English is one of the most important subjects in the school, both as a core subject and a gateway into other curriculum areas. Overall, we aim to enthuse our students with a love of language and literature, as well as developing their ability to think for themselves.
More specifically, our aims can be summarised in four key points:
- to promote effective communication through reading, writing, speaking and listening
- to stimulate our students’ creativity and imagination
- to develop critical skills when exploring the different type of texts we come across, from reading novels to investigating the media
- to broaden students’ cultural understanding by introducing them to texts from our literary heritage as well as from other cultures and promote the relevance of English to the wider world.
Key Stage 3
Students are taught to develop an appreciation and love of reading, and read increasingly challenging material independently through the study of these texts and the Accelerated Reader programme. They are also taught to understand texts through:
- Learning new vocabulary, relating it explicitly to known vocabulary and understanding it with the help of context and dictionaries
- Making inferences and referring to evidence in the text
- Knowing the purpose, audience for and context of the writing and drawing on this knowledge to support comprehension
- Checking their understanding to make sure that what they have read makes sense
Students learn to read critically through:
- Knowing how language, including: figurative language, vocabulary choice, grammar, text structure and organisational features, creates meanings
- Recognising a range of poetic conventions and understanding how these have been used
- Studying setting, context, plot, and characterisation, and their effects on the reader
- Understanding how dramatists’ work is communicated effectively through performance, and how alternative staging allows for different interpretations of a play
- Making critical and evaluative comparisons across texts
Students are taught to write accurately, fluently, effectively and at length for pleasure and information through:
- Writing for a wide range of purposes and audiences, including: well-structured formal expository and narrative essays; stories, scripts, poetry and other imaginative writing; notes and polished scripts for talks and presentations and a range of other narrative and non-narrative texts, including arguments, articles, guides, blogs, personal and formal letters
- Summarising and organising material, and supporting ideas and arguments with factual detail
- Applying their growing knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and text structure to their writing and selecting the appropriate form to convey meaning to the reader
- Drawing on knowledge of literary and rhetorical devices from their reading and listening to enhance the impact of their writing
- Studying the effectiveness and impact of the grammatical features of the texts they read
- Drawing on new vocabulary and grammatical constructions from their reading and listening, and using these consciously in their writing and speech to achieve particular effects
Students learn to plan, draft, edit and proofread through:
- Considering how their writing reflects the audiences and purposes for which it was intended
- Amending the vocabulary, grammar and structure of their writing to improve its coherence and overall effectiveness
- Paying attention to accurate grammar, punctuation and spelling
Speaking and listening
Students are taught speaking and listening skills including:
- Active listening skills
- Understanding and responding
- Group discussions – using, developing and adapting speaking skills and participating in group discussion.
The Year Seven curriculum is structured around:
- the study of a novel – The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe or Skellig
- The study of non-fiction – Newspapers – article and letter writing
- William Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’
- World literature poems and 19th century short stories and the study of the play Our Day Out
Students also begin the Accelerated Reader programme.
The Year Eight curriculum is structured around:
- the contemporary novels ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ or ‘Holes’
- Nonfiction writing – Travel writing
- William Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’
- War poetry
- pre-1900 fiction extracts and the contemporary play ‘Black Harvest’.
Students in Year 8 continue their independent reading through the Accelerated Reader programme. The texts have been selected to offer students a breadth of study including classics of literature, modern day texts and the opportunity to develop their understanding of other cultures and what rights and responsibilities we have as contemporary British citizens.
Key Stage 4
At Settle College, our students begin Key Stage 4 in Year 9.
The aim of the Year 9 curriculum is to allow students to experience the demands and requirements of the new KS4 course and prepare themselves for examinations by completing practice assessments. Students will complete units on:
- Non-fiction and media texts – developing their knowledge from KS3 in terms of writing for purpose and audience, grammar and vocabulary and the effect of language choices on the reader.
- Poems from the Literary Heritage anthology.
- A post 20th Century class novel, post 20th Century play and 19th Century fiction – developing their ability to read in depth, critically and evaluatively, so that they are able to discuss and explain their understanding and ideas; write accurately, effectively and analytically about their reading, using Standard English and acquire and use a wide vocabulary, including the grammatical terminology and other literary and linguistic terms they need to criticise and analyse what they read.
- An introduction to the GCSE Shakespeare examination text: Romeo and Juliet.
- Creative writing – write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately; use grammar correctly, punctuate and spell accurately; acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology.
Years 10 and 11
Students will follow the AQA specification for English Language and English Literature. Following changes to the examination system, all students will be awarded a grade 9-1 (rather than A*-G).
The English Language course comprises the following:
Paper 1 – unseen 19th century fiction and imaginative writing.
Paper 2 – unseen 20th and 21st century non-fiction and transactional writing.
The English Literature course comprises the following:
Paper 1 – Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet) and post 1914 literature (An Inspector Calls)
Paper 2 – 19th century novel (Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde/A Christmas Carol) and poetry since 1789.
The examinations are all taken at the end of Year 11 and there are no controlled assessments or coursework. Students complete examinations in English Language and English Literature.
If you have any further enquiries regarding GCSE English, please contact Ms Booth at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ms M Booth – Subject Leader (English and Literacy)
- Mrs A Ellwood – Teacher of English
- Mrs S Jamil – Teacher of English
- Mrs V Lewis – Second in English, Key Stages 3 and 5
- Mrs S Power – Teacher of English
Key Stage 5
“The A Level English Literature course is a truly interesting and challenging course which has allowed me to appreciate classic literature.”
“English Literature introduced me to lots of amazing texts which I wouldn’t have read otherwise and I have really enjoyed studying them.”
Awarding Body: AQA (Specification B)
Useful Websites: http://www.aqa.org.uk/exams-administration/exams-guidance/find-past-papers-and-mark-schemes
Subject Staff: Mrs V Lewis, Ms M Booth, Mrs S Power
5 GCSEs which must include GCSE English Language Grade 6, English Literature Grade 6. Students are also expected to have an enthusiasm for reading.
Changes to A-Level
The English Literature course has changed in its content. The AS qualification is now separate from the A-Level qualification and will not contribute towards it. Students who choose this subject study towards an end of course A-Level exam of two papers. There is still be the opportunity to take an AS in this subject but it will be a separate examination award. There is a non-examined element but this is now worth 20% of the final A-Level grade.
Students still have the opportunity of opting for a one year course and being awarded an AS Level. This would involve end of year exams of two papers and no coursework. Students taking the two year course can also gain the AS qualification at the end of the first year. This can be seen as not only an extra qualification, but also preparation for their final A-Level exam at the end of the two years.
Course Description and Assessment for AS in English Literature
- Literary genres: Students will study either: aspects of tragedy or aspects of comedy.
Students will study four texts within their chosen literary genre: one Shakespeare play, one further drama text, one poetry text and one prose text.
At the end of the year will be two 1 hour 30 minutes written examinations.
- Paper 1: Literary genres: drama.
This is a closed book exam and is worth 50% of the AS Level.
Students will answer one passage based question and one essay question on a set drama text. Both questions are worth 25 marks.
- Paper 2 : Literary genres: prose and poetry
This is an open book exam. Students are allowed clean copies of their set texts in the examination. This exam is worth 50% of the AS Level.Students will answer one essay question on a poetry set text (25 marks) and one essay question on a prose set text (25 marks)
Course Description and assessment for A level English Literature:
- Literary genres: aspects of tragedy or aspects of comedy. Students study three texts: one Shakespeare play, a second drama text and one further text. In addition to the compulsory Shakespeare play, one of the other two texts must be written pre-1900. A-Level students can use some of the texts here from the AS qualification.
- Texts and genres: Elements of crime writing or elements of political and social protest writing. Students study three texts: one post-2000 prose text, one poetry and one further text, one of which must be written pre 1900. They also respond to an unseen passage in the exam.
- Theory and independence: non-examined component – In this component, students write about two different literary texts. One of the texts must be a poetry text and the other must be prose. Each text must be linked to a different section of the Critical anthology. (Students cannot choose texts from any of the A Level exam set text lists.) The Critical anthology has extracts from different literary theories which the students use to support their exploration of different meanings in literary texts. Students produce two essays of 1,250 – 1,500 words. There is opportunity for one response to be a re-creative one.
For AS-Level and A2-Level, there will be two exams: paper 1 – two hours 30 minutes and paper 2 – three hours. There will also be a non-examined assessment of two essays.
Paper 1: literary genres: aspects of tragedy or aspects of comedy.
This is a closed book exam and is worth 40% of the A-Level.Students will answer one passage based question on a set Shakespeare text (25 marks); one essay question on a set Shakespeare text (25 marks) and one essay question linking two texts together (25 marks).
Paper 2: Texts and genres: elements of crime writing or elements of political and social protest writing.
This is an open book exam. Students are allowed clean copies of their set texts. It is worth 40% of the A-Level.Students will answer one compulsory question on an unseen passage (25 marks); One essay question on a set text (25 marks) and one essay question which connects two texts (25 marks).
Non-exam assessment: Theory and independence.
Students produce two essays of 1,250 – 1,500 words on different texts. One must be a poetry text and one must be prose. Students use the Critical anthology to support their explorations of the texts. Each essay is worth 25 marks. This component is worth 20% of the A-Level.
In both AS and A-Level, students will need to know a lot about the texts they study, but they will also need to know about the contexts in which they were produced and explore different interpretations. They will need to develop an understanding of literary analysis and how to apply this so that they can discuss their own interpretations and judgements using the correct literary terminology. Students must be prepared to read outside of the set texts.
There is a lot of class and small group discussion to which everyone is expected to contribute. Much on-going work is reading, although written work is set at regular intervals to refine and develop the skills of organisation and expression which students have already worked on in earlier years. If you enjoy reading and talking about what you read, you will find this course enjoyable and rewarding.
Even if you do not think that you want to go on to study Literature at University, you should still find that the oral, writing and analytical skills that you develop in the course will be of use to you in virtually any field of study or employment. The skills acquired will enable students to formulate informed discussions, enter debate and lead ideas using their own interpretations and judgements. Students who have studied English Literature have gone on to study a range of subjects from Literature, Geography, Law, Art, History to Astrophysics and Building Surveying.
“English at Settle College has helped develop my analytical skills, and I have had the opportunity to study many books.”
“English at Settle College is fun and challenging. It has really helped me improve my analytical skills.”
Awarding Body: AQA
Subject Staff : Mrs A Ellwood
5 GCSEs at grade C or above including grade 6 in GCSE English Language and Grade 6 in English Literature
Students taking this A-Level should have a lively interest in all forms of human language use in society. Students should be prepared to read and analyse many kinds of texts and to produce their own original writing for specific purposes and audiences.
Course Description and assessment for the new AS in English Language:
Language and the Individual
The aim of this part of the subject content is to introduce students to language study, exploring textual variety. This area of study introduces students to methods of language analysis to explore concepts of audience, purpose, genre, mode and representation
The aim of this area of study is to allow students to explore language variety. Students will study the key concepts of audience, purpose, genre and mode and will explore language in its wider social and geographical contexts. Students will study varieties of English within the British Isles. This part of the subject content also requires students to study social attitudes to, and debates about, language diversity
At the end of the year will be two 1 hour 30 minute written examinations.
Paper 1: Language and the individual. The paper is worth 50% of the AS Level. Students will answer three questions on two texts linked by topic or theme. There will be a question on each text and a question asking for comparison of the two texts. (Total marks = 70)
Paper 2: Language varieties. This exam is worth 50% of the AS Level. Students will answer one essay question on language diversity (30 marks) and one directed writing task on attitudes to language (40 marks).
Course Description and assessment for the new A-Level in English Language:
Language, the Individual and Society
The aim of this part of the subject content is to introduce students to language study, exploring textual variety and children’s language development. This area of study introduces students to methods of language analysis to explore concepts of audience, purpose, genre, mode and representation. It also introduces students to the study of children’s language development, exploring how children learn language and how they are able to understand and express themselves through language.
Language Diversity and Change
The aim of this area of study is to allow students to explore language diversity and change over time. Students will study the key concepts of audience, purpose, genre and mode and will explore language in its wider social, geographical and temporal contexts. They will explore processes of language change. This part of the subject content also requires students to study social attitudes to, and debates about, language diversity and change.
Language in Action
The aim of this area of study is to allow students to explore and analyse language data independently and develop and reflect upon their own writing expertise. It requires students to carry out two different kinds of individual research:
- a language investigation (2,000 words excluding data);
- a piece of original writing and commentary (750 words each).
Students can choose to pursue a study of spoken, written or multimodal data, or a mixture of text types, demonstrating knowledge in areas of individual interest.
For AS-Level and A2-Level, there will be two exams both two hours 30 minutes. At A2-Level, this a terminal exam and, therefore, the AS-Level does not count towards the final grade on the two year course. There will also be a non-examined assessment of a piece of original writing with commentary and one language investigation.
Paper 1: Language, the individual and society: The exam is worth 40% of the A-Level. Students will answer three questions on two texts (one contemporary and one older). One question will be a comparison of the texts. Students will also answer an essay question on children’s language development.
Paper 2: Diversity and change: this paper is worth 40% of the A-Level. Students will answer one question on either language diversity or language change. They will answer on two texts – one answer will be an essay and one a directed writing task.
Non-exam assessment: 20% of A-Level. One language investigation (word count 2,000 words). One piece of original writing with commentary (word count 1,500 words).
English Language at this level is not like English at GCSE. Students must be prepared to absorb and use confidently a range of technical terms relating to concepts in language analysis as well as being willing to learn about the grammar of the language. This is a challenge but it is also very rewarding for anyone who has keen interest in how language works in many different fields in our society. It requires a wide range of attentive reading and is not simply focused on any one type of language, although it will obviously encompass aspects of literature too. There is a lot of class and small group discussions as well as individual and paired research.
This course could lead to the further study of language at University level, but the analytical insights and practical writing skills developed would contribute equally well to the study of many other disciplines in the Arts and Sciences. It would also be very useful in developing communication skills for those intending to seek employment in a wide range of fields where dealing with people is important.