English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society.
Pupils study a wide range of fiction texts at Key Stage 3, including novels, plays and poetry, and they use these as inspiration for their own creative writing. Pupils also explore non-fiction texts including newspaper articles, letters and speeches, and they develop their own writing skills across a range of text types. Pupils also participate in a range of speaking and listening activities to increase their confidence and skills when speaking in formal contexts.
In Year 7, pupils study dystopian fiction, including the novel Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve; the play Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni, which is set during the Holocaust; the novel Animal Farm, one of George Orwell’s most famous works.
In Year 8, pupils study John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men; Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers; an introduction to Shakespeare; extracts linked to the theme of ‘voices from the past’; Gothic fiction; poetry from other cultures.
In Year 9, pupils study Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird; Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; poetry linked by the theme of ‘disturbed minds’; political speeches; extracts linked to the theme of ‘danger in hostile environments’; an introduction to GSCE English Language in preparation for Key Stage 4.
Pupils study a range of texts and topics, and develop a wide range of skills, as part of the GCSE English Language and Literature qualifications and for life beyond the classroom.
For GCSE English Language, pupils explore a range of creative texts, focusing on the use and effects of writers’ ideas, language and structure, and they develop their own descriptive and narrative writing skills. Pupils also analyse writers’ viewpoints and perspectives in a range of non-fiction texts, focusing on ideas, language and comparison of texts, and they practise writing their own texts in which they explain their points of view.
For GCSE English Literature, pupils study Shakespeare’s Macbeth; Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for the 19th century novel element; J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls for the modern drama element; an anthology of poems based on power and conflict, including poets such as Shelley, Hughes and Blake; unseen poetry.
Pupils also prepare and deliver a presentation to an audience as part of the Spoken Language element of GSCE English Language.
AQA GCSE English Language – 8700
Paper1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing – 50% (external examination)
Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives – 50% (external examination)
Spoken Language Endorsement
AQA GCSE English Literature – 8702
Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel – 50% (external examination)
Paper 2: Modern Drama and Poetry – 50% (external examination)
The English Language course suits any career progression in wide range of professions including teaching, media, journalism, law and the arts. Due to the transferable skills associated with the course, a good grade in GCSE English Language is desirable to any employer.
A GCSE in English Literature is a natural starting point for any profession where analysis is essential and for jobs that rely on good English skills. A good grade in English Literature is very attractive for employers as it shows you have an enquiring and analytical mind.