English

Mission Statement

The English curriculum at TGAS is primarily designed in order to help our students become confident readers, writers and speakers. We want all young people to be given the same opportunity to build the essential personal skills to succeed in the wider world and use the subject of English as the vehicle to encourage this skill development.

Not only do we hope to build skills, but we also aim to significantly contribute to the personal development of all of the students we meet in our classrooms. Literature can offer a gateway into an infinite number of perspectives and through the forms of prose, drama and poetry we aim to help students learn about the wider world they live in from a range of sources. We aim to develop knowledge of the way that people live in a range of societies from around the world. In order to allow students to consider a balanced understanding of human existence, we will provide student with literary sources from a range of historical time periods and from writers who can offer different perspectives on gender, race, ethnic backgrounds in order to help young people consider how voices that have sometimes been marginalised can hold powerful messages. By the time students reach year 11, we hope that they fully understand the power of language in the form of reading, writing and speaking.

The Four Pillars

Skill

We want all of our pupils to have the ability to read and write confidently, so that they can express themselves with clarity. We want pupils to have the necessary language tools to be able to appreciate the written word of others and to be able to use the written word to empower themselves.

Character 

We want pupils to be competent readers. Reading will open doors for pupils to develop their character as it will allow them to express themselves. We want pupils to develop confidence because they have the language to articulate their ideas and opinions about literature and the world around them.

Experiences 

Pupils will have the opportunity to engage critically with writers from a range of periods in history and experience the world through others’ eyes. They will read texts of their own choosing for pleasure, not only to develop a love of reading, but to encourage mindfulness. We want all pupils, having engaged with authors’ ideas, to take on a narrative voice and create their own descriptive pieces. Finally, pupils will express the views and understanding they have developed.

Criticality

English will develop pupils’ ability to think critically about the world around them and the written word. This study will encourage them to understand the human experience and themselves. English will encourage pupils to understand who they are and to develop emotional intelligence, so that they can articulate their own thoughts and feelings and also understand the thoughts and feelings of others.

Overview of Year 7 and 8

The KS3 Curriculum at TGAS is primarily designed in order to introduce our students to the fundamental skills that young people must develop in English in order to help them succeed in their school lives and beyond. Our mission is to ensure that all young people are given an equal opportunity to build not only academic proficiency but also use English as a vehicle to develop a moral and ethical consciousness. Below is a brief outline of what we hope each young person can confidently demonstrate when they complete years 7 and 8 and move through to year 9.

Reading:

  • Experience and explore concepts in relation to a wide range of literature
  • Begin to develop a personal opinion in response to a wide range of literature
  • Begin to develop a critical response to pieces of literature showing some independence

Writing:

  • Begin to develop an understanding of more sophisticated elements of written English including using vocabulary, punctuation and sentence structures for effect
  • Demonstrate the ability to write in different genres and for different purposes

Speaking:

  • Begin to build confidence when speaking in front of an audience using appropriate vocabulary and relevant presentation skills useful in the world beyond the classroom.

Year 7 Units of Study

  • Modern novel study – ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ by John Boyne
  • Writing to narrate – Adventure narratives
  • Identity poetry study – Poetry from a range of cultures and backgrounds
  • Writing to persuade – Does the modern-day media industry encourage bad behaviour from young people?
  • Shakespeare study – An introduction to Shakespearean theatre
  • Units to encourage reading for pleasure

Year 8 Units of Study

  • An introduction to Victorian literature – Sherlock Holmes
  • Writing to persuade – Review writing
  • Exploration of genre in literature – Dystopian literature
  • Writing to describe – Writing dystopian literature
  • Modern play study – ‘The Crucible’ by Arthur Miller
  • Units to encourage reading for pleasure

Parents can find more information on the specific topics covered in each unit by looking at the ‘Department Intent’ and ‘Reading & Writing Fundamentals’ sheets that are stuck into the front of students’ books at the start of each unit of work.

Useful Year 7 and 8 Websites and Resources

Overview of Year 9

At TGAS we have constructed a year 9 curriculum that aims to stretch beyond year 7 and 8 skills and introduce the key concepts that will help our students become confident readers, writers and speakers at GCSE level and beyond. We want year 9 to allow our students to explore a new level of depth and sophistication in relation to the topics they learn to ensure they are well prepared for GCSE and beyond. Below is an outline of what we hope each young person can confidently demonstrate when they have completed the year 9 curriculum.

Reading:

  • Begin to form independent and critical responses to texts
  • Begin to articulate justified arguments in response to texts in extended responses
  • Begin to understand the relationship between historical/social contexts and literary sources
  • Begin to understand that a literary text is always constructed for a purpose

Writing:

  • Demonstrate a developing grasp of written English including confident use of vocabulary, punctuation and sentence structures for effect
  • Demonstrate developing confidence when writing in different genres and for different purposes

Speaking:

  • Demonstrate confidence when speaking in front of an audience using developing vocabulary and relevant presentation skills useful in the working world.

Year 9 Units of Study

  • Prose study – ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck
  • Writing to describe – Using an image to inspire a piece of original writing
  • Shakespeare study – ‘Romeo and Juliet’
  • Writing to persuade – Responding to a statement in order to construct an argument
  • Poetry study – Exploration of how poetry discusses the theme of war

Parents can find more information on the specific topics covered in each unit by looking at the ‘Department Intent’ and ‘Unit Knowledge’ summary sheets that are stuck into the front of students’ books at the start of each unit of work.

What else can students do to help prepare themselves for GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature?

By far the most effective way of improving student performance across both English Language and English Literature is to read extensively at home. Reading a wide variety of texts for pleasure is highly recommended. Here are some suggestions to coincide with students’ year 9 studies:

To read alongside ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck – these texts all deal with the theme of displacement:

A Country to Call Home by Lucy Popescu (ed) An anthology full of powerful insights into the lives of refugees and asylum seekers compelled to leave home, and their fearful feelings about an uncertain future.

No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen Felix has to hide from his friends and teachers the fact that he and his mum are living in a van until his scheme to win money pays off.

The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews Sam and his autistic brother, Avery, have to break into empty houses to have shelter. What happens when a family returns home unexpectedly?

Toffee by Sarah Crossan Marla has dementia and Allison has run away from home. Brought together by chance, how will they impact each others’ lives?

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson The story is about Jim, a young boy who goes in search of treasure after finding a treasure map. Jim faces shipwreck, a pirate mutiny, and sword fights.

To read alongside ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare – on the theme of love:

Frankly in Love by David Yoon Two Korean teenagers are living in America, pretending to date each other to please their parents, while secretly in love with other people.

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love.

Holes by Louis Sachar Sent by mistake to a juvenile correction centre, Stanley wants to know why they have to dig a hole every day – is it just character building?

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta Michael is coming to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen – will he have the confidence to become The Black Flamingo?

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Mr and Mrs Bennet have five unmarried daughters who they would like to match with eligible men but it does not run smoothly!

To read alongside mythology, on the theme of challenging power:

Who Let The Gods Out? By Maz Evans Elliot teams up with Olympian gods when he and the zodiac Virgo accidentally released the sleep daemon from his prison.

A Change Is Gonna Come by Tanya Byrne and Darren Chetty (ed) An anthology of stories and poetry from BAME writers on the theme of change.

Nothing But The Truth by Dick Lehr A girl fights for justice for her father who is serving life without parole for a murder he didn’t commit…

1984 by George Orwell Winston Smith struggles with oppression in Oceania, a place where the Party scrutinizes human actions with ever-watchful Big Brother.

Lord of Rings by J. R. R. Tolkein Sauron, the Dark Lord, wants to enslave Middle-earth. All he lacks is the One Ring – the ring that rules them all, which Frodo, the hobbit, must protect and destroy.

Overview of Years 10 & 11

The KS4 curriculum at TGAS is primarily designed in order to help our students become confident readers, writers and speakers. We want all young people to be given the same opportunity to build the essential personal skills to succeed in the wider world and use the subject of English as the vehicle to this skill development. Below is an outline of what we hope each young person can confidently demonstrate when they leave KS4 at the end of year 11.

Reading:

  • Form independent and critical responses to texts
  • Articulate clearly justified arguments in response to texts in extended responses
  • Understand the relationship between historical/social contexts and literary sources
  • Understand that a literary text is always constructed for a purpose

Writing:

  • Demonstrate a strong grasp of written English including using vocabulary, punctuation and sentence structures for effect
  • Demonstrate confidence when writing in different genres and for different purposes

Speaking:

  • Demonstrate confidence when speaking in front of an audience using mature vocabulary and relevant presentation skills useful in the working world.

GCSE English Literature

Paper One (Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel)

  • 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 40% of total marks
  • 2 sections (‘Macbeth’ and ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’)
  • Same approach for both sections – extract to analyse and reference to whole text

Paper Two (Modern Texts and Poetry)

  • 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • 60% of total marks
  • 3 sections (‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘Power and Conflict Poetry’, ‘Unseen Poetry’)

We follow the AQA specification at GCSE. A comprehensive overview of the GCSE course curriculum can be accessed here: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse/english-literature-8702

GCSE English Language

Paper One (Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing)

  • 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Section A – 40 marks for reading (25%), 4 Questions
  • Section B – 40 marks for writing (25%), 1 Question

Paper Two (Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives)

  • 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Section A – 40 marks for reading (25%), 4 Questions
  • Section B – 40 marks for writing (25%), 1 Question

Non-examination Assessment: Spoken Language

  • Spoken presentation to an audience
  • Responding to questions and feedback
  • Assessed on use of standard English

We follow the AQA specification at GCSE. A comprehensive overview of the GCSE course curriculum can be accessed here: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse/english-language-8700

Useful GCSE Websites and Resources

GCSE English Literature

Set Texts (Available to purchase from school)

  • ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson (ISBN: 9781906101374)
  • ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare (ISBN:9780198324003)
  • ‘An Inspector Calls’ by JB Priestley (ISBN:9780435232825)

Revision Guides (Available to purchase from school)

  • Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde – York Notes (ISBN:9781447982180)
  • Macbeth – York Notes (ISBN:9781447982203)
  • An Inspector Calls – York Notes (ISBN:9781447982166)
  • Power and Conflict Poetry – York Notes (ISBN:9781292230313)
  • Unseen Poetry (Book 1 and 2) – CGP (ISBN:9781782943648)

Paper 1

Macbeth:

 Jekyll and Hyde:

Paper 2

An Inspector Calls:

 Conflict Poetry:

 Unseen Poetry:

GCSE English Language

Revision Guides (Available to purchase from school)

English Language Practice Paper Pack – CGP (ISBN: 9781782944126)

General

Paper 1 – Section A: Literary Fiction

Paper 2 – Section A: Non Fiction

Paper 1 & Paper 2 – Section B: Writing

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

The English department aims to provide a variety of extra-curricular opportunities to students. In the past, this has included visits from key speakers such as famous novelists and poets. The department also facilitates entrance to national essay writing and creative writing competitions, as well as trips to key literary sites such as Stratford Upon Avon and a variety of theatres around the country. Every year, the department also endeavours to organise a range of theatre trips to help students access live performances of drama.