The English department encourages students to be confident, reflective and independent learners. The Personal Learning and Thinking Skills are embedded in our programmes of study and we work closely with other departments to help our students transfer their skills between lessons. Wider reading is encouraged throughout all units of work; we also run theatre trips and liaise with the library in providing a range of extracurricular activities. Homework is set each week to reinforce class work and to encourage independent learning. We seek to value the achievements of each individual.
Key Stage 3
Our aim is to help students settle into life at John O’ Gaunt as smoothly as possible and encourage students to share their experiences of reading with one another through book reviews and recommendations.
At Key Stage 3, students follow a short transition unit and then six half termly units each year covering a wide range of topics including: novels, non-fiction texts, media and film, short stories, Shakespeare and poetry. Students receive six English lessons a fortnight and enjoy a wide range of activities including: drama, presentations, group work, individual work, interactive whiteboard activities, library lessons and research projects.
In Years 7 pupils are taught in mixed ability tutor groups and from Year 8 divided into sets based on their ability and progress. All schemes of work have been devised in-house by the department and are regularly reviewed and developed. The department uses the Assessing Pupils' Progress strategy (APP) where progression is measured against nineteen reading, writing and speaking and listening assessment foci. Students are encouraged to set their own targets and as a department we focus on encouraging students to recognise their individual talents and strive to improve in areas which they find more challenging.
Key Stage 4
Key Stage 4 is a natural progression for our students. Our use of the APP strategy ensures their progress is monitored and encouraged throughout their time at John O’ Gaunt. The department delivers the AQA syllabus in English Language and English Literature. During their GCSE course, students are assessed through controlled assessments (internally assessed examinations that have replaced coursework), mock and externally assessed examinations.
Students are required to complete a variety of written and spoken controlled assessment tasks: students undertake a study of spoken language and study a variety of prose, poetry, drama, and fiction and non-fiction texts producing two analytical essays and a minimum of two pieces of creative writing. The five written assessments are complimented by three speaking and listening assessments. At the end of Year 11, the three examinations include skills work (comprehension and writing tasks), poetry comparisons and the analysis of two novels. We cover a range of authors depending on a student’s ability and interests and encourage students to empathise with others through their reading.
Skills developed during the GCSE English Language course:
A01 Speaking and Listening
- Speak to communicate clearly and purposefully; structure and sustain talk, adapting it to different situations and audiences; use standard English and a variety of techniques as appropriate.
- Listen and respond to speakers’ ideas and perspectives, and how they construct and express meanings.
- Interact with others, shaping meanings through suggestions, comments and questions and drawing ideas together.
- Create and sustain different roles.
AO2 Study of spoken language
- Understand variations in spoken language, explaining why language changes in relation to contexts.
- Evaluate the impact of spoken language choices in their own and others’ use.
AO3 Studying written language
- Read and understand texts, selecting material appropriate to purpose, collating from different sources and making comparisons and cross references as appropriate.
- Develop and sustain interpretations of writers’ ideas and perspectives.
- Explain and evaluate how writers use linguistic, grammatical, structural and presentational features to achieve effects and engage and influence the reader.
- Write to communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, using and adapting forms and selecting vocabulary appropriate to task and purpose in ways that engage the reader.
- Organise information and ideas into structured and sequenced sentences, paragraphs and whole texts, using a variety of linguistic and structural features to support cohesion and overall coherence.
- Use a range of sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate punctuation and spelling.
ENGLISH LITERATURE - AQA: Specification B 2745
This course is suitable for you, if you:
- Have a passion for reading a wide variety of literature from the past and the present
- Enjoy expressing your opinions and justifying your comments on texts
- Have a thirst for exploring a variety of literary theories and analysing a range of interpretations
- Enjoy studying a subject which is relevant to your own life and experiences
- Want to keep your options open for further study (English Literature is a popular qualification for entry to a wide range of courses in Higher Education or for future careers)
- Are considering journalism, advertising, law, teaching, media etc as a career.
What will you study?
Advanced Subsidiary (AS Year 12)
Unit 1 Aspects of Narrative - Examination: 2 hours (Open Book) - 60% of total AS / 30% of total A-level marks
Unit 1 will introduce you to the central position of narrative in the ways in which literary texts work, involving many different aspects of literary representation. You will study one post-1990 novel and one pre-1990 novel. In addition you will explore two selections of poetry by poets writing between 1800 and 1945. During the examination you will answer two questions; one question will involve close analysis of narrative method in one text and the other question will involve comparing an aspect of narrative across three of the texts studied.
Unit 2 Dramatic Genres – Coursework - 40% of total AS / 20% of total A-level marks
You will study a minimum of two texts within the dramatic genre of Comedy (one of these must be Shakespeare) and your coursework portfolio will contain two assignments (one may be re-creative):
- The first piece will be on an aspect of comedy/dramatic genre with regard to a Shakespeare play. (1200 - 1500 words)
- The second piece will be on an aspect of comedy/dramatic genre with regard to another play. (1200 - 1500 words.)
Advanced GCE (A2)
Unit 3 Texts and Genres – Examination: 2 hours (Closed Book) - 60% of total A2 / 30% of total A-level marks
In this unit you will be encouraged to develop ideas on the significance of genre. You will study a minimum of three texts including at least one written during the period 1300-1800. Your group will study ‘Elements of the Gothis’. During the examination you will answer two questions; one question will be text-specific and the other will involve comparing an aspect of the chosen topic across at least three texts.
Unit 4 Further and Independent Reading – Coursework - 40% of total A2 / 20% of total A-level marks
In Unit 4, you will study a wide range of texts, the different ways of reading texts and critical ideas applied with discrimination to literary texts. You need to study a minimum of three texts for study, including one pre-released anthology of critical material. You will produce a portfolio of two pieces of written coursework:
- A comparative study of an aspect of two texts. 1500-2000 words.
- An application of an aspect, taken from the critical anthology, to a literary text (1200 – 1500 words).