At Grace Academy Darlaston, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and a habit of reading widely, often and for pleasure. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge base, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the secondary curriculum. We want learners to be successful and confident, ready to make progress and achieve.
We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want them to be writers who can make their emotions leap off the page and manipulate their reader’s feelings with their words, writers who can express complicated ideas in professional, clear standard English, ready for the world of work.
We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening so they are able to communicate effectively whilst in school and be empowered out in the wider community. We want our students to be able to discuss, argue, persuade and deliver effective speeches to a range of audiences.
Students throughout the five-year English curriculum are taught English Language and English Literature through separate lessons to enable a thorough and wide spread approach to covering the requirements of the English National curriculum.
English Department Staff:
Mrs J. Barratt- (JBA) Head Of English
Mrs R. Scrivens – (RSC) Assistant Principal Teaching and Learning, Line manager of English
Miss A. Parshotam- (APA) Deputy Head of English
Mr S. Coley -(SCO) Deputy Head of English
Mrs B. Knight –(BKN) Teacher of English
Mrs L. Bocking– (LBO) Teacher of English and Drama, and Head of Year 7
Miss L. Walker– (LWA) Teacher of English and Law
Miss C. Rai -(CRA) Teacher of English
Miss G. Reid- (GRE) Teacher of English
Miss S. Chance- (SCH) Assistant Principal, DSL, SENCO, Teacher of Law and English
Miss S. Tranter -Jennings – (STR) Teacher of English; currently on maternity leave
Miss D. Wedderburn – Teacher of English; currently on maternity leave
Ms J. O’Sullivan – Teacher of English
Students in Year 7, 8 & 9 will complete separate lessons dedicated to English and English Literature. Students are given the opportunity to complete lots of reading, writing and speaking and listening tasks that help them to develop their communication skills. The KS3 curriculum covers a broad range of content, designed to help prepare them for the GCSE course. Students are assessed by the completion of half-termly assessments, which will cover content from that half term’s topics, as well as being quizzed on previous topics.
Reading for Pleasure and Library lessons
There is also a fortnightly ‘Reading for Pleasure’ lesson in years 7 and 8 with the aim of promoting a love of literature and the acquisition of an extended vocabulary. Modern novels such as Noughts and Crosses by Blackman are read alongside more established literature such as Dickens’ Great Expectations.
In addition, one lesson a fortnight is dedicated to books being selected and read independently by students from the school library* in the learning resource centre. Furthermore, in order to promote the importance of non-fiction texts, the students are exposed to current affairs non-fiction writing provided by the literacy co-ordinator and are encouraged to read, think and discuss such issues. Such activities support the department’s work on improving each student’s cultural capital and providing opportunities to extend a child’s knowledge of the world around them.
* From September 2020 until further notice, under the restrictions placed upon the Library and the concept of avoiding sharing books, students will be taught in an English classroom and have access to a class library to enable them to select their own reading material.
Students study separate courses: English Language and English Literature. Currently, we teach the AQA specification and all students are dual entered for both subjects. Lessons frequently link back to prior learning from previous units in order to help students understand the content and concepts between the skills and knowledge they have been taught. Students are assessed through the completion of half-termly assessments, which will cover content from that half term’s scheme of learning, as well as previous units. In year 10, PPE exams will take place in January to track progress, and identify any intervention required.
Year 11 students will complete two sets of PPE exams in November and March to track progress and enable students to feel as confident and as prepared as possible for the final summer exams.
Part of the English Language GCSE requires completion of a compulsory Spoken Language element, where each student presents a planned presentation to an audience. It will appear on students’ GCSE certificates as a separately reported grade, Pass, Merit or Distinction, alongside the overall English Language grade. The spoken language grade is compulsory in order to be awarded an English Language grade but does not contribute marks to the English Language result. As of July 2020, AQA are not insisting on audio-visual recordings of speeches.
Revision guides for GCSE English Language and English Literature are provided and given to all students to support their revision and home learning.
GCE English Literature
We offer GCE English Literature in post 16 and students follow the AQA English Literature spec A course. Depending on the cohort, students will study either option 2A: WW1 and its aftermath, as in 2020, or option 2B: Modern Times: Literature from 1945 to the present day, as in 2021. Whenever possible students are taken to see live theatre productions of the texts studied in order to support the cultural capital that we are aiming to provide. The English Department provide each student with personal copies of all the literature texts studied for exams and coursework assessment in order to ensure students are not disadvantaged by the financial cost of the texts. The coursework unit, or NEA, is taught during lessons and students are offered weekly after school enrichment to support this unit.
Revision guides are purchased and provided for all students to use to supplement their home learning.
Re-sit GCSE English Language
Students without a grade 4 in either English Literature or English Language are taught in small sized classes and entered for English Language GCSE in the November and June series. Their spoken language grade will be carried forward and they won’t be required to repeat this part of the assessment. When students achieve the required grade in January they are allowed to cease attendance at lessons.
Revision guides for GCSE English Language are provided and given to all students to support their revision and home learning.