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The intrinsic vision of the English department is to secure a lifelong appreciation of literature for our students and to develop their ability to harness the power of language.

The curriculum at KS3 is focused on encouraging creativity, confidence and collaboration in pursuit of independence and resilience at KS4 and beyond.

As a collaborative department, we place emphasis on co-planning outstanding lessons to consistently deliver excellence across the curriculum. Every teacher in the department is a reader and we encourage our students to become readers too; recognising the power that reading has when it comes to improving attainment across all subject areas and not just in English.

Key Stage 3 

At KS3, students follow a thematic curriculum designed as a pathway to success when students leave Banovallum School at the end of Year 11.

With this in mind, we have developed a curriculum that focuses on the ‘bigger picture’ and develops students’ skills from the outset. We challenge our Year 7 students with poetry when they join us in September and they leave Year 9 having studied a thorough reading skills scheme of work on the theme of ‘Dystopia’ to prepare them for the demands of the English Language and Literature GCSEs.

In addition to their in-class study and independent learning at home, all students are expected to read a range of fiction and non-fiction texts on a regular basis and complete their reading log with a parent or carer at home.   

Year 7

Students have four hour-long English lessons per week with one lesson in the ICT suite to enable students to access Achieve3000, a reading improvement programme. To consolidate learning at KS2, emphasis is placed on the explicit teaching of grammar, spelling and punctuation throughout all lessons.

Some of the key themes we cover in Year 7 are:

  • Being Me – a study of poetry from other cultures;
  • It’s Christmas – a study of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol;
  • Monsters – a study of a range of texts, including non-fiction;
  • Shakespeare – including A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Year 8

Students have three hour-long English lessons and the work on consolidating key grammatical concepts continues. The level of challenge continues to rise for all students, enabling them to build on the excellent foundations laid in Year 7. 

Some of the key themes we cover in Year 8 are:

  • Detectives – a study of The Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle with a focus on the detective genre through the ages;
  • Romanticism – a study of poetry from Blake, Wordsworth and Keats;
  • Freedom – a study of political speeches and rhetoric through the ages;
  • Shakespeare – a study of heroes and villains in plays including Macbeth and Othello.

Year 9

Students have three hour-long English lessons a week and, in their final year before embarking on their GCSEs, we aim to continue developing students’ passion for English, alongside preparing them for the demands of the GCSE courses. Students have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by working as a team to host the Ghost Walks and play a leading part in the development of the Banovallum School Shakespeare Festival.

Some of the key themes we cover in Year 9 are:

  • Gothic – a study of gothic fiction and creative writing;
  • Conflict – a study of poetry across the ages;
  • Dystopia – a study of 20th Century Literature texts;
  • Shakespeare – a study of Romeo and Juliet.

Key Stage 4 

At Key Stage 4, we follow the EDUQAS specifications for English Language and English Literature, leading to the award of two GCSEs at the end of Year 11.

Students have four hour-long English lessons a week and are expected to carry out independent study at home to enable them to prepare for their examinations. There is a focus on building and developing resilience and independence and we use the Library to provide opportunities for our students to build the repertoire of skills needed for independence.

Examination Support 

Students will sit all of their examinations at the end of Year 11 and have the opportunity to sit mock exams at Christmas and in March, to enable us to track progress and determine where any additional support may be required in the run up to the final exams.

This also provides students with an opportunity to practise their time management skills: key to success in English as well as in other subjects.

As part of the English Language course, there is a Spoken Language unit and students carry out a presentation with questions and answers. A separate grade is awarded for this element of the course.

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