English is a core subject – due to its importance in modern-day life and, in terms of education, for accessing other subject areas. Students learn how to work collaboratively, express their views effectively and develop the quality of their written communication. In addition to this, there is a strong emphasis on improving verbal communication – individual presentations, group discussions and dramatic performances are delivered to an audience. A solid understanding of the world of media – i.e. advertising, film, radio, etc – is also embedded into the English curriculum.
English Literature increases students’ appreciation and awareness of cultural heritage and development. Various texts are studied addressing issues such as gender dynamics, racial attitudes and social responsibilities. The course includes a variety of genres of literature and involves the exploration of plays, novels, short stories and poetry. Analytical skills are significantly developed and students’ expression is enhanced. The discipline of close reading and sustained analysis form a strong foundation for many career paths.
Key Stage 4
All KS4 students will study the following units:
- John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ – focusing on literature from different cultures and traditions.
- A Shakespeare play – often ‘Romeo and Juliet’ – examining the dynamics of the theatre and the importance of social/historical context.
- AQA anthology – a mixture of poetry, including contemporary poems and some from the Literary Heritage.
- Spoken Language Study – this is a new element of the GCSE course. In line with cultural shifts and changes, students will reflect on styles of verbal communication. Areas of focus will include political speeches and contemporary, satirical representations, for example.
- Media – an exploration of different forms of communication including newspaper articles, leaflets, magazine advertisements. Students are encouraged to consider the purpose of writing, the target audience and the cultural references.
- Creative writing – building on the skills from Key Stage 3, students learn how to structure and create an imaginative story, using a range of linguistic devices.
- Reading/Analytical skills – students are taught how to ‘read between the lines’, interpreting inferences and textual layers of meaning, with a strong focus on non-fiction texts.
||Controlled Assessment Weighting
In addition to the GCSE English Language, most students also study:
- 20th Century Drama – often the play ‘An Inspector Calls’. This provides the opportunity to explore the significance of social/historical context, the dynamics of theatre and stagecraft, and the genre of a morality play.
- Poetry – students will study a cluster of poems from the AQA anthology focusing on one of the following areas: character and voice, place, conflict or relationships. Some poems will be contemporary (e.g. Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy, Seamus Heaney) and others will be drawn from the Literary Heritage (e.g. Blake, DH Lawrence, Emily Bronte). Poetic appreciation is required to grasp the subtleties and complexities of writer’s meaning, message and tone. The social and historical implications of their poetry also play a fixed part in the analysis. A new element of the GCSE course will be the inclusion of the UNSEEN poetry analysis, drawing on the student’s analytical skills; this will be worth 12% of the Literature result.
- Literary Heritage – students will explore prose that has helped to shape our culture. Authors – such as Emily Bronte and Thomas Hardy – will, in some cases, be juxtaposed with Shakespearean literature to create engaging, lively areas of analysis.
||Controlled Assessment Weighting