We deliver a lively and engaging English curriculum that is designed to inspire, support and challenge all of our students. Our team is committed to fostering an enjoyment of literature and language through different texts, topics and activities. Our aim is that every child leaves Sandringham confident in shaping informed opinions and sharing them, both verbally and in writing, and takes pleasure in exploring a wide range literature.
Students build on skills developed at Key Stage 2 through a thematic approach to a range of topics in Years 7 and 8. Grouped in mixed prior attainment classes, lessons are offer a space for students to learn and develop at their own pace. Students complete a variety of writing, reading, and speaking and listening tasks, receiving regular feedback to help them progress. In their three English lessons a week, students will have two focusing on a core text and one looking at a variety of texts linked to the core text by theme. This enables us to take students through a broad range of both fiction and non-fiction, and for students to explore how ideas can be shaped, challenged and changed.
In Year 9 students are set by ability and focus on developing their skills in preparation for their GCSE English Literature and English Language courses.
Year 7 Topics and Texts
Core text: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Core text: an anthology of poetry on identity
Core text: The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Year 8 Topics and Texts
Core text: Animal Farm by George Orwell
Core text: The Woman in Black by Stephen Mallatratt (play)
Core text: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Term 1 – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and war literature (an anthology of extracts)
Term 2 – creative writing Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
Term 3 – exploring characters in literature (an anthology of extracts) and speaking and listening assessment
How parents and carers can support learning
Students will be set regular tasks to complete at home (HBL). Parents and carers should use Show My Homework to talk through this work whenever possible. Further to this, reading with your son/daughter or, as they grow, asking them about what they are reading – both fiction and non-fiction – has significant benefits to their ability to access not just the English curriculum, but the wider curriculum as a whole. It is also a fantastic way to develop concentration and to relax after a long day at school!
In KS3 we have lunch time reading and creative writing clubs, offered both within the faculty and in the library.
At KS4 and KS5 we offer theatre trips to watch some of the set texts which students always find useful, as well as enjoyable.
Beyond this, students are given reading lists around schemes of work so that they can explore themes, ideas, and genres further in their own time.
AQA English pages where you can access specifications, past papers and mark schemes for KS4 and KS5
BBC Bitesize where you can access revision pages for some of the texts and topics (including writing skills) studied at KS3 – this can support with some HBL tasks
University of Bristol – grammar exercises: a useful page to help all writes understand different punctuation and grammatical structures
We deliver the AQA specifications for both English Language and English Literature, and all students sit both qualifications. Students are also entered for the Spoken Language Endorsement: a qualification assessing speaking and listening skills that will appear on the students’ GCSE certificates alongside their English Literature and English Language results.
Students are taught in mixed prior attainment groups for their GCSE courses. We made the change from teaching in prior attainment sets in September 2019 in light of research into best outcomes for all students. This move has allowed all students to be exposed to and benefit from a broad exchange of ideas, and so develop a more insightful response to texts and tasks in both English Language and English Literature. It has also meant that the number of students in classes is more even across the year group; removing large ‘top’ sets means all staff have more time for each student and a more personalised approach to the delivery of the curriculum can be achieved.
We offer A Level English Literature and A Level English Language as two separate qualifications. For both, we deliver the AQA specifications, taking option A for English Literature.
Exam texts studied
Othello by William Shakespeare
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Per-1900 Poetry anthology
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Feminine Gospels by Carol Ann Duffy
Students are asked to write a 2500 word essay comparing two texts of their choice.
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