assessment – with use of 1-9 levels (9 being the highest). All Key Stage 3 students will be levelled in this form, covering 6 Units of Assessment throughout the year.
As part of our new curriculum, students will study seminal world Literature, including ‘A Christmas Carol’. To support this, students will have the opportunity to see a visiting theatre company perform the novel as a play. Students will also read two Shakespeare plays, study Gothic Literature as well as a range of contemporary and non-fiction texts. Students will develop their understanding of our use of language and continue their development of writing skills.
We are also lucky to have the Learning Resource Centre to support our schemes of learning for reading: and students in years seven and eight have a fortnightly reading lesson in the library which is managed by our LRC manager, Mrs. Henley. Students also participate in special induction sessions at the start of their school career, in order to learn about the procedures for borrowing books and using the facilities (such as the computers) to support their private study.
The BBC Skillswise website has an extensive literacy section with games, tests and certificates
BBC Bitesize: For tips on reading fiction and non-fiction texts, developing communication skills and writing
Key Stage 4
English Language and English Literature
The English department follow the AQA Specifications for English Literature (8702) and English Language (8700). A detailed breakdown of the specifications can be found at:
A good grade in GCSE English is an essential passport to all levels of higher education and most jobs. English at Christ the King provides an interesting and stimulating course that allows students to develop their communication skills and enhance their understanding of the way written and spoken language works. There are opportunities for creative and personal writing as well as in depth exploration of media and other types of text.
• Written examination 100%
• Paper One: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing 50%
• Paper Two: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives 50%
• Non Examined Assessment – a speaking and listening presentation that does not count towards the final GCSE grade but is assessed and reported separately as a Pass, Merit or Distinction
The English literature course explores a wide variety of texts and genres. All students study a Shakespeare play (Much Ado About Nothing), a pre-20th century prose text (A Christmas Carol), a modern drama text from another culture (An Inspector Calls) and a wide variety of poetry based on the theme of “Conflict”.
• Written examination 100%
• Paper One: Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel 40%
• Paper Two: Modern Texts and Poetry 60%
As previously mentioned a good grade in any of the above GCSE English qualifications is an essential passport to all levels of higher education and most jobs. The English Language and Literature courses are an excellent grounding for the A level Literature course at Christ the King Sixth Form.
Key Stage 5
ENGLISH LITERATURE GCE
Awarding Body: AQA (A / 7712)
English Literature A’s historicist approach to the study of literature rests upon reading texts within a shared context. Working from the belief that no text exists in isolation but is the product of the time in which it was produced, English Literature A encourages students to explore the relationships that exist between texts and the contexts within which they are written, received and understood. Studying texts within a shared context enables students to investigate and connect them, drawing out patterns of similarity and difference using a variety of reading strategies and perspectives.
• Love Through the Ages
The study of three texts: one poetry and one prose text, of which one must be written pre-1900, and one Shakespeare play. The examination will include two unseen poems. The texts currently being studied are: The Great Gatsby, a poetry anthology and Othello
• Texts in Shared Contexts / Option B – Modern Times (literature from 1945 to the modern day)
The study of a further three texts: one poetry, one prose and one drama. The texts currently being studied are: The World’s Wife, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit and A Streetcar Named Desire. The examination will include an unseen extract.
• Independent Critical Study: Texts across time
A comparative critical study of two texts of the students’ own choosing
What careers and university courses does it lead to?
Useful Links for A Level Literature
http://www.bl.uk/englishtimeline (an interactive timeline from the British Library which is really helpful for an overview)
http://www.online-literature.com/ (includes specific authors, literary periods, quizzes etc.)
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/ (click on the ‘learn’ tab to access articles and information aimed at students)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/writers (includes archived interviews with authors such as Daphne du Maurier and Jeanette Winterson. There’s an A-Z list where you can find subject keywords for programmes, documents and images that are listed within BBC Archive Collections)
http://www.shakespeare-online.com/ (all things Shakespearian)
http://www.victorianweb.org/ (all things Victorian, including links to other resources & websites)
http://www.fscottfitzgeraldsociety.org/ (all about the author of ‘Great Gatsby’)
English at A-level is a very versatile course as you learn key analytical skills required on many university courses. Students who study this A Level go on to read a wide variety of subjects such as English Language, English Literature, Journalism, Law, History, Media Studies or Modern Foreign Languages at university. The department are keen to advise students of the suitability of courses in terms of their interests and future career plans. Future career options might include: Multi-media Journalism, Publishing, Translator, Lawyer, Public Relations, Librarian, Business Communications and…of course…Teaching!