What will students study in English this year?
In KS4 English, we prepare students for two separate GCSEs following the AQA syllabus: English Language and English Literature. This is not an integrated course, so students will have half of their lessons focussed on either English Language or English Literature. For English Language, students will learn how to analyse and write both fiction and non-fiction. For English Literature, our literary scholars will study a range of texts including a modern drama, a 19th century novel, an anthology of 15 pre-1914 and contemporary poems and a Shakespeare tragedy. Students will be explicitly instructed on unseen poetry analysis and essay writing skills. Across Key Stage 4, there is an additional, interleaved Knowledge about Language study, delivering a coherent and progressive study of how language and grammar works.
In Year 10, every fortnight, students will cultivate their own wider reading experience and oracy by reading from an extensive range of titles curated to support the English curriculum and other subjects (including History, Science, Art, Geography) and completing guided projects to become appreciative, rigorous, insightful readers. They will also deliver their Spoken Language endorsement (examined and graded separately for GCSE) during these lessons. The entire GCSE English Language course is completed during this year and the majority of the GCSE English Literature course.
In Year 11, the Shakespeare tragedy and unseen poetry skills are the final components to complete the GCSE English Literature course before an extensive revision programme begins in March.
Literature Texts: An Inspector Calls, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Love and Relationships Poetry, Macbeth/Romeo and Juliet.
What are the major assessments this year?
Within each unit of study, be it termly or half-termly, students will complete initial assessments, mid-unit and final assessments for each unit. There are 5 major (final) assessments each year as well as the Y10 Summer English Language and English Literature exams which are trimmed versions of past papers. In Y11 the English Language mock is in November and the English Literature mock is in February.
What do assessments test?
Initial assessments gauge how well students have retained prior learning connected to the unit of study, used to revisit knowledge that is not fully secure. Mid-unit assessments are short, formative assessments in the same style as the final assessment (usually a GCSE-style question) is used to evaluate how well students have grasped new knowledge. These are used to identify and close gaps in learning before the final assessment which is a summative assessment.
What are the expectations of my daughter 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. Independent revision to support lessons is vital, especially as students are required to memorise quotations for the English Literature exam.
What should my daughter do if she feels she is 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 students 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.
How can I best support my daughter in English?
- Encourage them to read their wider reading text for 20 minutes a day at least. Have a conversation about what they are reading in their English lessons, Wider Reading lessons and Tutor Reads time.
- Monitor English homework: most tasks will be reading, vocabulary work, revision of knowledge organisers, quizzing, memorisation.
Whom should I contact for further advice or information?
Mrs Bhatt is the Director of English: firstname.lastname@example.org