English at Tomlinscote offers a wide range of texts and genres to appeal to different interests. Students build on their literacy skills though investigating texts and using them as springboards to creativity. The study of English incorporates both writing skills – exploring both fiction and non-fiction genres – as well as reading comprehension and analysis – involving an understanding of historical aspects as well as their cultural relevance, linked to meanings and intended messages.
Inherently within English lessons, current social issues and the opinions of writers are explored; this allows students an insight into the world around them and enables them to access more mature ways of developing their own ideas and communicating these to a wider range of audiences. A strong focus on style and purpose of written pieces is at the heart of all tasks. This prepares students for their future literacy needs and builds confidence in their engagement with a broad scope of reading material, albeit news, novels, poetry, Shakespeare or online blogs.
Throughout their time at Tomlinscote, students will experience a variety of dramatic performances linked to the texts they are studying; special focus days and extra-curricular opportunities are also celebrated, such as World Book Day, the Spelling Bee, creative writing competitions and author visits.
Key Stage 3
Key Stage 3 consolidates the key literacy skills required to succeed in written work, including accurate and varied punctuation, grammatical choices, sentence structures, paragraphing, imagery and vocabulary building. The aim is to develop students’ ability to write and read a range of texts and understand the key meanings being presented by the writers. Students are encouraged to select their own methods for idea generation using both prior experience, group sharing and their iPads for inspiration.
Every year group in Key Stage 3 will read and analyse: A Shakespeare play, a range of novels, poetry and plays, non-fiction opinion articles, historical context research and short stories.
Example texts for Key Stage 3: Othello, Jake’s Tower, Private Peaceful, The Importance of Being Earnest, Sherlock Holmes, Of Mice and Men, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Christmas Carol, 1984.
Key Stage 4
Key Stage 4 combines the teaching of two separate GCSE subjects: English Language and English Literature, taking the AQA Examination at the end of Year 11. Students will also complete a Spoken Language component, which awards them a separate certificate.
The focus of the GCSE English Language is on the intended effects created by writers both in fiction and non-fiction texts, taking into account the writers’ relationship to the topic. Students are trained to gather information, infer meanings and explore language and structure. 50% of the English Language GCSE is based on their writing skills – the accuracy and effectiveness of the way they craft their ideas – and the maturity of those ideas.
GCSE English Literature works on students’ ability to understand a text – its message, context and key themes – and how writers’ shaped those meanings. All examinations are closed book, so students must learn their quotations. Throughout the course, students will study: A Shakespeare text, an anthology of poetry, a 19th Century text, and a play. Students are taught resilience, essay composition and confidence in developing key analytical points linked to the time period and its beliefs and expectations.
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