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Queen Elizabeth School

English

English

At Queen Elizabeth School we aim to create the very best communicators, readers, writers and thinkers. The functions of literature and language in enabling students to lead the best possible lives are at the forefront of the English curriculum.

Through English Language, we seek to provide students with the language capacity to navigate and succeed in courses of their own choosing, as well as inspiring those students who wish to pursue more language-based careers, such as writing, journalism, speech therapy, education. Through English Literature we seek to develop students' ability to think deeply about humanity, and to discover the riches of their Literary Heritage, whilst developing the critical faculties to evaluate the ideas and the craft in these texts. We challenge students to think, act and speak like those working in the field would: to read like writers, to write like readers, to speak like orators. 

Our curriculum at QES goes far beyond what is taught in lessons, for whilst we want students to achieve the very best examination results possible, we believe our curriculum goes beyond what is examinable. We do this by regular exposure to a wide range of the finest fiction and non-fiction texts, exploring them through practical, creative and analytical approaches. We invest in spoken language skills. We offer extra-curricular clubs in creative writing and debating. We support productions and take students to the theatre and poetry events and work with writers both in and out of school.

Our curriculum in English forms a backbone to our ethos statement. Examples of how our curriculum supports the ethos statement are the range of activities that demand students think inquiringly and independently, developing their ability to articulate ideas confidently, thoughtfully, and with precision, politeness and accuracy, and to listen to, evaluate and respond to the opinions of others. Enthusiasm is modelled by our staff and praised in our students who are engaged and motivated to do well.

As a knowledge-engaged curriculum we believe that knowledge underpins and enables the application of skills; both are entwined. As a department we define the powerful knowledge our students need and help them recall it by having a carefully planned progression through our curriculum with content and skills clearly defined in our schemes of work which have a regular focus on learned content. We are creating bespoke knowledge organisers to accompany units. Students have access to the content they need through department-based resources, online platforms - and are informed about other resources they can access. We build the Cultural Capital of our students constantly by teaching texts in context. We ensure that the curriculum covers both key writers in the traditional canon, and examples of literature and language from a range of times, cultures and traditions. We make clear how language and literature have been and can be instrumental in changing the world we live in.

Key Stage 3:

Students read a variety of literature including prose, poetry, drama, short stories and non-fiction texts. They develop their ability to form an interpretation, analyse and infer meaning. Students also have a weekly or fortnightly library lesson to develop independent reading habits.

Language:

  • Travel writing 
  • Descriptive and narrative writing 
  • Language skills based on 19th century extracts: for example, The Hound of the Baskervilles 
  • Opinion writing 

Literature:

  • Gothic extracts: The Castle of Otranto and Frankenstein 
  • Poetry across time
  • Shakespeare showcase: The Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Much Ado About Nothing
  • World Literature extracts: Anita and Me or Kite Runner
  • Novel study: 
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Animal Farm
  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas 
  • Boy
  • Of Mice and Men 

Key Stage 4:

 All students study English Language and English Literature at GCSE.

In English Language, students develop their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, evaluating writers’ purpose in a range of fiction and non-fiction material and constructing their own written pieces.

In English Literature, students read a range of literature including a 19th century novel, a Shakespeare play, poetry and contemporary material. Students explore themes and ideas, writer’s craft and intentions and contextual implications within each text.

Language 

What will I study?

  • PAPER 1: Exploration in creative reading and writing.
  • Section A: Reading - Literature text.
  • Section B: Writing - descriptive or narrative writing.
  • PAPER 2: Writer’s viewpoints and perspectives.
  • Section A: Reading - non-fiction text and literary non-fiction text.
  • Section B: Writing - writing to present a viewpoint. 
  • Literature:

What will I study?

  • PAPER 1: Shakespeare and 19th Century novel (40%)
  • Section A: Shakespeare: Students will answer one question on Macbeth. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole. 
  • Section B: The 19th Century novel - students will answer one question on A Christmas Carol. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole. 
  • PAPER 2: Modern texts and poetry (60%)
  • Section A: Modern texts - students will answer an essay question from a choice of two on Blood Brothers.
  • Section B: Poetry - students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.
  • Section C: Unseen poetry - students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a  second unseen poem. 

Enrichment

 KS3 & KS4 poetry club 

Debate Mate 

Spelling Bee Club 

Reading Aloud promoted through AR 

Oracy workshops

kEY sKILLS yOU WILL lEARN:

Collaborative curriculum planning lies at the heart of what we do in the department. We both liaise with external agencies, subject specialists and research to inform our planning. We are committed to a five-year plan of developing our schemes of work. These are focussed on embedding challenge, metacognition, memory techniques and literacy into our curriculum. Our curriculum covers the different areas of reading and writing fiction and non-fiction, and study of literary texts each year with the sophistication of the skills gradually increasing, and regular spiralling back to ensure key content is secure. Discussion and debate are a regular feature of lessons, as is extended reading and writing. We engage with real life contexts where possible to enable students to connect their learning with the world beyond. Alongside our schemes of work, we are developing knowledge organisers at KS3. This is enabling us to define the core knowledge our students need to master.

Next Steps:

 cAREERS:

cOURSES

 A level English Language or Literature

Degree courses in English Language/Literature, Law, Psychology, Criminology or other arts subjects.

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