Department Overview

The English department consists of 11 fully qualified English teachers with many years teaching experience across KS3, KS4 and KS5 (including an examiner for GCSE) and 1 NQT. There are also a number of staff who provide support within the classroom as part of intervention or who teach stand-alone reading and literacy lessons.

The department structure consists of:

Director of Subject; Assistant Director of Subject, with responsibility for KS4, and a KS3 Coordinator; although all department members play an important role in the development of the department.

Our Aims

  • To foster an enjoyment of Literature, encouraging pupils to read widely and independently.
  • To develop discerning critical readers whose analytical skills will allow them to interpret the world around them.
  • To inspire pupils to express themselves imaginatively, appropriately and effectively by using our rich and diverse English language.
  • To set challenging targets with high expectations for all pupils.
  • To develop communication skills through both the written and spoken word.

Accomodation and Resources

The English Department is accommodated in 8 teaching spaces on the E Hub on the middle floor of the Main school building, with additional accommodation in the sixth form centre. All rooms have Promethean boards and a computer. Staff are proficient in using the technology to provide multimedia experiences to bring texts alive. The students also enjoy using the technology to present their own work. There are display boards in classrooms and along the walls of the communal area. The walls are moveable in order to facilitate larger group activities or provide performance spaces.

Key Stage 3

English at Key Stage 3 is designed to foster a love of learning and reading in particular. We want to add to students' cultural capital through the study of a wide range of different texts and genres, including 19th century literature, poetry, media and non-fiction texts, seminal world literature and modern drama. These texts will create the foundation for pupils to develop important skills that will eventually benefit their GCSE study. Each student will be assessed in either reading or writing every half-term so that the class teacher can build up a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses of each pupil over the year. An end of year summative test will assess the progress each girl has made.

Pupils are taught in mixed ability groups and have three lessons per week. Students in Year 7 also have one extra 'Literacy Across the Curriculum' lesson, in which they investigate materials from humanities subjects, with a focus on developing their cross-curricular vocabulary.

Key Stage 4

Students follow AQA English Language and English Literature GCSEs. Students are taught in ability groups. We have a 100% entry policy.

At the end of the three-year course, students will sit four examinations:

English Language - Paper One: Explorations in creative reading and writing - 1hr 45mins
English Language - Paper Two: Writers' viewpoints and perspectives - 1hr 45mins

English Literature - Paper One: Shakespeare and the 19th century novel - 1hr 45mins
English Literature - Paper Two: Modern texts and poetry - 2hrs 15mins

Each English Language examination makes up 50% of the overall mark and students will also undertake a variety of speaking and listening tasks, with filmed evidence and written reports submitted to the exam board. For English Literature, Paper One makes up 40% of the overall mark and Paper Two counts for 60%. Students will spend Y9, Y10 and 11 preparing for these examinations.

Students have four lessons per week in both Year 10 and 11. They are set according to ability and progress is monitored regularly. Intervention is used to ensure all students have the opportunity to achieve their potential.

Key Stage 5

The department offers two A level courses: English Literature specification A and English Language with the AQA examination board. On the Literature course students are encouraged to develop their interest in and enjoyment of literature and literary studies by reading widely and independently set texts and wider reading in poetry, drama and prose on the themes of "Love Through the Ages" "Modern Times: literature from 1945 to the present day." They learn how to explore the contexts and others' interpretation of the texts and deepen their understanding of the changing traditions of literature in English.

English Literature: Paper One: Love Through the Ages - 3hrs
English Literature: Paper Two: Texts in Shared Contexts: Option 2B Modern Times - 2hrs 30 mins
Non-Examined Assessment: Independent Critical Study: Texts Across Time

On the English Language A Level course students investigate how meaning is created in spoken, written and media texts from different time periods and how these texts come to represent our society and its attitudes. Students also explore the social varieties of the English language and how language has changed overtime. Moving into year 13, students investigate how children's language is acquired and also develop written skills in a variety of genres.

English Language: Paper One: language, the Individual and Society - 2 hrs 30 mins
English Language: Paper Two: Language Diversity and Change - 2 hrs 30mins
Non-Examined Assessment: Language in Action

Students have five lessons per week and are taught by two teachers. To support examination, work pupils take part in workshops run by a senior examiner. Many of our students go on to study English at University.

More information about our department

We endeavour to foster an enjoyment for English - starting with a fantastic novel in Year 7 called 'Trash' right through GCSE and A-Level courses. We want our pupils to see the huge benefit to developing outstanding English skills and how this will continue to be a huge advantage even after they leave education. We work closely with the Local Authority to ensure that we keep up to date with the changes and benefit from the sharing of good practice across the city.

For more information please contact Mr Jones on 0151 541 9440.

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