The English Department is taught in a suite of classrooms with data projectors and screens in each room. One class room has been equipped with 28 computers linked to the school network; this room can be booked by other staff for whole teaching groups or individual pupils. It can also be used by students at break and lunch time. The data projector in all teaching rooms can be linked to the school network in order to demonstrate pupils’ work for modelling, assessment or discussion purposes. We have a set of 8 laptops and 8 digital blue video cameras for groups of students to use in presentations, media and journalistic work and have just purchased a further 8 laptops. ICT is widely used within the department. We have high quality displays throughout which serve as visual learning aids, reminders of assessment focuses and recognition of good work.
We work very closely with the SEN department and have a good working knowledge of all pupils on the SEN register. We have our own TA attached to the department who is involved with classroom support and developing or differentiating schemes of work. Pupils are taught in ability groups with the less able groups being smaller and supported by a teaching assistant. Similarly the gifted and talented students are identified in each year and we target our teaching at these students.
We use a merit system to reward positive achievement.
Various enrichment activities are organised throughout the year such as visits to the theatre, book shows, poetry reading and the cinema, visits from authors, writing workshops. There is a regular meeting of the pupil book club.
In KS3 pupils are set in ability bands from 1-6 with some flexibility depending on each individual year group’s needs and requirements. In all year groups a variety of texts are studied, in line with the national curriculum, in order to develop the pupils’ skills as critical readers and effective writers. In addition speaking and listening skills are taught and pupils develop these skills through their application within a variety of different situations. Our aim is to develop the pupils’ skills as effective communicators in reading, writing and speaking and listening whilst stimulating their imaginations and encouraging them to develop their learning through a variety of creative and innovative ways. Year 9 study work which is specifically related to their GCSEs, such as poetry, a novel and the spoken word, in order to give them a strong foundation on which to build in Year 10. Above all else our aim at KS3 is to open up the delights of a literary world which is at once exciting, challenging and wondrous.
Assessment is rigorously carried out in line with the national curriculum and the assessment objectives. In KS3 APP is used to set curricular targets and also to inform teaching. Each scheme in KS3 has two pieces of work that are given a national curriculum level and an individual pupil target for improvement. The work is marked thoroughly for a particularly assessment focus using APP grids which are affixed to the book. Pupils keep track of their targets, teachers monitor progress and the books are used for standardization. At the end of each scheme the pupils complete a self assessment sheet that is closely matched to the assessment objectives taught in the scheme, and set themselves targets. Teachers discuss targets with the pupils who have pupil friendly guidance sheets to support them in this. All key assessments and exams are kept in a pupil portfolio which is available for parents to see on request.
Why choose a GCSE in English Language:
English Language is a core subject and all students will be required to study it.
What will I study?
You will gain useful skills such as inference; analysis of language and structure; evaluation skills and the ability to compare. The writing questions will enable you to develop creative approaches to narrative and descriptive writing, as well as non-fiction writing of various text-types. You will also learn a wide range of terminology relating to grammar and authorial methods.
How will I learn?
Students learn in classes set by ability and each year group covers a topic every half-term. This is then assessed through an in-class assessment in exam conditions. The topics focus on either reading or writing skills, and speaking and listening skills are built up implicitly through classroom discussion and student presentations. Teachers often used paired and group work during lessons so that activities are mostly student-led. The department has a suite of computers and a set of laptops which allow students to also work on computers in some of their lessons. Students take ownership of their own learning through peer and self-assessment.
How will my work be assessed?
The qualification is externally assessed through 2 written examinations. Both exams include questions assessing the skills of reading and writing. Paper 1 focusses on fiction and Paper 2 on non-fiction. There will also be a speaking and listening assessment which is awarded as a separate endorsement.
How can I use this course after Year 11/ in the future?
English is an important subject for any future career path and is desirable both for entering the world of work, as well as for further education. Possible career paths are journalism, teaching and the civil service, amongst others.
If I want to know more?
I should ask Mrs. Gillum, the Head of the English Department.