|About the Faculty|
The English faculty at SJL is characterised an enthusiasm for our subject and our pupils. The faculty’s main aim is to achieve the highest possible standards for all our students and in our classrooms every child really does matter. We maintain an inclusive ethos that is underpinned by a diverse, engaging, and enjoyable curriculum for our students at all key stages. The skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening underpin all our teaching and learning in English, and it is through our innovative approaches to the development of these skills that we are best able to prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
At each Key Stage, our curriculum provides students with the opportunity to read and study some of the most powerful, compelling, and important texts written in English, including a number of Shakespeare plays, and novels as diverse as John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Pat Barker’s Regeneration.
In their time studying English at SJL, students will be taught the conventions of a range of forms and genres of writing, and by the end of their GCSE studies will have crafted texts as diverse their own anthology of poetry, a newspaper frontpage, a murder mystery novella, and short stories inspired by Philip Pullman’s novel The Ruby in The Smoke.
Public speaking is an integral element of our curriculum provision, as well as our extra-curricular offer. Students learn about elements and methods of rhetoric, and each year write and deliver speeches on topics as diverse as the concept of heroism, political issues they are passionate about, as well as, in Year 9, in a speech entitled ‘Don’t Even Get Me Started On…’, the more everyday annoyances they encounter in their lives.
The English faculty enjoys an excellent working relationship with a very active, well-stocked, and exciting school library and have incorporated formal links with the library in the curriculum provision at Key Stage 3. Students have regular reading lessons, in which they can visit the library, read with their teacher or TA, take part in reading challenges, share recommendations, or simply enjoy reading their book in peace and quiet! Colleagues in the English faculty are regular attendees at the library’s senior reading group, sharing their opinions about books with our Year 11 and VI form students.
Every member of the English faculty is passionate about English, and dedicated to ensuring that our students have the best possible experience in their English lessons. We continue to develop our skills and embrace opportunities to extend our practice through: collaboration within the faculty, and with colleagues in other schools; engaging with pedagogical research; training both within and outside of SJL; our involvement in Hertscam Teacher-Led Development projects, and the Hertscam MEd programme, to reflect on and challenge our practice.
We hope that students will enjoy their work in English - we certainly do!
|Curriculum Intent Statement|
Our curriculum at all key stages is characterised by the faculty’s desire for our students to read and study the very best texts written in English, our passion for teaching students the craft of writing in different forms and genres, and our fervent belief in the importance and power of rhetorical speech and public speaking.
At each key stage students will read, study, and enjoy: a number of plays by William Shakespeare; a range of powerful, compelling, and challenging novels; and collections of poetry from which students will develop their understanding of poetic form, as well as their appreciation of seminal poetic themes from poems published from the 17th century onwards.
Students are taught the conventions of forms and genres of writing as diverse as murder mysteries, film reviews, short stories, and newspaper opinion pieces. In crafting their writing to suit different forms and genres, students will also be taught how to write lucidly, accurately, and engagingly.
Finally, our curriculum at all key stages incorporates numerous opportunities for students to learn how to speak rhetorically, and to develop their proficiency and confidence in public speaking. Students will be taught how listen sensitively, and how to craft compelling arguments, in order that they are able to discuss and debate the most important issues in their lives.
Key Stage 3 Curriculum
We are very proud of our Key Stage 3 curriculum. Students will read, study, and enjoy a variety of texts, including examples of Shakespearean comedy and tragedy, classic and contemporary novels, and a range of poetry. Students will also be provided with numerous formal opportunities to practise and develop their public speaking and debating skills, and will also learn and practise the conventions of a number of different forms and genres of writing. Therefore, by the end of Year 8, all students will have completed their first stage of secondary English studies, enjoying the study of a range of exciting texts and making excellent progress in the key skills of reading, writing, and speaking and listening along the way.
At Key Stage 3, we teach a range of units: novels, poetry, drama, Shakespeare, media, factual, persuasive and creative texts, and myths and legends. The outcomes of these units will mean that students by the time students begin their GCSE studies in Year 10, they will have produced examples of: literature analysis, role-play, rhetorical speeches, film reviews, creative writing, and writing for a variety of other purposes.
We assess students’ progress at the end of each unit, in line with the assessment criteria for the English curriculum. We give students the opportunity to reflect on their own progress and set targets, whilst tracking all progress on a database. We use assignments and an end-of-year exam to give an indication of each student’s progress at the end of each year.
We also run a range of extra-curricular opportunities for students at Key Stage 3: interactive Shakespeare performances; public speaking and debating; creative writing and poetry masterclasses for more able students. Literacy is also embedded in Key Stage 3, with reading schemes and lesson starters.
As a faculty, we are excited about our Key Stage 3 curriculum and all that it offers.
Year 9 curriculum
The year 9 curriculum has been designed as an effective bridge between KS3 and the GCSE courses. This gives us the earlier opportunity to develop skills in topics that students haven’t studied before but that are assessed in the GCSE course. These include the prose study and unseen poetry units. The curriculum also continues to develop the all-round reading, writing and speaking skills that are essential for pupils’ success whilst maintaining an interest and enjoyment in the subject.
Key Stage 4 Curriculum
At GCSE we follow the AQA specification for English Language and English Literature with all students achieving a GCSE in both. Our results have consistently been outstanding over a significant period of time, with our students making excellent progress and achieving the very highest grades.
However, we do not allow our desire for students to achieve highly to compromise their enjoyment of English and the rich experience that studying literature can provide. The GCSE offers a varied and interesting curriculum covering a number of texts and different forms of writing. The areas of study include writing for a variety of purposes and audiences including creatively, reading fiction and non-fiction texts.
The course is assessed wholly through exams.
We are in a unique position where all GCSE English classes of a particular year group are taught at the same time. This structure has enabled the teachers to collaborate on teaching and learning activities as well as maximise the impact on achievement by sharing resources and expertise. The teaching of the GCSE is a particular strength and area of enjoyment for the English faculty, who enjoy developing the skills and appreciation for literature of the pupils when they have reached this level of maturity.
Key Stage 5 Curriculum
Board: AQA (7712A)
If you are enthusiastic about reading, enjoy discussion, like challenge and want to learn more about human beings and their relationships, then A Level English may be a good choice for you.
A Level English Literature has many advantages:
- It is a very well respected A Level for university entrance or entry into the workplace.
- It complements a wide range of other A Level subjects.
- Its skills are vital for success in all walks for life. The ability to read and respond to demanding material, and the ability to write fluently and cogently is equally important to doctors, lawyers, scientists, linguists and artists.
- It is very well taught at SJL. Students make excellent progress, and the faculty has an impressive history of results including 41% A*/A and 79% A*/B grades in the summer 2019 exam series, and 107 A* grades in total in the last nine years.
- A Level 80% Exam 20% Coursework
- 2 papers 40% each
The study of English Literature allows students to develop strong analytical skills by covering a range of texts across different genres, centuries, and from authors of various backgrounds, ages and genders.
You will study a range of texts, from traditional literature and poetry, to new and very exciting literary examples from our own time. In addition, you will learn how authors use language to create meaning and you will explore the social, cultural and historical contexts within which the texts were written. You will also learn how to write cogent and well-structured academic arguments in response to literature and develop group work and speaking skills.
The texts you will study include:
- The Great Gatsby
- Pre 20th century poetry
- Unseen poetry and prose
- My Boy Jack
- The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry
- A Doll’s House
- The Yellow Wallpaper
Where possible, we run theatre trips to see productions of the texts you study; last year, Year 13 went to see Othello at The Globe in London. In Year 13 you will have the opportunity to enjoy a study tour of the battlefields and cemeteries of Northern France and Belgium to enrich your reading and analysis of the literature of the First World War.
We would expect you to achieve an APS of 4.5 or above and a Grade 6 at GCSE in either English Literature or English Language to study for an English Literature A Level. Grade 6 or above at GCSE in both English Literature and English Language would be desirable.
The English faculty provides a number of extra-curricular opportunities for our students, including:
- The opportunity to take part in the national Poetry by Heart poetry recital competition. We run school-based rounds, before entering students for the county-based and national elements of the competition.
- Numerous opportunities to take part in public speaking and debating competitions. Every year our students participate in the Rotary’s Youth Speaks competition, whilst the faculty runs an annual lower-school public speaking competition in the summer term. Our students have taken part in debating competitions at the Palace of Westminster, having been invited by our local MP, whilst our VI form debating team has organised debating competitions with other local schools.
- We have close ties with our brilliant library. At all key stages, students are encouraged to become keen, independent readers, and they take part in reading competitions in which they read high-quality, diverse books.
- Theatre and cinema visits are an important part of our extra-curricular provision; in recent years, our VI form students have seen a production of Othello at The Globe in London and our Y7s enjoyed a production of Michael Morpurgo’s novel Private Peaceful. Years 7 and 8 are treated each year to Anthony Glenn’s one-man productions of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet.