The English Department has proved to be very successful in recent years and we pride ourselves on the number of students who achieve in our subject.
We are a diverse and creative department who pride ourselves on providing a rich and stimulating curriculum for students from Year 7 through to Year 13. We have a wealth of experience within the department and our aim is to foster in our students a love of English that will not only provide them with excellent GCSE results, but also enable them to be successful in their future careers and life in general.
Our curriculum is supported by a wide range of activities; we have excellent links with the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford and also developing links with Birmingham’s Central Library. Students have benefitted in school through visits by published poets, theatre groups and even Birmingham’s Young Poet Laureate! We recognise the importance of these additional learning experiences and our aim is to continue to offer as many varied opportunities and learning environments for students as possible.
English GCSE Overview
Along with many other subjects on the curriculum, English is facing some huge changes. No longer will we just be focusing on English Language as the key measure for pupils entering post-16 education and employment, but English Literature will count for them too.
Students studying English will achieve two GCSEs at the end of their two years of study. These GCSEs will focus on developing and refining skills in reading, writing and communication and will place an emphasis on the study of high quality, challenging texts from the C19th, C20th and C21st, including literature and literary non-fiction texts from a range of genres. There will be an emphasis on end of year exams, rather than modular courses and coursework (controlled assessments) so students will be taught how to retain knowledge, and an explicit focus on revision skills will be prevalent through the two years.
The nature of assessment in English will be ‘closed book’, meaning that students will need to read whole books thoroughly a number of times so that they confidently understand the content, characters and themes being explored. They will not have copies of the books in the exam. They will identify and analyse key features of unseen texts and make comparisons between texts. In addition to this, there is a significant emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar, worth 20% of the writing marks. Students will need to be able to write accurately for different purposes and audiences too.
Students will have four examinations at the end of their two years of study: two for English Language and two for English Literature. A separate grade for their spoken language will be given, which will focus on developing skills in presenting, reciting, discussing and role-play.
At GCSE our students will study:
One fiction text or drama from the British Isles from 1914 onwards (E.g. An Inspector Calls)
One Shakespeare play (E.g. Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet)
One classic novel (E.g. A Christmas Carol)
A selection of contemporary non-fiction writing
A selection of poetry since 1789, including Romantic Poetry
Year 7 Pre-Learning – Year 8 Pre-Learning – Year 9 Pre-Learning – Year 10 Pre-learning – Year 11 Pre-Learning – Year 12 Pre-Learning – Year 13 Pre-Learning