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Curriculum Statement for English

ENGLISH

Subject Leader - Mr A White

awh@pewsey-vale.wilts.sch.uk

The students at Pewsey Vale will be given a rich and varied diet of English language and literature delivered in a challenging and engaging manner. The curriculum is designed to be broad and balanced, which ensures sufficient breadth and depth in both English language and literature to challenge all students. The language sections cover key skills: reading to learn, spelling, punctuation, grammar and writing in various styles and for a specific audience. In literature, a range of texts are used from 19th Century to modern novels, poetry through the ages, non- fiction and Shakespeare plays.

The students at Pewsey Vale are encouraged to develop a love of reading. They are urged to indulge in independent reading for pleasure, however reading is also stimulated by the careful selection of texts for study across the English curriculum; they are reading to learn and for enjoyment.  Students are also expected, within the English lessons, to develop a curiosity about literature; this is encouraged, in part, through a literature based approach to the lessons. They are urged to read high- quality texts beyond the curriculum, but nevertheless the texts studied in class are carefully selected to meet these aims.

The students at Pewsey Vale are also encouraged to write for pleasure through the opportunities created for them in class time and outside of the lessons. They will write in a range of styles including non- fiction, creative and analytical. Students are advised to indulge in independent writing and the department is on hand to give support, guidance and advice.  Literacy is a key skill in the English curriculum at Pewsey Vale and students are encouraged to write clearly, accurately, with flair and aptitude.  Vocabulary choice, the construction of challenging sentences, precise paragraphing, spelling, punctuation and grammar are addressed at all Key Stages.

Year 7
The English lessons in year seven are focused around the key skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. The students are encouraged to engage in all these areas to raise their literacy levels and to increase their interest in English literature.

Autumn Term

Topic

Assessment

Home Learning

September –October

Non-fiction – The study of autobiography/ biography (e.g. ‘Boy’ – Roald Dahl)

Non- fiction writing including form, purpose and audience

The home study sheet allows the students to create elements of their own autobiography or a famous person’s biography. Also, during the non- fiction unit- students should read as many articles/ interviews/ reviews etc. as they can. High-quality writing from newspapers or magazines is a must here. They should try mimicking the style that they read, in their own writing. They should listen to interviews from writers of non- fiction explaining what they do and how they do it.

November – December

Historical text – The study of a 19th Century novel (e.g. ‘A Christmas Carol’ – Charles Dickens)

Analytical writing about an extract from ‘A Christmas Carol’

The home study sheet allows students to research Dickens’ life or write creatively about his time. Also, during the historical fiction unit, students should re-read the sections read in class. They should think deeply about the sorts of words that the writer is using. If they like the author, they should try reading something else by them. Many students listen to the audiobook; watch a television adaptation or a film version.

Spring Term

Topic

Assessment

Home Learning

January –February

Shakespeare – A study of Shakespeare and sections of single play will be studied (e.g. ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’’)

 

Analytical writing about an extract from a Shakespeare play

The home study sheet allows for independent study and has tasks which encourage both non- fiction and fiction writing. During the Shakespeare unit- the students should try to watch television adaptations, film versions or a theatre production to help them understand plot and character. They should re- read sections that are studied in class and think about the language and the poetry used.

March – April

Poetry – A range of classic poems from the literary tradition

 

 

 

Analytical writing about a selected poem

The home study sheet allows for both creative poetry writing and more analytically skills to be developed. During the poetry unit- students are encouraged to read and write as much poetry as possible. If they find a modern poet that they like, they should attempt to read other works by them; they could try mimicking their style when they write their own poetry.  Some are very accessible- Wendy Cope, Charles Causley and Roger McGough have been popular with students in the past. They should listen to poets/actors reading poems and think about the rhythm and the words used.

Summer Term

Topic

Assessment

Home Learning

April-May

Class Reader – The whole class studies a modern novel (e.g. ‘War Horse’ Michael Morpurgo)

Reading skills assessment

The home study sheet encourages students to write creatively. During the class reader unit, students are encouraged to read other books/ pieces of writing by the same author. They can re- read sections that are studied in class and think carefully about structure and language choices. They can also write their own piece in the same style as the author. They can also listen to the audiobook or watch a filmed version (if such things exists for the modern text that they are studying)

June-July

Reading and Writing Creatively – The study of various short stories and extracts across a literary tradition (e.g. the Gothic Genre)

Writing creatively

The home study sheet contains activities to boost, not only, their reading skills but also their creative writing. During the reading and writing creatively unit, they should read around the genre (or indeed any genre) and begin to compare stories that cover the same themes and ideas. They can listen to audiobook versions of the works studied in class. They should try writing in a similar genre and maybe even attempt to reproduce the style of another writer.

 

Year 8
The English lessons in year eight are focused around the key skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. The students are encouraged to build on year seven and raise their literacy levels accordingly. Their interest in English literature should also be increasing.

Autumn Term

Topic

Assessment

Home Learning

September –October

Historical text – The study of a 19th Century text (e.g. ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ – Arthur Conan Doyle)

Analytical writing about an extract from the historical text that they have studied

The home study sheet encourages independent learning in both fiction and non- fiction writing. During the historical fiction unit, students are encouraged to read other short stories in the Sherlock Holmes canon, to re-read the sections read in class and think deeply about the sorts of words and sentences that the writer is using. To read other books by the same author is also encouraged. They could try to have it read to them via an audiobook or by other people. Maybe try to watch a television adaptation or a film version.

November – December

Class Reader – The whole class studies a modern novel (e.g. ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar)

A range of reading skills will be assessed

The home study sheet encourages creative writing during this unit. Students are urged to read other books/ pieces of writing by the same author. They can re-read sections that are studied in class and consider both structure and language choices. They can also try writing in the same style as the author. They could listen to the audiobook or watch a filmed version (if such things exists for the modern text that you have studied)

Spring Term

Topic

Assessment

Home Learning

January –February

Shakespeare – The study of a whole play (e.g. ‘Romeo and Juliet’)

Analytical writing about an extract from a Shakespeare play and how it links to the whole text

The home study sheet allows both creative and more analytical tasks to be completed. During the Shakespeare unit, the students should try to watch a television adaptation, a film version or a theatre production to help them understand plot, setting, characters and themes. They could also re- read sections that are studied in class and think about the language used.

March – April

Poetry – Longer form ballad and narrative poetry (e.g. ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Analysing, in detail, a section of the poem that has been studied

The home study sheet allows for a study of this form of poetry or a more creative approach.  During the poetry unit- students should read and write as much poetry as possible. If they find a poet that they like, then they should read other works by them. The focus is on the poetical literary heritage but some are accessible- e.g. William Blake has proved popular with year eights in the past. Students should listen to poets/ actors reading poems- considering the emphasis they put on the words.

Summer Term

Topic

Assessment

Home Learning

April-May

Non-fiction – A study of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ and its context

 

Non- fiction writing

The home study sheet encourages students to read widely during the non- fiction unit. They should read as much non-fiction as they can. Students should begin to consider the context which produces such books/ articles- for example the social or historical time in which the texts were produced. Online newspapers articles are often popular. They could try writing their own opinion piece; empathetic writing is also useful here.

June-July

Reading and Writing Creatively – The study of various short stories and extracts on the theme of journeys and travel writing

Writing creatively

The home study sheet allows for analytical tasks and more creative ones.  During the reading and writing creatively unit, students should read around the genre (or indeed any genre) and begin to compare stories that cover the same themes and ideas. For example two trips to the North Pole, two information pieces about a holiday destination and/or two articles about a particular country. They should be thinking about the contrasts. They could listen to audiobook versions of the works studied in class. There is also an extra opportunity for story/descriptive writing.

 

Year 9
In year nine, the English lesson are used to embed skills needed for the following years. They are focused around the key skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening but with a more demanding focus on mastering these skills. The students are encouraged to raise their literacy skills beyond year nine levels and students are expected to appreciate the English literature on offer.

Autumn Term

Topic

Assessment

Home Learning

September –October

Poetry – A poet and their context. The study of a single poet (e.g. Simon Armitage) and their relationship with poetry of the past

 

A comparison between two poems from different contexts

The home study allows the students opportunities to study poets or write more creatively. During the poetry unit, students should familiarise themselves with the poems studied in class. They should be able to quote from them and use that in their writing. They should begin to understand how poems are structured and poetic techniques that are used in each piece.

November – December

Class Reader – The whole class studies a modern text of GCSE quality (e.g. ‘Animal Farm’ George Orwell)

Various reading skills will be assessed

The home study sheet allows students to study the chosen author or write in a more creative way. During the class reader unit, students should revise the characters and themes that are studied in class. They could re-read the sections of the novel that have been read in class. They can also prepare answers to common questions about the text. They could listen to the audiobook and/or film versions of the text.

Spring Term

Topic

Assessment

Home Learning

January –February

Historical text – The study of a challenging 19th Century short story collection (e.g. ‘Wessex Tales’ – Thomas Hardy)

 

 

Analytical writing of an extract from the historical text and how it links to the whole story

The home study sheet allows for both creative approaches and more research based tasks. During the historical fiction unit, students should re-read the sections read in class. They should be thinking deeply about the sorts of words, sentences and paragraphs that the writer is using. They could begin preparing revision cards on characters and theme throughout the novel. They should listen to the audiobook version; watch a television adaptation or a film version.

March – April

Reading and Writing Creatively – The study of high quality short stories from the ‘Telling Tales’ anthology

Writing creatively

The home study sheet allows for analytical, creative and research based tasks. During the reading and writing creatively unit, students are encouraged to read excerpts from novels and/or short stories and attempt to visualize what is happening. They are preparing themselves by reading high-quality fiction. Interrogating the texts by asking questions by responding to texts outside of classroom. There is also an opportunity to write short stories and/or descriptive pieces, using the vocabulary from the short stories.

Summer Term

Topic

Assessment

Home Learning

April-May

Shakespeare – The study of a challenging Shakespeare play (e.g. ‘Much Ado About Nothing)

 

 

Analytical writing of an extract and how it links to the entire play

The home study sheet allows for research and creative tasks. During the Shakespeare unit, the students should try to watch a television adaptation, a film version or a theatre production to help them understand the plot and character. They can re- read sections that are studied in class and think about the language used. They could make revision cards on the characters and themes that are explored throughout the play. The students should be beginning to remember meaningful quotations from the play.

June-July

Non-fiction – The study of high quality non-fiction text (e.g. ‘Touching the Void’ – Joe Simpson)

Non- fiction writing

The home study sheet allows for creative and reading based tasks. During the non- fiction unit, students are encouraged to read as many articles/ interviews/ reviews etc. on the topic as they can. Students can also branch-out and move into other high-quality writing from newspapers or magazines. They should try mimicking the style of the article that they have read, in their own writing. They could listen to interviews from writers of non- fiction explaining what they do and how they do it.

 

 

Assessment

A core element of the units are the assessments. They take place towards the end of the unit and cover key skills that have been practised throughout. Students will be assessed against Key Stage three assessment matrices for both English and English literature. Assessment pieces are completed in the English books; the teachers will assess and give the students a RAG rating. These books and assessment sheets are used throughout Key Stage three and enable teachers and pupils to track overall progress.

Assessment Matrices

Click here to access Assessment Matrices

Equipment

All texts are provided by the department. The students need to bring a pen, a private reading book and a positive attitude to learning.

GCSE

AQA English language

AQA English literature

Specification link

https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english

Overview

In GCSE English language the aim is to inspire and motivate students, providing appropriate stretch and challenge whilst ensuring, as far as possible, that the texts are accessible to the full range of students. The curriculum will enable students of all abilities to develop the skills they need to read, understand and analyse a wide range of different texts covering the 19th, 20th and 21st century time periods as well as to write clearly, coherently and accurately using a range of vocabulary and sentence structures. It is a skills based approach with engaging content. There is also a spoken language component which emphasises the importance of the wider benefits that speaking and listening skills have for students.

Within the GCSE English literature course, the aim is to inspire, challenge and motivate every student, no matter what their level of ability, through creative and engaging lessons. The students will study a 19th-century novel, a full Shakespeare play, a modern text and a set of fifteen poems. The choice of texts is designed to inspire and engage all students. It is a skills-based approach, however the students will need to acquire knowledge, quotations and information about the texts that have been studied. This knowledge is both inside the text (the characters, setting and themes) and outside (time and place the text was written, external factors which shaped the text). 

GCSE years one

Autumn Term

Topic

Assessment

Home Learning

September –December

Shakespeare (‘Macbeth’) and English language paper one reading and writing skills

A GCSE style Shakespeare question and a reading skills assessment

The students need to learn quotations from the text (and other information) to be able to write fluently and with confidence about all aspects of the themes and characters within the text. Any revision they can complete at home would be beneficial.

For English language paper one, students should be reading fiction widely and deeply. Any high- quality fiction that is read at home would be useful.

Spring Term

Topic

Assessment

Home Learning

January –April

Poetry (‘Power and Conflict’ collection) and English language non- fiction  reading and writing skills       

A GCSE style poetry question followed by a non- fiction reading skills assessment

The students need to learn quotations from the poetry (and other information) to be able to write fluently and with confidence. Any revision they can complete at home would be beneficial.

Summer Term

Topic

Assessment

Home Learning

April-July

Modern drama (‘An Inspector Calls’ by J.B Priestley) and the 19th Century novel (‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson)

A GCSE style 19th century novel question followed by a modern drama question

The students need to learn quotations (and other information) from the text and be able to write fluently and with confidence about all aspects of the themes and characters within it. They also need to be aware of the contexts which lead to this book being written. Any revision they can complete at home would be beneficial.

GCSE Year Two

Autumn Term

Topic

Assessment

Home Learning

September –December

Literature paper one skills; the study of ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’

Language paper one reading and writing skills.

Poetry anthology

Two GCSE style literature paper one style questions.

A reading and writing paper one assessment

The students are honing their knowledge, context and quotations from the texts studied. They should be revising at home and ensuring that the knowledge ‘sticks’.

Spring Term

Topic

Assessment

Home Learning

January –April

The final study of the poetry anthology

Language paper two reading and writing skills

The study of a modern drama- ‘An Inspector Calls’

Unseen poetry unit

A GCSE style poetry question

A reading and writing paper two assessment

A GCSE style modern drama question, followed by unseen poetry practice

 

The students need to revise all fifteen poems and ensure the knowledge and analysis comments are fixed in their minds.

Revise the reading and writing skills for English language paper two

Any knowledge of the themes and characters in ‘An Inspector Calls’ needs to be embedded in useful quotations.

 

Summer Term

Topic

Assessment

Home Learning

April-July

Revision of English language and literature

The final GCSE exam

 

 

Other home leaning across all the topics

Read. Non- fiction articles are a great place to begin. Read a quality newspaper article about a topic you are interested in either online or with a physical newspaper/ magazine. However, to build- up reading stamina, you should also be reading fiction. There are reading lists, which you can pick up from your English teacher or the librarian, but you should try and find books that hold your interest.

Always practice and enhance your writing skills. Try writing a blog or a review of what you have just read, played or watched. Writing short stories or poems is also useful to articulate your thoughts and improve your standard of English.

Many students enjoy playing with words, so scrabble, countdown, bananagrams, boggle, word puzzles and crosswords are all ways to extend your vocabulary. Think about your word choice and try to pick the ‘best words in the best order’. Some students learn five difficult words a week and try to use them in their writing and speech.

There are numerous websites to help you, including ‘Bitesize English’, which are very good. Many of the sites under ‘Improve my English’ in Google are aimed at the non- native speaker but they can still be very useful for tips on grammar, vocabulary building, spelling and comprehension.

Finally, use visuals to help you understand complex poems, prose or drama pieces. Watching film versions of novels, television programs on the same topic or listening to poems being read aloud- should be a very effective way of ‘understanding’ the literature. If you can, visit the theatre or watch a live broadcast- all this will help the engagement with the language and the ideas within it.

Assessment
Students are regularly assessed using GCSE criteria. These will take place throughout the units on both language and literature. They are completed in books or on paper and are RAG rated by the teacher. The students should have a clear understating of where they are and what they need to do to improve.

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