Introduction to the Subject and Team
The English department is staffed by a dedicated and forward-thinking team of eighteen specialist English teachers. The English Leadership Team consists of the following staff:
|Mrs Lindsey Goode
Curriculum Team Leader of English
|Mrs Lyndsey Chand
Deputy CTL of English
|Miss Nicola Snape
Acting Deputy CTL of English
Our vision is to inspire our students to be the thinkers, writers and creators of tomorrow, as we hold the keys to developing their literacy, creativity and curiosity to ensure them success in the wider world. We aim to build a nurturing learning environment that supports an ethos of resilience, confidence and self-belief through our shared commitment and determination; our students are challenged to take a glimpse through our windows of opportunity, as we hand them their own set of keys for a successful future.
In addition to core English lessons, we offer a range of extra-curricular activities and opportunities. These include Film Club and a Creative Writing Club, which has participated in a number of national writing competitions with great success. We also run study groups across Key Stages 4 and 5, and additional study support sessions after school.
Course Content at Key Stage 3
Students receive four one-hour lessons of English per week and are placed broadly into ability groups using Key Stage 2 data, plus the academy’s assessment data as they progress through Key Stage 3.
During Year 7, students will be introduced to a range of texts that will develop their ability to analyse language from both fiction and non-fiction sources.
In the autumn term, we start with some exciting work surrounding war literature, with students reading John Boyne’s ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’. Leading up to Christmas, the year 7 students will practise their descriptive writing skills using gothic literature as a stimulus.
In the spring term, we examine Shakespeare’s life and works through our study of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, practising skills for analysing literary texts. Following that, year 7 students will look at a range of non-fiction texts, from the 19th century onwards, linked to the supernatural and attitudes towards it through the centuries.
Finally, in the summer term, we explore a range of inspiring and challenging poetry, with a focus on the theme of ‘WW1’. Year 7’s final scheme of work for the academic year will develop their skills in non-fiction writing. They will use classic fairytale as a stimulus for writing news articles, speeches, advice columns and arguments.
During Year 8, students will continue to develop their abilities to interpret a range of fiction and non-fiction texts and further develop their skills of language analysis.
In the Autumn term, students begin the academic year studying a challenging and engaging modern novel – ‘Wonder’ by R J Palacio. Leading up to Christmas the year 8 students will develop their descriptive and narrative writing skills, using dystopian fiction as a stimulus.
In the Spring term, we study Romeo and Juliet in detail, giving students an understanding of Shakespeare’s writing and contexts which is an excellent introduction for their literature exam studies at Key Stage 4. Following that, year 8 students will develop their non-fiction writing skills by using the Zombie Apocalypse as a stimulus.
Finally, in the summer term, year 8 students will explore poetry as a form of protest. They will study the works of Benjamin Zephaniah and other influential poets to explore how poetry can be used as a tool against discrimination and prejudice. Year 8’s final scheme will focus on a range of non-fiction texts from the 19th century onwards to inspire their own writing based on the theme of prejudice and attitudes to diversity.
Course Content at Key Stage 4
In Year 9 students make the transition to the GCSE Course, and during this year they set the foundations of skills and knowledge to support them to be successful by the end of Key Stage 4. Students follow a curriculum which includes aspects of both Language and Literature to prepare them for both GCSE courses.
Our first unit, in the Autumn term, is an Introduction to Nineteenth-Century Literature and non-fiction, which is designed to prepare students for the increased reading demands of the GCSE course. Students then move on to a writing unit in which they explore a range contemporary debates and practice expressing their ideas and point of view in their own writing.
During Year 9, students will learn how to approach a range of literary texts, namely poetry and Macbeth by William Shakespeare, and will begin to learn how to approach exam-style tasks on these texts.
Year 10 and 11
Exam board/Specification:AQA GCSE English Language / English Literature
Paper 1: 1 Hour 45 Mins, 80 Marks, 50% of the GCSE
Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing
Section A: Reading
Section B: Writing
Paper 2: 1 Hour 45 Minutes, 80 Marks, 50% of the GCSE
Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives
Section A: Reading
Section B: Writing
Paper 1: 1 Hour 45 Minutes, 64 Marks, 40% of the GCSE
Section A Shakespeare: 1 Question based on a Shakespeare play studied in class
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Section B 19 Century Novel: 1 Question based on a novel studied in class A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Paper 2: 2 Hours 15 Minutes, 96 Marks, 60% of the GCSE
Section A Modern Texts: Answer 1 Question on a text studied in class
An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley
Section B Poetry: Answer 1 Question based on poetry studied in class
Poems from the ‘Power and Conflict’ Anthology Cluster
Section C: Unseen Poetry: Answer two questions based on unseen poems
During Year 10 and Year 11, students will study and prepare for their GCSEs in both English Language and English Literature. Exams for these two subjects will be taken at the end of Year 11. At KS4 English students will study a wide range of English Literature and will have a chance to study novels and plays from the 20th and the 21st Century along with a range of 19th Century texts. Alongside this, there will be a chance to analyse non-fiction texts from the 19th and 20th Century that will include appreciation and analysis of language. Students will also study a Shakespearean play in depth.
Career Opportunities and Progression within the Subject
At Ossett Academy, we want all students to enjoy English and be confident in their use of everyday English in the wider world. Whether or not a student formally carries on with English in a qualification or career, the ability to communicate is an essential skill. However, there are various options for students who want to make English a central part of their life after GCSEs.
Firstly, there are two specific English A Levels available (English Language and English Literature ), which seek to extend and develop the appreciation of language developed at GCSE. A Levels such as Film Studies and Media Studies also incorporate similar skills to those used in English, but through the analysis of more ‘visual’ texts. Many students who enjoy GCSE English go on to study these A Levels.
Beyond school and college life, the opportunities with English are boundless. There are a whole range of degree level courses from English itself to Creative Writing, Journalism and Communication Studies (to name just a few), as well as courses that focus on specific aspects of English.
There are probably few careers where confident use of English is not essential and whilst journalism, teaching and writing are probably the most obvious examples of careers using English, the list is endless. Speechwriting, news presenting, marketing, careers in film and theatre, researcher, reporter. Any job where you need to be clear, concise and imaginative in your communication will be easier with good English skills.
How Parents Can Support Learning
- Take an interest in your child’s weekly English homework and ensure that they are spending an appropriate amount of time on it.
- Encourage your child to proofread their written work and look up any spellings they are unsure of in a dictionary.
- Encourage reading for pleasure (fiction and non-fiction, including newspapers and periodicals).
- Encourage your child to examine all texts critically e.g. web pages, leaflets, letters, articles, etc.
- Encourage your child to help you with any ‘real-life’ writing tasks you might have a home, for example writing a letter or e-mail of complaint or job application letter.
- Purchase copies of the GCSE set texts and revision guides (your child’s class teacher will inform them of the titles and relevant editions).
- During exam season, help them to create a revision timetable which includes specific revision activities to complete. Your child’s class teacher can give them guidance on this.
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