In Years 7, 8 and 9 our aim is to develop the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills needed to succeed in English. The focus throughout KS3 is on creativity and developing a passion for the subject which, alongside the skills developed, will support pupils when they come to the start of their GCSE course. This is done through a variety of engaging texts from the 19th to the 21st Century, and Shakespeare. Each year group will also complete an independent project, designed to develop their knowledge beyond the English classroom. Students follow the Accelerated Reader programme, which indicates a reading age for every student. This allows students to select books that are appropriate to their level, whilst giving teachers more information with which to plan effective lessons and monitor progress.
The vast majority of pupils at Burnage will take the following GCSEs:
GCSE English Language (AQA)
GCSE English Literature (AQA)
We also offer AQA Step Up to English Qualifications at Silver and Gold level for some pupils.
At KS4, pupils will build on the reading, writing and speaking and listening skills they have developed at KS3. Although studying for two different qualifications, a number of the skills are transferable which means both exam courses are taught concurrently. Much of the content for the exams will be covered in Year 10. Year 11 will be focussed on perfecting exam skills and revising the texts to help pupils succeed in the exams.
GCSE English Language is assessed by two exams taken at the end of Year 11. There is no longer any controlled assessment for this course.
Explorations in creative reading and writing; 50% of GCSE grade
Writer’s viewpoints and perspectives; 50% of GCSE grade
Both examinations have a reading and a writing section. The reading sections of both papers test how well pupils can understand, interpret and analyse fiction and non-fiction texts, from the 19th Century to the present day. The writing sections of both papers test how well pupils can write effectively for a particular purpose and audience, how well they can structure their ideas and the accuracy of their writing.
English Literature is assessed by two exams taken at the end of Year 11. There is no longer any controlled assessment for this course.
Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel; 40% of the GCSE Grade
Pupils will study two texts in preparation for this exam; Macbeth (Shakespeare) and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (19th-century novel). They will be reading, interpreting and analysing the themes, characters and language in the whole texts.
– Each unit in Year 7 is designed to include the skills learnt in primary school, whilst also providing the next step in developing an appreciation for both English language and literature. Utilising several of the skills developed in Key Stage 2, pupils work in teams to explore linguistic devices in a range of different texts. They begin to develop their analytical skills by reading A Christmas Carol and The Tempest, where they will have the opportunity to both read and perform sections of these texts. Pupils will also explore poetry from a range of different cultures, before creating their own poetry. They will also look at a range of extracts from both fiction and non-fiction texts, developing their understanding and use of more challenging vocabulary.
– Pupils continue the development of their analytical skills by reading The Hunger Games, exploring the dystopian genre. Alongside the reading of the text, pupils will also explore key themes within the novel, reading a range of non-fiction texts to develop a wider understanding of these ideas. Pupils will also read The Hound of the Baskervilles and other examples of detective writing, where pupils will have the opportunity to create their own detective fiction. Building on their work from Year 7, pupils will read a selection of fiction and non-fiction texts written by a range of authors from a range of different cultures. Pupils will also analyse and perform sections from Hamlet whilst exploring links to teenage culture in the 21st century.
– Much of this year is designed to equip students with the skills required to successfully access GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature, building on their learning from Years 7 and 8. We begin by reading Of Mice and Men, focusing analytically on characters whilst also discussing many of the cultural issues the novel explores. We move on to look at war poetry, focusing primarily on World War One, with opportunities to explore other conflicts too. This is then used as the basis for a piece of creative writing. The dystopia unit from Year 8 is developed further by reading Animal Farm with a greater consideration of politics; encouraging pupils to formulate their own opinions about Orwell’s text. As we move towards the end of the year, pupils will focus on analysing the structure of short stories – an assessment focus of the English Language GCSE. Finally, pupils will read and perform sections of Othello, focusing on analytical and cultural aspects of the text.
Modern texts and poetry are equal 60% of the GCSE grade
Pupils will study a modern play called DNA and a ‘conflict’ themed anthology of poems. They will build their analysis skills so that they are able to interpret and explain their impressions of a main ‘unseen’ poem in this exam. Pupils will compare this main unseen poem with a second unseen poem.