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We are an experienced and hard-working team of teachers who are dedicated to student progress. We are keen to ensure that student’s enjoyment and success in English improves every year - as highlighted in our progress centred lessons and schemes of work.
What are the topics at Key Stage 4?
Currently, Year 10 and 11 students work towards two GCSEs in their English lessons:
•Year 10: GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature
•Year 11: GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature
The three main elements of the English courses are: Reading, Writing, and Speaking and Listening.
Students study a range of literary texts during Year 10 and work on improving their analytical ability. Current Literature texts studied:
•A Christmas Carol
•Lord of the Flies
•Romeo and Juliet
•AQA Power and Conflict Poetry (Anthology)
The English Literature GCSE is now 100% exam assessed at the end of the course in the Summer of Year 11. Students focus on the assessment objectives set by the AQA and are monitored and assessed regularly in class.
Students then move on to focus on English Language GCSE in Year 11 where they access a range of fiction and non-fiction extracts and texts in order to prepare them for their exams at the end of the year. Students sit two English Language exams in the Summer of Year 11 that are 100% of the GCSE weighting.
Students also complete a number of Speaking and Listening assessments that focus on the key skills of: Role Play, Discussion and Presenting. These tasks have no exam weighting and students receive a nominal mark out of 5 on their exam result.
In English Literature GCSE, students are assessed at the end of Year 11. Students sit two exams that focus on a range of texts studied over the two year GCSE period. Paper 1 focuses on A Christmas Carol and Romeo and Juliet. For both questions, students have an extract of the text to focus on and questions usually ask them to explore how a character or theme is presented in the extract and then connect that presentation to the rest of the text.
Paper 2 assesses students’ knowledge and understanding of Lord of the Flies and a range of poetry from the Power and Conflict cluster. Students study the texts in class and are assessed against the exam board’s assessment objectives and criteria is regularly explained. For Section A: Lord of the Flies, students have a choice from two questions that will focus on either character or theme. For Section B: Poetry, students respond to three questions: the first asks students to compare two of the taught poems from the Power and Conflict cluster in the AQA’s anthology, the second asks students to analyse an unseen poem and respond to a question that focuses on language analysis, the third asks students to read another unseen poem and compare this final poem to the poem in the second task.
In both of the Literature exams, students are not allowed access to the texts. A good understanding of key characters and quotes from the whole text is essential.
In English Language GCSE students sit two exams at the end of Year 11. Both exams focus on reading and writing skills. Paper 1: Fiction, has two sections that assess a range of skills that students have developed over their time at Therfield. Section A has four questions that are designed to assess students’ ability to infer, deduce and interpret information from unseen fiction extracts. Students interpret the texts using analytical skills that interpret language and structure. In Section B students are given a specific audience and purpose to guide their written responses. Students are assessed on their ability to organise and write with appropriate content, and their ability to write accurately with a specific focus on spelling, punctuation and grammatical accuracy.
Paper 2 is very similar in the skills and nature of assessment but focuses on Non-Fiction texts and directed writing (e.g. letter, article).
Students are also assessed on Speaking and Listening and complete a range of tasks that focus on: discussion, role play and presenting. As part of the exam boards moderation process, a number of students will be filmed and these examples are sent to the AQA for moderation. The Speaking and Listening content currently has no exam weighting.
What do students study at Key Stage 3?
All students study English at Key Stage 3. They develop their skills in reading, writing, and speaking and listening through following a varied programme of study. All students are expected to read widely and we promote reading alongside the school library and the Accelerated reading scheme for Year 7 students. Students study a range of texts, from Shakespeare and modern poetry to fiction and non-fiction and also have opportunities to write creatively.
English is constantly changing and we embrace technology and the internet to help prepare students for the real world literacy they will need to grasp the constantly changing world of social networking and blogging, the functional skills students will need are embedded into the curriculum which is delivered in a skills based approach where students are constantly assessed on the progress that they make.
All our teaching resources, schemes of work etc for all key stages are on the Therfield VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) for students and parents to access at home, and all homework at Key Stage 3 is handed in and marked online.
What extra-curricular opportunities do we offer?
We run a very successful Key Stage 3 Reading Club that meet once a week and discuss current titles for young people. We debate our current reading lists and sometimes we just enjoy reading together! Every year we shadow the CLIP Carnegie Reading Challenge, buying the new books, reading them in 8 weeks and voting for our favourites, as well as keeping a blog going where we publish book reviews and our thoughts on each book.
We successfully run a number of opportunities for students to write for a range of purposes in a range of literary genres and have had students work published over the last few years.
Literacy Leaders is another enrichment opportunity where students plan and run an event in World Book Week and meet regularly to discuss how to improve literacy across the curriculum.
What makes English special at Therfield?
We are a team of eight teachers who love literature and language and spending time helping students discover their talents in the subject. Many students continue their studies into Key Stage 5, and we run very popular and successful courses in English Literature, English Language and Media Studies.