Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)
The department uses the National Curriculum as a basis for planning varied, yet focused, schemes of work for the first three years. There is the flexibility available for individual teachers to create and develop schemes of work which reflect their particular interests.
The focus in all three years of Key Stage 3 is on reading, writing, spelling and grammar, enabling all pupils to become confident and competent in these areas before taking GCSEs. Students begin studying texts for their GCSE Literature course in the summer term of year 9. Expectations are high and all pupils will find themselves challenged and extended in English classes. Target setting is an integral part of KS3: targets are negotiated with individual pupils which are then monitored and reviewed during the course of the school year. Pupil progress is closely tracked and used as a guide in setting targets, determining sets and later, entry levels for public examinations.
Key Stage 4 (GCSE)
Year 10 and 11 pupils follow the Edexcel Specification for GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. Results in both subjects are excellent with a 100% pass rate. Texts currently being studied for the Language and Literature examinations include Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, An Inspector Calls, Journey’s End, Jekyll and Hyde, as well as a wide range of poems from the 20th century and earlier.
Since coursework has been removed from the syllabus, students are given time to prepare for assessments, with essays written in supervised, timed conditions.
The department organises a wide range of lunchtime and extra-curricular activities. Weekly clubs include a lower school Debating Club. The department organises regular theatre visits during the course of the academic year. These have included visiting Stratford-upon- Avon to see the RSC’s Arabian Nights and The Heart of Robin Hood (Year 7), Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (Year 7), The Lord of the Flies (Year 9), Journey’s End (Year 11), West Side Story (Year 10), Othello, Sam Mendes’ The Tempest and Dr Faustus for years 12 and 13, and lecture days on examination texts for the Sixth Form.
Additionally, we have entered a year 7 team in The Times’ national Spelling Bee competition, and the Year 8 debating team in the English Speaking Union’s ‘Great Climate Change Debate’.
Our Intermediate public speaking team compete successfully at local and regional level in Rotary public speaking competitions.
We were also very proud that several of our students achieved success in creative writing competitions: one student won a national competition to see her work printed in The Times newspaper, and another won the ‘Write Now’ Parliamentary Press Competition, winning an award for her political blog. Recently Year 7 and 8 students have won national writing competitions organised by ‘Headlight’ and the National Federation of Builders (NFB).
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Key Stage 5 (AS/A Level)
The specification aims to encourage and to extend an enjoyment and appreciation of English Literature based on an informed personal response to a wide range of texts.
A Levels from 2015 – linear assessment
The new A Level will be fully linear so assessment of a student’s knowledge and understanding will take place at the end of two years of study.
Proposed changes to AS Levels
The new AS Level qualification, for first teaching in September 2015, will not count towards the final grade of an A Level, but will be a separate, standalone qualification in its own right.
Course Content (A Level)
- A minimum of 8 texts studied
- An unseen element
- Unseen text preparation is not included in the 8 texts studied
- 3 texts pre-1900 inc. Shakespeare
- A Post-2000 text
- Component 1: Shakespeare, and Drama and Poetry pre-1900
- Component 2: Close Reading, Comparative and Contextual Study
- Component 3: Comparative Essay Coursework (20%)
Course Content (AS Level)
- A minimum of 4 texts studied
- No coursework
- Component 1: Shakespeare and Poetry pre-1900
- Component 2: Drama post-1900 and Prose post-1900
English Literature Requirements
- An A Grade in both English Language and English Literature
- An interest in reading
- A student should enjoy exploring the issues inherent in the texts such as characterisation, the language and the social, historical and cultural contexts of the text
- Writing - a fluent, accurate style is essential
- Independent minded
- Will challenge opinions and ideas
- Good at shaping and creating written arguments
- Enjoys all aspects of culture, popular and otherwise: cinema, television, theatre, music
- Is hardworking
- Shared 50/50 between 2 senior members of the English Department
- Group work/individual preparation for seminar
- Written, reading and research/preparation homework
English Literature beyond A Level
English Literature is widely regarded as one of the most rigorous of academic disciplines and is accepted in higher education as an indication of a student who is fascinated by and able to assimilate new ideas, and one who is able to communicate articulately both orally and in writing.
Science degree courses, including those at Oxbridge, will accept an AS or A2 in English Literature as an indication of a well-rounded student.
Careers and Support Subjects
The list is endless. An English Literature A level is widely-regarded as an academically rigorous course and all universities offer a huge range of courses which comprise modules of English Literature, ranging from single honours in the subject to such courses as English Literature with Drama/Theatre Studies/Film/a modern foreign language/Business Studies and many others. The choice is extensive. Career opportunities are many but include teaching, law, politics, journalism, television and radio, film, business administration, management, advertising, sales, tourism and leisure. A degree with English Literature opens hundreds of doors.