English

Curriculum Vision

‘No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.’
- Robin Williams (Mr John Keating) -

In order to encourage empathy as a given part of any young person’s interaction with the world, we have devised a rich and diverse bank of literature for our students to read and enjoy through years 7 to 9. The threads that these texts follow are those that reflect life itself – in each year, one term is devoted to a central text about love, one about conflict and one about the actual journey of living. Around these central texts float satellite poems, extracts and books that explore the themes and engage students in all that world literature has to offer. After all, we believe that words, whether written, read or spoken are the keys that unlock a wealth of knowledge and opportunity to which every child at Chapel High School is entitled.

Knowledge and skills

We are continually developing a thematic curriculum that guides our students along three distinct threads: ‘The journey of life’ begins in year 7 with an exploration of different perspectives designed specifically to build empathy. In year 8, they use this empathy to consider the difficult childhood of Oliver Twist, and in year 9, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night gives them the chance to have fun with the idea of revenge, creating stories of their own based on that theme. Our conflict thread carefully plots a journey from conflict with nature in Frankenstein and the Romantic Poets, through extracts examining wars from the 1800s to the present day, to a year 9 unit studying societal conflicts in a range of dystopian texts, both fictional and real. A final thread, centred around love, moves from year 7’s exploration of parental love in The Tempest, through friendship (and an examination of whether or not weshould even study controversial books) in Of Mice and Men, to the forbidden love of Noughts and Crosses. We view each text and its satellite texts through both the wide angle and the close up lens, with a view to students building their skills, year on year, and mastering the written word in all its forms. There is always careful attention to our students’ overall appreciation of and execution of English: analysis, communication, fluency, vocabulary, accuracy, the relationship between reader and writer and creativity are all paramount. Our curriculum engages our students in a wide range of writing, reading and oracy tasks which lend themselves to the final GCSEs and also equip them with the knowledge that in their hands, the written word has immense power.

By the time our students arrive at their GCSEs, they are familiar with much of the knowledge and ideas they will encounter in the set texts, and should be equipped with the skills, ready for refinement, that will set them up for the next stage of their own journey through life.

Context

Our students live in a beautiful, inspiring part of the country, and we use this where we can to engage their creativity, as it engaged the minds of writers from Charlotte Bronte to Edith Nesbit. And then we go further: through our choice of texts and tasks, we encourage students to not only appreciate the rolling hills of the High Peak, but to stand at their summit and view the rest of the world through open and receptive eyes. We aim to harness their potential, as readers, writers and speakers, to use English as a means to effect change in their own lives and in the world beyond the Peaks.

Curriculum Content

Year 7

This academic year covers a range of topics including Shakespeare’s heroes and villains, ‘The Tempest’, ‘Frankenstein’ (the play and extracts from the novel), ‘The Speckled Band’, non-fiction articles and ‘Millions’.

Year 8

Students will cover a range of topics including ‘Oliver Twist’, a selection of war poems, a variety of non-fiction texts, a collection of dystopian fiction and presenting a persuasive speech.

Year 9

Students will cover a range of topics including ‘Much Ado about Nothing’, Of Mice and Men, a variety of texts covering diversity, non-fiction texts, a short story collection and ‘Blood Brothers’.

Years 10 and 11

The vast majority of students follow GCSE courses in English Language and English literature, obtaining two separate GCSEs.

Qualification GCSE English Language GCSE English Literature
Board AQA AQA
Syllabus number 8700 8702
Website link www.aqa.org.uk/8700 www.aqa.org.uk/8702
Assessment details

100% terminal exam sat at the end of Year 11

100% terminal exam sat at the end of Year 11

Recommended coursebook GCSE AQA English Language Revision Guide – Grade 9-1 course.
ISBN 9788 1 78294 369 3
CGP also offer several revision and study books which focus on improving spelling, punctuation and grammar. These are all available at www.cgpbooks.co.uk and some are available on Amazon.

It is useful for students to have their own copies of texts studied, for annotation and revision:

‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘An Inspector Calls’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’.

(Poetry anthologies are supplied by the exam board.)

RECOMMENDED WEBSITES bbc.co.uk/gcsebitesize Youtube – Mr Bruff
www.oxnotes.com
www.genius.com

Enrichment Opportunities

The English department run several enrichment events throughout the year, these include:

World Book day
National Poetry day
Theatre trips
Author visits
Writing competitions


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