Students start their English learning journey by passing through The Phantom Tollbooth and entering Dictionopolis where they revise and master some of the essential skills to help them on their way. Next, they encounter important figures such as Malala, Anne Frank and Nelson Mandela as they explore their autobiographies. Students get to flex their creative muscles in the new year as they transform into Alter Egos and look at childhood and school through the eyes of some much-loved poets. In term three, they have their first of many encounters with Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare and the journey finishes with a letter to the Head persuading him to join their conservation campaign.
As year 8 begins, students investigate the world of Sherlock Holmes and then venture to far-flung regions of the globe through reading, and producing their own, travel writing. Term two sees them becoming international spies for a unit on Spy Fiction which includes creative writing. Next, they visit Verona, Italy where they once again encounter Shakespeare, this time through the tragic love-story: Romeo and Juliet. A study of ballads and sonnets allows students to imagine life in mediaeval England before writing their own tribute to The Seven Wonders of South-East Essex. The theme of travel concludes with Our Day Out, a play that follows a group of students and teachers on a very eventful school trip.
By year 9 students are really gearing up to starting their GCSEs, so they start the year with a challenging novella: Of Mice and Men. This is followed by a News Writing unit which includes a taste of Media Studies GCSE. They then study another of Shakespeare’s plays, this time the comedy: Much Ado About Nothing. Dystopian fiction comes next as students face the future through a series of controversial settings and scenarios before choosing and designing their own. Term three begins with further exposure to c.19th century fiction, a key feature of English GCSEs, through a study of gothic short stories. KS3 is completed with a final poetry unit which ties together the essential skills of imagination, analysis and creativity.
The journey to GCSE success begins in earnest in year 10. Students study each element of their GCSEs in English Language and English Literature, starting with Fiction and Imaginative Writing which prepares them for English Language Paper 1. They study A Christmas Carol in the lead up to the holiday and non-fiction texts in January with their Spoken Language Endorsement completed before half term. After work experience, students return and try their hand at Transactional Writing before learning about life in the 1910s and 1940s through An Inspector Calls. The year ends with a study of representations of emotional conflict from the GCSE Poetry Cluster.
When students reach year 11, they have just a few components left to study and they begin with Shakespeare’s Macbeth, a classical tragedy. There are exams this year so practice comes in the form of pre-public exams (PPEs) in November and March. Students complete the poetry cluster with a group of war poems and practise responding to unseen poetry. In the final run up to the real things, students revise all elements of the GCSE exams; they are given the chance to revise at home too with a weekly task uploaded on Show My Homework. For many students this is the culmination of their learning journey in English and we wish them every success.
Years 12 and 13
If students choose to continue their English learning journey into the sixth form, they have a choice of two subjects: English Literature and English Language and Literature. Both courses are linear which means they have final exams in year 13. In English Literature, students study two key topics: Aspects of Tragedy and Elements of Crime. Paper 1 refers to Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Othello and Death of a Salesman each of which features a central character on a tragic path. Paper 2 refers to Brighton Rock, When Will There Be Good News? and an anthology of crime poetry.
For the combined course, students complete exams on Telling Stories and Exploring Conflict. Paper 1 includes an anthology of writing from and about Paris; The Handmaid’s Tale and Robert Browning’s poetry. Paper 2 includes the play A Streetcar Named Desire and the non-fiction text Into the Wild. Both A levels include coursework elements: two essays for Literature; a Language Study for the combined course.