We teach all students with the assumption that they all deserve the opportunity to be able to study A level English if they want to. Students will encounter a range of influential writers and their knowledge of English literature will span from the early classics through to Shakespeare and Dickens and contemporary fiction from around the world. Our primary focus is teaching children to read and write like an expert, developing their ability to understand and produce complex fiction and non fiction texts
During KS3, students are introduced to the key skills that are essential to future success. We select high quality, influential texts such as The Iliad, Animal Farm and Shakespeare plays to introduce students to key concepts such as heroism, connotations and hubris. We also aim to broaden their knowledge of the wider world by reading texts from around the world. Students read prose, poetry, plays and a wide range of non fiction..
At KS4 we follow the specifications for AQA English language and literature. Students study Macbeth, A Christmas Carol, Blood Brothers and a selection of poetry on the theme of power and conflict. They also learn to read fiction and non fiction from different historical periods and produce their own pieces of writing in response to a specific brief.
At KS5 we offer A levels in Language, Literature and Media Studies. Students are able to select the options that they have most enjoyed studying during KS4 and develop their academic and critical precision. Students study the development of language/ literature throughout history, and a range of media products.
- All of the year 7 words assigned to specific topics/ threads
- How to effectively annotate and summarise a range of text types
- Key figures from Greek mythology and ways in which these myths have influenced the development of literature
- The 3 appeals of Aristotelian rhetoric
- The significance of Charles Dickens as a writer and advocate for the poor
- How to write metaphors/ similes by linking to classical allusions
- Key features of a Shakespearean comedy
- How to write a not only but also sentence
- How to write cause and effect sentences
- Key characteristics of writing to argue
- Definition and purpose of ‘juxtaposition’
- The concept of connotations and key words with commonly exploited connotations (lion, gold etc)
- What ambivalence is
- What hubris is
- How to describe the mood/ tone/ atmosphere of a text: nostalgic, melancholy, tranquil, hostile
- All of the year 7 and 8 words assigned to specific topics/ threads
- Features of Old/ Middle English: how/ why language has changed over time
- Generic conventions of a Shakespearean tragedy, particularly what it means to be a tragic hero (hubris)
- What iambic pentameter is and how Shakespeare uses metre to create effects
- Conventions of the gothic genre and common motifs used to build terror/ suspense
- How to create temporal shifts in writing that are clearly signposted to the reader
- Significant aspects of the Victorian period and how society/ attitudes changed at this time
- Ways that writers create structural shifts in texts
- How related words have different connotations and the way this influences our perception of the world
- Use a counter argument paragraph structure
- Explain a writer’s attitude/ perspective
- Identify similarities and differences between related texts
- The conventions of different poetic forms
- What an allegory is
- What phantasmagoria is and its effect in literature
- All of the year 7, 8 and 9 words assigned to specific topics/ threads
- Ways that writers explore ideas about human nature and specifically the nature of evil
- Ways that punctuation can be used for effect as well as accuracy
- Significant regicidal plots from the 17th century
- Persecution of witches in England
- What patriarchy is and how it has affected women throughout history
- How to explain the specific effects of imagery
- What Romanticism is and who the influential writers of the period were
- How to construct an authentic journalistic voice/ tone
- How to address and negate the views of the intended readership
- What totalitarianism is and the different guises it can take in literature
- How symbolism works and the ways that specific choices of bird/ flower imagery can convey different shades of meaning
Progression From Year 7 – 9
The focus in year 7 is building on the knowledge students acquired at KS2 and introducing the core concepts and ideas that underpin a deep understanding of English language and literature. We dedicate time to teaching students to be active readers who can confidently annotate and summarise a range of texts. We do this through teachers modelling the thinking process; teachers delivering instructional sequences that guide student practice and, when students are ready, independent practice.
We introduce key concepts including: hubris, the tragic hero, didacticism, connotations and the principles of rhetoric. Students have a lot of time to practise writing at sentence and paragraph level and we dedicate time to learning high value vocabulary – words that students are unlikely to encounter in everyday life.
Year 8 builds upon the learning in year 7 with additional challenge built in to extend students’ thinking. For example, we revisit the concepts of heroism and hubris through studying a Shakespeare play; we extend understanding of didacticism by reading Animal Farm and developing knowledge of allegory.
We continue to focus on the core skills of reading, developing students’ ability to annotate and summarise, as well as analysing language choice by exploring connotations of words and effects of figurative language. Explicit teaching of vocabulary remains a high priority throughout KS3 and 4
Year 9 operates more as a bridging year in which students develop a deep understanding of knowledge that underpins success at GCSE. They do not complete exam papers or work to GCSE AOs, but instead develop an understanding of areas such as Romanticism as an artistic movement and increase their knowledge of the social context of 17th century England.
Throughout KS3 we strive to expose students to seminal texts from the literary cannon but also from around the world. In year 9, students complete more extended pieces of writing, scaling up their knowledge of how to craft at sentence and paragraph level.