Engage, Enthuse, Empower
|Head of English||Ms M Bochnak-Sales|
|Second in English||Mrs R Kench|
|Assistant Headteacher/Teacher of English||Mrs K Hutton|
|Teacher of English||Mrs J Jones-Nugent|
|Teacher of English||Mrs M See|
|Teacher of English||Mr R Wilcox|
|Teacher of English||Miss E Ashton|
|Teacher of English (maternity leave cover)||Mr J Masvikeni|
|Teacher of English||Mrs Singleton-Baker|
We love English for several reasons:
We have the chance to share fabulous texts with our students and to encourage them to read and enjoy a wide range of texts. This includes authors who are part of the traditional English literary canon as well as a wider and more diverse range of writers and a range of modern texts.
We read and study non-fiction, novels, plays, poems and short stories so there is something for everyone.
We are able to develop a number of transferable skills which ensure that our young people are able to empathise, be resilient, think creatively and write for a variety of different purposes.
We know the importance of reading, writing and speaking and listening skills, in terms of ensuring that our students are ready for life outside the classroom and that they are able to communicate effectively.
We support and enable our students to develop their skills to prepare for two important GCSEs and hope to teach many of them at A Level too.
We feel uniquely placed to help our students develop because our subject enables us to deal with a wide range of issues and ideas through the different contexts, cultures and events that can be covered when teaching English.
We take pride in our Key Stage 3 English Curriculum at The Highfield School and see it as the vital link between the wealth of skills and knowledge that students gain in primary school, and the demands of English Language and English Literature study at GCSEs and A Level. Year 7 students are part of our exciting progress landscape where levels have been replaced with a flight path, which then take them to aspirational targets at GCSE in an all-through system. We have all the skills mapped out for an amazing learning journey which will take them through the challenging step up into their GCSEs.
Key Stage 3 English at Highfield is an exciting curriculum. Our KS3 curriculum is designed to excite our students about storytelling via various genres; to teach them the wonderful media of expression of universal human conditions such as love, hate, disappointment, friendship, family, and ambition. It is designed for students to see the relevance of English in every discipline and aspect of their lives, bringing the knowledge of texts to the knowledge of humans – encouraging self-growth and self-discovery.
Our curriculum teaches students how to speak confidently, listen with understanding and empathy, and to read and write critically – to know that texts manipulate and then transfer this to their own manipulation of writing for purpose, audience and genre. We intertwine teaching of drama, prose and poetry together, including seminal works and Shakespeare alongside modern, exciting works by diverse writers who express realities and narratives close to our students’ hearts. Underpinning all of this is the pursuit of knowledge and skills, including Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary, linguistic and literary concepts and terms, spelling and reading strategies as well as development of reading for pleasure. Oracy is developed across the key stage through discreet oracy units and with regular speaking and listening activities in lessons. Homework at KS3 is all about reading for pleasure with SparxReader with 1 half termly homework being a key vocabulary glossary.
In Year 7, students work in mixed ability groups. They have 6 hours of English lessons per fortnight with an addition of a fortnightly literacy lesson where they use the Bedrock programme to develop their Tier 2 vocabulary and continue their study of grammar skills to both embed and develop the grammar learned in Year 6. We want our Year7 students to be excited by English and the students particularly enjoy reading Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Private Peaceful’ and creating and pitching a new ice –cream flavour to our local gelato parlour. To support our students who may find the transition to the demands of Year 7 English challenging, we offer a nurture group where students will use the Lexia programme alongside our English curriculum to support their reading.
Students are also taught in mixed ability classes during Year 8. Throughout the year they are introduced to a wealth of more challenging texts, including the gothic genre, Sherlock Holmes, modern drama, media texts and non-fiction and Shakespeare’s tragedy ‘Macbeth’. Students in Year 8 are expected to continue their reading for pleasure using both the Sora reading app and SparxReader to augment their own reading materials and challenge themselves with a broader range of texts. Year 8 continue to have a fortnightly Bedrock and grammar lesson.
The end of KS3 lends itself to being a bridge to KS4 as we spend the year preparing for the rigours of the GCSE reading and writing and speaking skills. Despite this, our Year 9 is not the start of the GCSE units but a separate programme of study that focuses heavily on embedding and practising the key skills from the previous years in a fun but challenging way. We increase our grammar and vocabulary lessons to weekly and use this as an opportunity to also develop reading with a range of modern, exciting novels. From political propaganda in ‘Animal Farm’, and social responsibility in ‘An Inspector Calls’ to Shakespeare’s comedy of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ to a more creative descriptive writing unit - Year 9 is a time where students are given opportunities to consolidate and develop their English skills ready to embark on their Key Stage 4 journey with confidence and enthusiasm.
At Key Stage 4 our students are entered for both GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. We follow the AQA examination board.
GCSE English Language
GCSE English Language helps students to develop their reading, writing, and speaking and listening skills. Students draw upon a range of texts as reading stimuli which are high-quality, challenging texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. These texts support students in developing their own writing by providing effective models. Students have opportunities to develop higher-order reading and critical thinking skills that encourage genuine enquiry into different topics and themes. Students are expected to read actively and critically, and write creatively and effectively. Students are assessed by two final examination papers, both lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes. Speaking and listening is a separate endorsement.
GCSE English Literature
GCSE English Literature encourages close study of literary texts, including Shakespeare, a 19th century novel, a modern play, and a range of English heritage and contemporary poetry. Students are assessed by two exams at the end of the course. The first requires them to respond critically to a Shakespeare play and the 19th century novel. This exam lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes and is worth 40% of the marks. The second exam focuses on the modern play, a selection of poems from an anthology, as well as requiring a response to two unseen poems. This exam lasts 2 hours and 15 minutes and is worth 60% of the qualification.
Students are provided with an exercise book which are kept in the classroom. In addition, throughout the course students will be given plays, novels and poetry anthologies to use in class. We would advise students where possible to purchase their own copies of the text as this allows them to access them at home and annotate as they wish.
This course will encourage students to become linguists and to become aware of the nuances of language use across the world. Students will gain an in-depth knowledge of linguistic terminology and they will be able to apply their analytical and evaluative skills to a variety of texts, both spoken and written. Students will know how and why certain aspects of language have developed over time, they will study accents, dialects as well as world Englishes and they will also explore language acquisition in childhood. Students will undertake an independent investigation into an area of language study they feel passionate about and they will develop their creative writing skills as part of their Non Examination Assessment. This is an exciting course which turns students into linguists who appreciate the wealth, breadth and beauty of language.
This course will encourage a study of various forms of literature, from Shakespeare to contemporary poetry. Students will develop skills of argument both in discussion and in writing and gain the ability to stand by a point of view whilst listening to the views of others. English Literature encourages a highly critical mind, interrogation of the status quo and fierce debate over what is right and wrong. Students will study how literature may have changed over time but how the universal human condition has remained the same. English Literature will question boundaries and give windows into the societies of the past. Students will never read a book in the same way again!
USEFUL LINKS AND RESOURCES
- MASSOLIT – Short video lectures from the world's best academics for school teachers and students around the world
Please see your English teacher for log-in details for EMC and Massolit
What is the homework policy?
Homework in KS3 is designed to develop students’ love of reading for pleasure. At present, we are trialling the use of SparxReader. This is a programme which allows students to read for pleasure whilst earning SparxReader Points. Students are then rewarded for their reading, both in form of House Points and with the intrinsic satisfaction of reading for pleasure. Additionally, a glossary of key terms is also set once per half term.
Homework tasks are set using an approach which interleaves the various texts that are being studied for Literature, whilst also developing the skills required for English Language. We aim to ensure that all of the skills and texts are being consistently and continually reviewed because that is a good model to follow for revision. Students are expected to spend approximately 2 hours a week on homework and we provide revision suggestions separately.
Sixth Formers should understand the need for self-directed study to complement explicit homework set and this is supported by Independent Study Plans that are available in each subject area. Students should expect to receive the equivalent of at least 3 hours homework a week. This may be related to research, planning, drafting or editing essays or assignments. Students should also be reading around the topics and units of work.
Reading lists are available for all students who wish to further their personal reading for pleasure.
What Extra curricular opportunities are there?
We run a range of extra curricular clubs in English: Challenge Club, Dungeons and Dragons, Calm Club, Time to Talk and Homework Club. We also support library with their Book Club. We always strive to provide students with out of school opportunities, such as: external and internal competitions, theatre trips, writers’ workshops, and many more.
What career paths could studying English lead on to?
Law, Academia, Media, Culture and Arts, Education, Civil Service, Business and Management
What resources and facilities does the English Department have?
The English department occupies 9 classrooms in the Howard Block. We have reference copies of the novels and plays that students use in class for the topics we study each year. We also use a wide range of poetry and non-fiction texts. We encourage KS4 and KS5 students to buy their own copies of the exam texts so that they can annotate them with notes.
We have digital data projectors in each classroom with full audio-visual capabilities as well as mini camera visualisers to help students focus on key documents in lessons. We also have our own digital cameras and camcorders to support media work. Further book and computer software resources are available in the library. The department benefits from the excellent computer resources in the school, including trollies of laptops that can be booked for use in the classrooms.
Reading lists are available for all students who wish to further their personal reading for pleasure.