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Carshalton High School for Girls

Carshalton High School for Girls

Carshalton High School for Girls is a highly successful school, judged by Ofsted in November 2017 as ‘Good’ in all categories.

English A Level KS5

What will students study in English at KS5?

At A Level, students have two teachers, each preparing them for two separate sides of the course: Love Through the Ages (a thematic study of the literature of love from 16th century to present day) and Modern Times (a synchronic study of 20th century literature) following the AQA syllabus. In addition, A Level scholars will undertake an independent coursework study (NEA) comparing a text of their choice to ‘Frankenstein’. English Literature develops reading for meaning skills. To demonstrate blossoming scholarship students will be instructed and coached on how to write like an academic. As they read with increasing insight, rigour and appreciation, they produce sophisticated work that analyses and comments on the art of ‘meaning-making’, with instruction on unseen prose and poetry analysis as well as the set texts. English teachers want students to become independent critical thinkers. Lessons will take shape in formats that are familiar but also some which, to begin with, will be unfamiliar: seminars with vigorous, high-level discussions; lectures which develop listening and note-taking skills; tutorials of 1:1 dialogue with teachers about coursework. There will even be opportunities to make presentations to peers of independent studies. All students contribute to a digital wider reading blog, sharing reviews and musings and also keep a personal Lit Log journal to record close reading of set texts. It is a source of pride to us, as a department, that our English scholars go on to university (whichever subject they choose) well prepared for the variety of learning formats they will experience.

In Year 12, Othello, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Great Gatsby, Unseen poetry skills, Love Through the Ages anthology (14 pre-1914 poems), The Handmaid’s Tale, Unseen prose skills are the units set for study.

In Year 13, the Frankenstein NEA coursework study and Feminine Gospels are the final components to complete the A Level English Literature course before an extensive revision programme begins in March.

What are the major assessments this year?

Every fortnight during ACU timetabled lessons, there will be timed essays using exam-style questions, bringing together components into the complex set required for exams. There are three termly summative assessments in Y12 and two in Y13 which are regarded as mocks.

What do assessments test?

Students will be assessed regularly and informally in tasks that break down smaller component skills during lessons. The ACU assessments are regarded as formative assessments, used to gauge gaps in knowledge which will be addressed in forthcoming lessons. Termly assessments will address all the assessment objectives of the exams.

What are the expectations of my child in English?

We expect our English students to think hard about what they read and work hard to articulate their thoughts in writing with and without teacher mediation. Students should engage in class discussions thoughtfully, aiming to speak like experts and listen accountably. English classroom routines and systems should be engaged with so students prize endeavour, reflect on how learning is going with clarity and fearlessness and believe they can do well now and in the future in English. Students are expected to supplement every lesson with an hour of independent reading, learning and revision.

What should students do if they feel they are struggling in English?

During a lesson, we like students to experience what is termed ‘desirable difficulty’, so they should ask themselves questions when they are ‘stuck’ like Have I seen/done anything like this before?, Is there anything I’ve remembered/been given which will help?, before asking for teacher’s intervention. If the student is struggling with English in general, it is a good idea to look at the written feedback given on work as a starting point and if that doesn’t yield answers, then have a conversation with their teacher. Building a strong working relationship with teachers, staying back to request support after lessons, emails and online dialogue via class notebooks is vital for success.

How can I best support my child in English?

At this stage of their school career, students become increasingly self-reliant but parents can play a part in supporting students and providing enriching experiences where possible. The school has subscribed to an excellent resource in Massolit (a video resource where university academics provide short lectures) which they can be encouraged to use, along with EMC magazine publications, CHSG English You Tube channel and the films and theatre productions of set texts available on SharePoint. Where possible, theatre, museum and British Library visits also add enrichment to their studies.

Whom should I contact for further advice or information?

Mrs Bhatt is the Director of English: nbhatt@carshaltongirls.org.uk