Key Stages 3 and 4 provide a solid basis for studies further up the school. Students study a range of texts including plays, poetry and novels, analysing these as well as using them to support their own original writing. Many of the texts students meet in the Year 8 ‘gothic’ unit are those also studied in the Pre U in English course, this coherence is an extremely important aspect of the English department. Assessment takes place termly and reflects the format of assessment at GCSE to ensure boys are prepared and confident to tackle difficult tasks under pressure.
Language Variety: An introduction to the English language covering the basics of word classes, spelling and exploring the differences in the way we write and speak.
Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream and Much Ado about Nothing provide a solid introduction to the works of Shakespeare – something developed much further in years 9 and 10.
Novels: The exploration of the gothic genre through a variety of texts including extracts from Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein and Dracula is followed by descriptive writing using these texts as a springboard.
In addition students will analyse Animal Farm and other texts such as A Christmas Carol, Holes and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
Non-fiction is explored through the analysis of real life campaigns with students ultimately creating their own advertising campaigns and delivering persuasive speeches. These units create a strong foundation for group discussion later on in the course.
Extension and Enrichment
Board Games: students devise, create and then play board games based on a novel they have studied in class.
Film Club, Book Club and a Reporters Club are open to all students and provide good opportunities to work with students from other year groups.
English Reading list
Key Stage 4
Exam Board and Subject Content
The course in terms 1-5 of Year 9 prepares students for their GCSE course by ensuring they tackle a series of difficult texts and writing tasks.
Novels: A series of short stories by Guy de Maupassant are used to inspire students' own descriptive writing; there is also analysis of a novel such as
Heroes or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
Non-fiction: A unit on spoken language with a focus on sports commentary provides a great insight into the kind of studies available at A Level as well as providing challenging data for analysis. This unit also acts as a springboard for persuasive and discussion work exploring issues relating to sexism in sport.
Current Year 10s and Year 11s: AQA LITERATURE
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck explores the difficulties of life during the Great Depression in America.
An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley considers issues around gender, class and society at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Emotional voice in
Romeo and Juliet is compared with three of Shakespeare's sonnets
Poetry: the Relationships cluster from the
Moon on the Tides anthology including poems by Shakespeare, Armitage and Duffy.
Current Year 11 (2014): AQA Language
40%: Controlled assessments: writing to persuade, describe and analyse.
60%: Exam. Exploration of non-fiction texts testing skills of analysis, inference and consideration of presentational devices.
Current Year 10 (2015): Cambridge IGCSE Language
20% Speaking and Listening: 3-4 minutes presentation on a subject of the students' choosing followed by a 6-7 minutes question and answer session with the teacher.
80% Exam. Skills covered include: writing to describe, persuade and summarise. Students also learn to write in different forms including letters, journals, scripts and reports.
Extension and Enrichment
Visit to the Globe as part of study of Romeo and Juliet
Discrimination in sport: exploring the issues and creating campaigns
Work around ‘The King’s Speech’ to feed into persuasive writing work
Exploring and responding to current affairs such as the death of Nelson Mandela through report writing.
Pre U Literature
A popular and challenging two year linear course, the Pre U in English requires considerable wide and additional reading in addition to the set texts. Set texts change on a regular basis but include
King Lear, Hamlet, the poetry of Keats,
The Rivals and
Remains of the Day. In addition students study a range of gothic texts which provide the basis for their Personal Investigation; the focus and texts for this investigation are decided upon by the students. Extra university-style lectures are regularly delivered by members of the English department providing access to a much wider range of texts and a greater contextual understanding which is essential when dealing with unseen texts at this level. A huge range of theatre trips as well as visits to the British Library are also offered.
A Level Language is a challenging course which revolves around exploring how meaning is constructed through words, semantics and grammatical constructions. Students develop an in-depth knowledge of the English Language and its components and use this to analyse non-fiction texts from up to 500 years ago. The course includes the study of language change and child language acquisition as well as exploring issues related to language and gender and language in the media. Students produce investigations into language that interests them, collecting their own data from current and real-life sources. There are also many opportunities for the creation of their own texts, both from fiction and non-fiction genres. The course is backed up with many visits to the British Library and Language conferences to encourage a wider engagement with English Language.
More detail on the a-level course can be found