English is so much more than a subject at school; it is the foundation of how students are going to develop and thrive in the modern world. At Amery Hill, we aim to give students a positive experience of English through:
- speaking skills: preparing them for many different purposes and for many different audiences
- their reading of the classics, new texts and all genres
- the development of their writing in different forms, for a myriad of reasons with specific outcomes.
Students at Amery Hill follow a coherent KS3 curriculum between Years 7 and 9. KS3 provision ensures that students experience all genres of English in multi-modal forms. We assess and test work for either: speaking, reading and writing every term. All assessed work is kept for student reference and all marks and comments are recorded in a student friendly format. These lessons account for three out of their four lessons each week.
For the fourth lesson of the week, students also follow a separate programme, conducted in fortnightly library lessons, which aim to broaden and deepen their reading diet and skills. Then on alternate weeks, Year 7 students follow a separate literacy programme designed to teach specific literacy skills, and Year 8 students have the opportunity to write their own novel.
Year 9 bridges Key Stages 3 and 4, and we offer Year 9 a pre-GCSE bridging course: the skills and expectations for GCSE are taught more explicitly, the texts are of GCSE quality and the marks are on the GCSE scale. We find that this is a safe and supportive environment in which to prepare students for the two vital years of their GCSE English Language and English Literature courses, whilst still having the freedom to explore texts outside the prescription of the GCSE specifications.
GCSE provision is provided by AQA (Course 8702) for English Literature and Edexcel (Course 2.0 Lift) for English Language. These reformed exams place an emphasis on wider reading and the integration of a cultural knowledge into the analysis of texts. At the end of these courses students will be awarded a grade 1 – 9, with 9 being the highest.
During the course of the two years the students will study for the Literature GCSE: Shakespeare’s Macbeth, 19th and 20th century poetry, a 19th century novel, and a modern text or play. For the language GCSE they will focus on the ability to: understand, analyse, compare and critique unseen texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries; they will also be expected to write for creative and transactional purposes.
Students will also be expected to give a presentation on a topic of personal interest in order to meet the spoken language element of their English Language course. This is completed early in Year 10 and although it doesn’t carry any marks, students cannot certificate in English without it.
Finally for KS3 and KS4, we teach “Let’s Think in English”; these lessons have been proven to dramatically accelerate cognitive ability, engage with metacognition and enhance students’ capabilities for independent learning.