The English Department’s main aim is to develop the students’ ability to meet the demands of modern life in both written and verbal communication.
The curriculum, in Years 7, 8 and 9, is currently in the process of being redeveloped in order to dovetail into the new GCSE syllabus. (Key Stage 3 has not actually been examined nationally since 2008). As a department, we are aware of the changes and the rigours of the new examination process so are conscientiously working to make sure our students are GCSE ready.
The Department for Education has introduced a new policy which aims to create a seamless numerical grading system taking students from Year 1 through to Year 11.
Secondary progress will be achieved over the 5 years with the students aspiring to make at least 1 step of progress for each of these years; 3 steps of progress will be the expected starting point when joining us.
The terminal examinations expect the students to have a fully comprehensive understanding of the subject; after studying a wide range of texts from both the Canon of English Literature and from high quality modern contemporary works. Students will be encouraged to respond critically, identifying and interpreting themes whilst explaining the relevance and presentation of written content. It is our intention that all students are entered for Edexcel GCSE English Language and English Literature examinations in Year 11, demanding high standards of work from all students, whatever their ability.
Key Stage 3 English at Regents Park
Term 1 at Regents Park helps students to settle into English lessons effectively through the delivery of our transition unit. This gives students the opportunity to write for a real purpose and audience by sending letters to their primary school teachers.
The transition unit is followed by a non-fiction scheme of lessons centred around the theme of survival. In this engaging unit, students study a range of autobiographical work by authors such as Bear Grylls and Joe Simpson, paying close attention to how fear is built in writing through the use of language and structural features. They will also produce their own survival guide.
In term 2, a selection of novels are studied including Darren Shan’s: ‘Cirque Du Freak’ and ‘Iqbal’ by Francesco D'Adamo. Students carefully study the way in which characters are built around the central theme of the story and will also produce some empathetic writing. Students will also study a range of drama texts including: ‘Face’ and: ‘Flour Babies’.
The summer term facilitates an interesting cross-curricular link as students explore the way in which the media has presented a range of villains in history, including Robert Mugabe’s lengthy reign over Zimbabwe and Adolf Hitler’s hold on Germany.
In their second year at Regents Park, students start with the study of a range of engaging science fiction texts, including H.G Wells’ ‘The Time Machine’. This is followed by the study of a selection of novels including: ‘Stone Cold’ and: ‘The Black Book of Secrets.’
Term 2 gives students the opportunity to explore an assortment of media texts, including newspapers and magazines. They’ll have the chance to get on their soap box when they write their own opinion columns employing some exciting persuasive devices to convince the reader of their views.
Students then move onto the exploration of different cultures and societies, using poems from other cultures as stimuli.
In term 3, students will conduct an investigation of William Shakespeare and explore the context surrounding his plays and how the themes are relevant to today.
Year 8 finish the year off with some spooky stories, including: ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ and: ‘The Red Room’. They’ll also have the chance to write their own, paying careful attention to how they structure their stories for maximum spooky effect.
All Key Stage 3 classes have a reading lesson in the library during their English lesson. Selected classes also take part in the Accelerated Reader programme.
Key Stage 4 English at Regents Park
At Regents Park our Key Stage 4 curriculum starts in Year 9. This allows students to really immerse themselves in the skills required for success at GCSE. All students follow the Edexcel curriculum for both Language and Literature.
Students start off the year with a unit studying unseen poetry which aims to teach them the skills required to respond to any poem that may be thrown at them in their English Literature exam. They are assessed using GCSE criteria.
In the second half term, students move onto film studies and are taught how to effectively evaluate the success of a range of short films. This teaches them the language of evaluation and how to analyse the effectiveness of any text.
Term 2 opens with the study of Victorian Literature and encourages students to engage with more complex fictional extracts, helping to prepare them for the rigour of GCSE texts.
Transactional writing is then explored through the study of a selection of non-fiction texts, centred around the theme of equality.
The final term sees the study of Romeo and Juliet: including a detailed exploration of the context of Shakespeare’s plays; a thorough examination of the main characters and key themes. The aim of this unit is to equip students with the skills and knowledge to respond to questions based on a range of extracts in the play.
Students begin the year with the study of a post-1914 text. Our department currently teach either Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ or J.B Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’.
Anthology poetry is then studied with a choice of thematic clusters and students will really delve deep into the effects of language, structure and form.
Transactional writing is then revisited with a focus on finely honing writing skills in preparation for examination writing tasks.
Students will also spend some time planning and delivering a presentation for the spoken language endorsement which is a certificate awarded alongside the GCSE. This is important in continuing to build students’ confidence and independence.
Moving onto term 2, students will delve into their creative sides in the study of developing their imaginative writing skills, using an assortment of exciting stimuli to engage them.
19th Century fiction will be the focus of the next unit with students responding to exam style tasks based on a selection of appropriately pitched texts.