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Teaching & Learning

English

Our schemes of work effectively and imaginatively meet the National Curriculum requirements in the key areas of English.

• Spoken language – through whole class discussions, group work and individual contributions and presentations students build their confidence speaking for a range of purposes.

• Reading – through exploring a range of fiction and non-fiction, students learn how to select evidence that is relevant and explore the meanings of the methods that writers use.

• Writing – students learn to adapt the forms, structure and language of their writing to suit the needs of a range of audiences and purposes. We also ensure students pay close attention to the accuracy of spelling, grammar and punctuation.

English across the key stages

We believe that reading is the linchpin, the foundation of all learning and the key to success in all areas of the curriculum. We aim to ensure that all students have access to a broad and varied range of texts and that they are encouraged to record, reflect upon and evaluate their reading experiences.

In addition to this we encourage students to become assured writers, and to learn to adapt their writing to suit the purpose, audience and format they are writing for. We ensure that students’ writing also has a focus on technical accuracy as this is a skill that is essential beyond the classroom.

Key Stage 3

Year 7

How is the course taught?

The first term sees students take a trip through their local area in our Made in Hull unit, which can also serve as a transition unit for some of our feeder primary schools. This unit aims to boost the budding authors in them with a range of descriptive and technical writing techniques. We follow this up by venturing into another culture with our Y7 novel, Trash. This will help establish a positive reading culture at the start of their Cottingham High careers!

Term two sees students tackle different text types to survive The Island Project and explore language in a Cultures Poetry unit. Finally, in term three, our students get acquainted with the Bard in a Shakespeare unit and tackle big issues with the Take Action non-fiction writing unit.

Year 7 students will also visit the library once a fortnight to encourage their love for reading. Most Year 7s will start this off by following the novel Cirque Du Freak. During the year, students will experience a rich range of literature, including high-quality fiction courtesy of the Book Trust’s library pack. Confident readers will have the freedom to satisfy their own reading appetites.

The aim of each unit is to use a variety of stimulating topics in order to deliver the wide range of skills necessary to success in English, not just at Key Stage 3 (KS3), but also further up the school.

How are students assessed?

Students are assessed in a variety of ways, including:
• Formal assessment through standardised reading and writing tests
• Essay responses
• Writing assessed in non-academic forms, such as stories and speeches.
What homework is set?
A range of homework tasks are used in Year 7 and each teacher tailors the homework tasks for their class. Tasks can include, though are not limited to, project-based activities, private reading, research, and the application of reading and writing skills taught and practised in lesson.

Year 8

How is the course taught?

Term one sees the students as writers working to set briefs in our Editorial Writing unit. Our students then move on to look at the Victorian era through the eyes of one of our most celebrated authors, Charles Dickens in order to develop their reading of 19th Century texts.

Term two builds on the introduction to Shakespeare by introducing a whole-text study of The Tempest. This will develop students’ confidence of reading, discussing and exploring the language of our most celebrated playwright.

In term three, we study a novel that deals with different cultures and traditions, and to complement this we also take a look at the genre of Travel Writing. There is a balance of fiction and non-fiction to assist in the rounded development of English.

How are students assessed?

Students are assessed in a variety of ways, including:
• Reading and writing activities
• Essay responses

What homework is set?

We set a range of homework tasks in Year 8. Each teacher is also encouraged to tailor the homework tasks for their class. Tasks can include, though are not limited to, project-based activities, private reading, research, and the application of reading and writing skills taught and practised in lesson.

Year 9

How is the course taught?

Year 9 is all about getting started on actual GCSE work. We begin with a unit on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, making use of the skills built up over Y7 and Y8. It then moves on to a study of Dystopian Fiction. Students can study the effects of atmospheric writing and then apply those skills to their own work. This play will also be the focus on study at GCSE, so students will have confidence at this crucial stage.
In Term 2 students will look at a range of themed poetry and also a non-fiction unit, which will be assessed in a similar manner to the new GCSEs. We round off the year with an initial study of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, another set GCSE text. They will then filter this inspiration into creative writing of their own.
As well as completing KS3, there is an increased focus on preparing students with skills that will be applied at KS4.

How are students assessed?

Students are assessed in a variety of ways, including:
• Reading and writing activities
• Essay responses
• GCSE-style assessment

What homework is set?

As ever, a range of homework tasks are used in Year 9 and each teacher is encouraged to tailor the homework tasks for their class. Tasks can include, though are not limited to, project-based activities, private reading, research, and the application of reading and writing skills taught and practised in lesson.

Key Stage 4

English Language is a mandatory subject for students in Key Stage 4 and all students will work towards a GCSE in English Literature to give them a second qualification.  Both subjects are delivered over four hours in Year 10, with two member of staff delivering sections of both the English language and literature curriculum. 
In Year 11, curriculum time increases to five hours for students to focus on their speaking assessment and improving their basic skills.

English

The course

The course breaks down into the following areas of study:

English Language

We also place emphasis on improving accuracy in core skills such as spelling, grammar and punctuation.

English Literature

• Study of  a complete Shakespeare play, Macbeth
• Study of a modern British text, An Inspector Calls (Year 11: The History Boys, Pigeon English, Lord of the Flies)
• Study of a nineteenth century text, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
• Study of an anthology of poetry on the theme of Conflict
• Range of poetry in preparation for an examination which focuses on unseen poetry

Activities and learning experiences

There is a focus on clear and correct writing, and the new GCSEs focus heavily on the application of Standard English, with the importance of accurate grammar, punctuation and spelling emphasised. 
There will be many different learning opportunities in English. Students will:
• Work as individuals, in pairs and as members of small groups
• Discuss issues and prepare presentations
• Read, explore and analyse a range of fiction and non-fiction, including texts from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including poetry, drama, short stories, novels, articles, reports, leaflets etc
• have opportunities to develop higher-order reading and critical thinking skills that encourage enquiry into different topics and themes. 
• Write in a variety of forms which will include descriptive, informative and persuasive styles, in the format of poems, stories, reports, reviews, discursive essays, letters and diaries
• focus on clear and correct writing, the application of Standard English, with the importance of accurate grammar, punctuation and spelling
• Be provided with ample class-based material to aid their study, but also be expected to undertake their own private research and reading in support of their studies

How are students assessed?

English Language

Students will sit two English examinations of 1 hour and 45 minutes each at the end of Year 11.  Each examination is worth 50% of the final GCSE English Language qualification.
1.  Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing
The aim of this paper is to engage students in a creative text and inspire them to write creatively themselves by:
• in section A, reading a literature fiction text in order to consider how established writers use narrative and descriptive techniques to capture the interest of readers
• in section B, writing their own creative text, inspired by the topic that they have responded to in section A to demonstrate their narrative and descriptive skills in response to a written prompt, scenario or visual image.

2. Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives

The aim of this paper is to develop students’ insights into how writers have particular viewpoints and perspectives on issues or themes that are important to the way we think and live our lives. It will encourage students to demonstrate their skills by:
• in section A, reading two linked sources from different time periods and genres in order to consider
how each presents a perspective or viewpoint to influence the reader
• in section B, producing a written text to a specified audience, purpose and form in which they give
their own perspective on the theme that has been introduced to them in section A.
Students also have to complete a formal presentation in front of an audience and respond to questions about their chosen subject.  The presentation is recorded for the examination board.

English Literature

Again, students will sit two examinations, one of 1 hour and 45 minutes (40%), the other of 2 hours and 15 minutes (60%).

1. Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel

Section A: Shakespeare:
Students will study the whole of the Shakespeare play, Macbeth and will answer one question on their play of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.

Section B: The 19th-century novel
Students will study the whole text of Robert Louis Stevenson The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to
write about the novel as a whole.

2. Modern Texts and Poetry

Section A: Modern texts: students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on their studied modern prose or drama text.

Section B: Poetry of conflict: students will answer one comparative question on one named poem
printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.

Section C: Unseen poetry: Students will answer one question on one unseen poem
and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.

What homework is set?

Homework may take many forms, from planning or re-drafting to research. It will always be given in order to further, deepen and extend studies in class. It also provides students with an opportunity to show initiative.
What can students go on to do after this course?
English is a very popular subject for further study in the Sixth form, with A Level courses in English Literature, English Language and English Language and Literature combined available here or through the Consortium.