Creativity should be the core of the curriculum, and, in English, that is very much what we intend to deliver. An understanding of how all texts work – fiction and non-fiction – gives the student the skill set necessary to critically approach any text they face whether it is written or media.
ASSESSMENT AT BOTH KEY STAGE 3 & 4
Within English, assessment of students’ work is done on the 9-1 GCSE grading system. This system is used at both Key Stages. This approach to assessment allows teachers to tailor their teaching to individual skills that students need to develop or further embed.
The subject has been divided into a number of English Objectives that cover the key skills students need to develop at KS3 and the ones they will be assessed at for GCSE. The English Objectives are:
EO1 Infer and Interpret
EO2 Analysis of texts read (both fiction and non-fiction)
EO3 Comparison of texts (used more at GCSE than KS3)
EO4 Social/Cultural/Historical background (used more at GCSE than KS3)
EO5 Vocabulary choices
EO6 Accuracy and Control of writing
EO7 Writer’s Style – developing one through analysis of other writers as well as own writing.
EO8 Organisation of texts and the ideas within them.
EO9 Creative Writing
EO10 Transactional Writing – argument and persuasion
EO11 Literary Essay
Speaking and Listening:
EO12 Speaking and Listening.
English Objectives 1-8 and 12 form the basis of the Learning Ladders used to assess progress at both Key Stages. Objectives 9 & 10 are covered through the writing objectives and Objective 11 is covered through the reading objectives – to assess these in any greater detail would be to repeat the skills covered elsewhere.
KEY STAGE 3
The elements that make up the curriculum for Key Stage Three students seek to follow a similar path to that of a mainstream school, so that when students move on and, hopefully, back into mainstream, their diet of English studies is similar to that of the school to which they move.
The curriculum at Key Stage 3 focuses on developing understanding and critical analysis of different texts. It aims to extend students’ understanding and experience of literature. The year opens with a study of myth through the tales of Ovid or the adventures of Odysseus. Students go on to explore a pre-1914 text (either ‘A Christmas Carol’ or some of the ‘Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’. No English course is complete without exploring the work of our greatest writer, Shakespeare, and students explore a play during the spring term. English is not just about understanding how the written word works and seeks to persuade us, it is also about the moving image and students will complete a short unit of work that explore the concepts behind the advertising of a major company, like Coca-Cola and analyse how the advertising gets its message across and seeks to manipulate the viewer. The year finishes with a study of a modern novel like ‘Of Mice and Men’. Great literature is great literature and deserves to be studied and now that this novel is no longer on the GCSE specifications, it makes sense to get students ready for the rigours of GCSE analysis with this short, accessible and well-written text.
KEY STAGE 4
There are three strands to what the English Department delivers at the Short Stay School.
1 Functional Skills at Level 1 (Pearson/Edexcel)
2 GCSE English Literature teaching (AQA – but texts are similar to other exam boards)
3 GCSE English Language. (AQA – skills are very similar to other exam boards.
It is our intention that all students who are with us during the latter half of Year 10, complete the Functional Skills examination at Level 1. Those students who find English difficult, may first be entered for one of the Entry Level Certificates and then, hopefully, progress onto to Level 1 Functional Skills.
To challenge students, and to keep them up with their peers in mainstream, we are introducing the teaching of core elements of the GCSE English Literature examination from September 2017. By teaching the most common texts that cross over between exam boards, it should be possible for any student who re-integrates to mainstream to pick up English Literature in Year 10 or even Year 11.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is GCSE English Language. This is the focus of study for students who are with us for Year 11 and builds on some of the skills students will have learned about while studying for the Functional Skills exam. The exam consists of analysing unseen fiction and non-fiction (including pre-1900 texts) and writing both creatively and to persuade/argue/advise. A broad outline Programme of Study is available on the website.
Our aim is to ensure that all students are given the opportunity to leave the Short Stay School with a qualification in English that can be used to access further education or training.
Head of English