“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” – Joseph Addison
|Knowledge and Wisdom in English||The English classroom is a calm but energised space where students are challenged to read carefully, extract meanings, voice opinions, think deeply, create, and reflect on ideas within and around texts. The primary focus is helping students develop increasingly well-informed personal opinions and be able to provide robust, academically sound, explanations of their thoughts. By the end of their time with us, students are well prepared to face the challenges of communication in the world beyond school.
In their time with us, all students at Manshead study both English Language and English Literature through to GCSE. These twin, interwoven disciplines help students to develop and embed the knowledge, language and communication skills that are necessary to succeed in the modern world, while simultaneously building their cultural capital around Literature written in English. Across every year group, every unit of study interweaves the core elements of reading, writing and spoken English, and contributes to developing every student’s knowledge of the power of language to influence, persuade and impress. By the end of their GCSE studies students know how to read, write and present using a range of techniques and methods – including appropriate grammar, vocabulary and structure – that empower them to communicate and engage effectively when they progress from school. By the end of the A-Level course students have developed their ability to construct sophisticated analytical arguments, debate and defend their opinions, evaluate literature in its literary context and connect with a range of literary forms.
|Curriculum and Teaching and Learning Overview||Across each unit of study students engage in individual, paired and group learning activities involving reading, notation, extended writing and spoken language. Every unit in the curriculum includes key vocabulary and elements of grammar that build over KS3 and KS4 into a coherent, comprehensive set of tools for academic and creative writing. Individual lessons draw on prior knowledge and embed that knowledge through a combination of interleaving and spaced learning using knowledge organisers to define and indicate core content. Over the course of each half term students engage in regular assessments of progress, with whole class feedback and closing the loop activities built in. Annual end-of-year exams, accompanied by other externally standardised assessments at key points, monitor the long-term progress and retention of core knowledge and skills.
We choose our core texts for study at a department level and they embrace a wide range of form and content from Shakespeare to the modern day. KS3 texts are selected both for their level of challenge and for their ability to contribute to student awareness of contexts, methods and themes that are significant throughout English literature; KS4 texts are chosen for their potential to help our students succeed at GCSE. Throughout KS3 and KS4, in addition to studying complete extended texts, students also encounter a wide range of short extracts, from multiple sources, selected for their moral, literary and social value. At KS5 these themes and threads of learning are extended and developed through a focused A-Level Literature course which prioritises personal, confident and thoughtful responses to literature by examining Aspects of Tragedy and Political and Social Protest writing.
Throughout KS3 and KS4, in support of the triumvirate of reading, writing and speaking, students explicitly develop their knowledge and understanding of the grammar of English: how sentences are constructed and crafted; how words and their meanings have developed and changed over time; how vocabulary, syntax and the rules of grammar combine to create meanings; how and why acquiring vocabulary and language skills is both empowering and a tool for personal success. Links between English studies and future career options are used to build and reinforce aspiration.
|Learning beyond the classroom||Beyond the classroom the English team offer a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities for students and their parents/carers to engage with reading, writing and speaking aloud.
The Accelerated Reader scheme provides the framework for structured extra-curricular reading opportunities, while both creative writing clubs and a Latin Club run through all Key Stages. These clubs are used as the springboard for entry into national competitions across poetry-writing, creative writing and public speaking. In addition, homework is used to challenge students to explore their literary and linguistic heritage and engage with attitudes and opinions beyond those they experience in school. [delete the sentence that was originally here – about ‘structured homework’]
Each year, members of the English department organise trips for students to see plays performed in professional theatres, to hear authors speak about their work, and to visit places of literary and academic interest. In-school author visits are organised in conjunction with the school librarian, and afford the unique opportunity for students to speak with an author and quiz them about their work and purpose.
Throughout the academic programme we explicitly encourage parents to support their children with their reading and homework – with our bespoke knowledge organisers adding to the core learning material that is available for both parents and students away from the classroom. In addition, our super-curriculum identifies accessible opportunities for families to visit and engage with texts, places and events which connect with both English Language and English Literature and which will enrich a student’s understanding of both our curriculum and their wider cultural heritage.
|AUTUMN 1||AUTUMN 2||SPRING 1||SPRING 2||SUMMER 1||SUMMER 2|
|Y7||Exploring a Novel: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S.Lewis||Exploring Poetry from different cultures||The Odyssey||Exploring Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream|
|Y8||Exploring The Gothic Horror Genre||The Island: A creative writing adventure||Analysing a Novel: The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman||Comparing Poems from different cultures||Analysing Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet|
|Y9||Analysing Non-Fiction||Analysing A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens||Developing Creative Writing –
fiction and non-fiction
|Studying Macbeth by William Shakespeare||Approaching Unseen Poetry|
|Y10||Studying An Inspector Calls by J.B.Priestley||Crafting speeches, letters and articles||Studying Jekyll and Hyde by R.L. Stevenson||Crafting descriptions and narratives||Studying AQA Anthology Poems:
Power and Conflict
|PPEs and Prep for Y11|
|Y11||Studying A Christmas Carol (Post-covid recovery)||PPEs + Spoken Language NEA||Revision: GCSE Language and Literature (AQA)||PPEs||Revision: GCSE Language
|FINAL GCSE EXAMS|
|Y12||Introduction to the course followed by studies of King Lear by William Shakespeare and Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake||Tess of The D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood||Explorations of Critical Theories and Political and Social Protest writing followed by NEA (individual project)|
|Y13||Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini||Examination preparation||Exam revision||FINAL A-LEVEL EXAM|