What students will learn?
At Key Stage 3 we offer a diverse, creative and challenging curriculum that will inspire in you a love of literature and learning. We will explore a range of stimulating fiction, non-fiction and media texts in order for you to develop your own critical independent thought. These texts will act as a springboard to discuss philosophical ideas and to enable you to question society and consider the world in which you live.
Literature plays an important role in our curriculum and we aim to encourage your passion for reading by exploring our rich literary heritage. You will read a range of prose, drama, poetry and newspaper articles. From Chaucer’s Miller’s Tale to Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Martin Luther King’s rousing speech. You will examine a variety of authors and poets to consider the power of language. Such texts include Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, Seamus Heaney’s poem Mid-term Break and the contemporary novelist Rob Llyod Jones’ Wild Boy.
As well as reading and studying literature you will be able to experience the drama of pantomime at Stratford Theatre Royal and Shakespeare’s plays, with the Young Shakespeare’s Company who both perform and run drama workshops on Romeo and Juliet. We also participate in a variety of different competitions, including Radio 2’s ‘500 words’ competition, the BBC ‘Young Writer’s’ competition and a school wide ‘Poetry Slam’ and ‘Speak Out Challenge’ in Year 7 and 9 respectively. Our ‘Creative Writing’ club is also run at lunch times to foster your creativity and accuracy in writing. We also aim to give you independence and leadership skills by enabling you to run clubs too and support other students.
How will you be assessed?
Across years 7, 8 and 9 you will be assessed in a number of different ways. Your final assessment pieces at the end of units can range from written essays to spoken presentations and drama pieces. We will ensure you will develop the skills to write in many different mediums including narrative prose, discursive essays, diary entries, letters and newspaper reports. Your own interpretation is encouraged and we stimulate your creativity by using props and visual stimulus to foster this.
How can parents support?
Your parents can help too. They can check over your homework, reading your ideas to see if they make sense and ensuring your written work is accurate. They can also talk through your ideas to help develop your point of view. By monitoring your reading habits, they can ensure you are challenging yourself through your book choices. We hope to work closely with your parents to ensure you achieve your best!
Students prepare for two qualifications in English:
GCSE English Language
GCSE English Literature
Your child will sit the Edexcel exam board qualification for both GCSE English and English Literature. There is no tier of entry and every student sits the same exam and will be awarded a grade 9-1. Both GCSEs are assessed entirely by terminal exams in the summer of Year 11. There is no early entry.
Throughout the course, students will study how to approach the examination questions, understand the assessment objectives for each question and practise writing examination answers to identify ways to help them progress. We will also examine challenging 19th century fiction and 20th century unseen fiction in class and provide challenging homework to prepare students for their terminal examinations. Students will also explore Shakespeare’s plays, including Macbeth and have the opportunity to write their own poetry and compete in competitions including ‘Poetry by Heart’. We run revision sessions after school, as well as trips to the theatre to see performances of GCSE literature texts to support students’ understanding.
For GCSE English Language your child will have two examinations: Paper 1: Fiction and Imaginative Writing (worth 40%) and Paper 2: Non- Fiction and Transactional Writing (worth 60%). These examinations will include unseen fiction and non-fiction texts. Your child will have to respond to questions on unseen fiction and non-fiction texts and write both imaginative narratives and speeches, letters, articles.
For GCSE English Literature your child will also have two examinations: Paper 1: Shakespeare and Post 1914 Literature (worth 50% of their GCSE) and Paper 2: 19th Century Novel and Poetry since 1789. They will have to respond to questions on:
- Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
- Macbeth by Shakespeare
- An Inspector Calls by J. B Priestley
- Comparing poems from a ‘Relationships’ anthology
- Comparing unseen poems
In order to be successful in their examinations, your child should take personal responsibility for their own learning – if they’re stuck, speak to their teacher and keep up with all homework set. Reading regularly at home will support their understanding of fiction and non-fiction to prepare for their examinations.
Ways to support your child with their English language and Literature GCSEs.
- Become familiar with the texts your son/daughter is studying and discuss them with them.
- Specimen papers, mark schemes and other resources are available on the Edexcel website: http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses.html
- Encourage your son/daughter to read and discuss non-fiction texts e.g. newspapers, leaflets, letters and magazines. The internet is awash with older 19th century fiction and non-fiction texts because most are out of copyright.