In English we strive to develop a life-long love of reading, writing and language. Our aim is to ensure that all students enjoy English and achieve the best qualifications they can. We want them to read with enthusiasm and understanding and write with confidence and style. They should also be able to listen to others with respect and attention and talk with confidence in formal and informal situations. To underpin this, by the time our students leave Stanborough, we want our students to achieve confidence in and mastery of writing.
Head of department: Mr P O’Connor
What will students study?
Each term we study one significant literary text, for example ‘The Graveyard Book’ by Neil Gaiman and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare in Year 7; and ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens and ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare in Year 8. Using the text as a springboard, students work on a range of tasks to develop their reading and writing skills. In both years pupils also engage with a range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, prose and drama texts. These are further used to encourage pupils to develop their confidence through regular speaking and listening activities.
In Year 9 students begin to prepare more explicitly for their final GCSE exams in Year 11. They study two significant literary texts – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare – as well as continuing to read a wide range of non-fiction, poetry and other texts. Each scheme of work forms the basis for a wide range of activities, all of which are designed to prepare students not only for their GCSEs, but for life after school.
In Years 10 and 11, students study a range of classic texts –An Inspector Calls by J.P Priestley, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by R. L. Stevenson and Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Students also learn 15 poems from an anthology linked to the theme of conflict.
The GCSE English Language examination is based on the analysis of unseen extracts from literary and non-literary texts written in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. To prepare for this examination we study a wide range of texts so that students can develop greater confidence about responding to texts independently. Students also use these texts as stimulus for their own creative writing. Students will be required to purchase their own texts through Wisepay.
To achieve their spoken language qualification, students are required to make a formal presentation to a small audience of other students which is filmed and submitted to the exam board for checking.
Please note that students graduating in 2020 will complete the OCR examinations. Students graduating in 2021 will be completing the AQA examinations.
For further information, please visit the faculty website: stanboroughenglish.wixsite.com/english
In A-Level English Language students learn how to study written and spoken language in use in the real world. They apply a wide range of theories and ideas about language to a wide range of unseen spoken and written texts and consider hybrid texts such as message boards and instant messaging. They learn how English has developed in the past and how it might develop in the future and about how different groups in this country and in the rest of world adapt English in different ways. In their coursework they work out an investigation into how language is used in an area of life in which they have a personal interest. The other piece of coursework is a piece of creative writing in which they create their own written texts and write a commentary on their own choices of language and structure.
How can I support my child in this subject?
The best way to support your child in their study of this subject is to be a reading partner and a critical friend. It is helpful for you to read the books that your child is studying in school so that you can discuss them with them. If they are studying plays, it is useful for you to take them to see the play in performance, especially if they are studying Shakespeare. Be a critical friend by reading their written work and complimenting them on the good features of their writing while also pointing out sections that could be expressed more clearly or written more accurately.
What equipment does my child need in this subject?
It is important to make sure that your child has several black pens and at least one red pen and a pencil. The red pens are used when students are assessing their own work or the work written by a classmate. Rulers are essential, not only to underline headings but also to draw the charts and graphs we often use in our written work. A good pencil (and a sharpener and a rubber) will help your child take part successfully in activities that require them to visualise what they have read with quick sketches and diagrams. Make sure that they have a pack of four highlighters too because we can use them to mark significant parts of the text which they might want to quote in their response to a text. You should also give them a good school dictionary to help them understand what they are reading and a thesaurus to support their attempts to use a wider range of vocabulary.
Celebrating successes in this subject
Teachers use reward points every lesson to recognise the effort, attainment and presentation of students. Each term subject prizes are given to students whose work has gone above and beyond what we might have expected. The very best students in each year group are also recognised when they are given the subject prizes in the celebration of achievements evening. Some of the highlights of the year are special house competitions and events such as the Summer Reading Project in which all students give a book report to their class about a book they have enjoyed over the summer.
Extra-Curricular Activities and Visits
We take students on theatre trips, usually to see stage versions of the texts we are studying for the exam. Most recently we went to see an adaptation of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in Stevenage and a performance of the Woman in Black in London. Students also take part in the annual Festival of Words.