Blenheim English Department aims to provide a curriculum that enables students to become:
- Successful learners who enjoy learning, make progress and achieve
- Confident individuals who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives
- Responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society.
Students are encouraged to enjoy their English studies by a team of staff who provide lively, stimulating and interactive lessons to promote:-
- Cultural Understanding
- Critical Understanding
And develop a range of skills focusing on:-
- Speaking and listening
- Reading for meaning
- Writing for composition and technical accuracy
English teachers at Blenheim believe that English is vital for communicating with others in school and in the wider world, and is fundamental to learning in all curriculum subjects. In studying English, teachers promote the development of skills in speaking; listening, reading and writing that students will need to participate in society and employment. Students learn to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate with others confidently and effectively.
We also believe that Literature in English is rich and influential. It reflects the experiences of people from many countries and times and contributes to our sense of cultural identity. We encourage students to learn to become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama as well as non-fiction and media texts, gaining access to the pleasure and world of knowledge that reading offers.
Studying the patterns, structures, origins and conventions of English helps students understand how language works. Through the application of this understanding, students can choose and adapt what they say and write in different situations, as well as appreciate and interpret the choices made by other writers and speakers.
We aim to develop such skills through the provision of a progressive curriculum that is engaging, stimulating and builds on these skills cumulatively through planned modules that enable students to achieve of their best.
- The Department is centrally located in its own suite of rooms
- Each room is fitted with an interactive white board, networked computer and projector
- The department has its own team room with networked computers and a printer
- There is a `follow you` photocopier/printer located centrally in the English corridor linked to the network
- The department has a shared area on the computer network where schemes of work and electronic resources are stored.
- The department has a range of text and media resources
- The department has use of a well-resourced Library where students have access to the Star Reader programme to promote reading
- The department has access to computer rooms and a set of lap tops for use in lessons
A number of school visits are arranged throughout the course of the year. Details of trips which have taken place this year or are planned in the future can be viewed in the School Visits, Enrichment area of the website.
Years 7, 8, 9
At Key Stage 3, the English Department at Blenheim aim to develop students' knowledge, skills and widen their experiences through a diverse range of texts, teaching styles and activities. Students enjoy an extensive range of language and literature activities as set down in the National Curriculum guidelines.
As well as developing their basic skills, students can expect to explore the development of English through the ages, undertake some detailed study of interesting literary periods and read a wide range of literature. We are keen that our studies enable students to make links with the social, moral, spiritual and cultural issues explored by poets from different eras and cultures.
Students follow the National Curriculum for Key Stage 3 in Years 7, 8 and 9.
Students will study:
- Media and broadcasting
- Poetry and Language through Time
- Short Stories
- A class novel: Skellig or The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
- Drama – Frankenstein
- Literary Heritage
- A class novel – Private Peaceful or Holes
- Ballads – The Lady of Shalott
- Introduction to non-fiction
- Contemporary play – Salem or War Horse
- A class novel - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime or Refugee Boy
- Great Writers Poetry
- Gothic short stories
- Time capsule – Non-fiction writing across time
- Exam preparation – Analysing non-fiction
- Spoken Language – Preparing for GCSE
What skills students develop
Students in year 7 and 8 have a fortnightly reading lesson in the well-resourced library, where they can develop their reading skills and complete reading quizzes. Students are regularly given prizes and merits for developing good reading habits.
Across Key Stage 3, students are taught a range of reading skills including skimming and scanning for information; annotation and summary skills. Every year we study a challenging whole-class novel where we are able to develop our analytical and essay writing skills in preparation for Key Stage 4.
Students are taught the planning, note-taking, drafting and proof-reading skills vital for the whole curriculum and the world of work. Students are given stimulating and challenging tasks; the Year 9 Time capsule unit allows students to experiment with different text types in the context of key moments of history.
Speaking and Listening
Students are regularly given the chance to explore issues and ideas in English through discussion and talk. Students perform role-plays, talk in group and paired situations and carry out individual presentations in order to build the skills required for GCSE English Language.
Assessment and Feedback
The English department continually track individual progress in reading, writing, speaking and listening throughout the year and will also provide the student with a National Curriculum Level every term. Homework and classwork is linked to the Assessing Pupil Progress grid to ensure students are always focused on what they need to do to improve.
In English lessons at Blenheim, students will:
- use different dramatic approaches to explore texts and ideas
- analyse non-fiction texts including letters, newspapers, transcripts and leaflets
- develop and adapt active reading skills and strategies
- read a selection of extended texts examining language, characterisation and theme
- examine aspects of genre and form in poetry across the ages
- write their own texts – both fiction and non-fiction
- look at the evolution of language including the influence of technology
- enjoy a fortnightly reading lesson in the library
- take part in activities which will enrich their experience of English
- Homework is set weekly
- How parents can help
There are many ways in which you can help develop your child’s enthusiasm and build on their success in English. Ensuring that your child reads a range of both fiction and non-fiction will develop their vocabulary, reading skills and appreciation of different writing styles. Asking questions about their studies in English is another powerful tool to make young people realise that what they have learned is valuable both inside and outside the English classroom. Visiting museums, theatres and local libraries will enrich the breadth of their knowledge and understanding of English in the wider world.
Theatre visits and visits to museums
The Globe theatre and Stratford-upon-Avon
KS4 English (Students who commenced their course before September 2016)
GCSE Graded A*-G
Years 10 & 11
At Key Stage Four, the English department provide a challenging course for our GCSE students. All students take GCSEs in both English Language and English Literature; students develop their skills in reading, writing and speaking and listening as part of the syllabus. The courses we run are designed to prepare students for the challenges of the wider world by ensuring they develop their ability to communicate and understand information effectively.
Board and Exam Details
Students either follow the National Curriculum in the form of the OCR GCSE English Language and English Literature. Students will complete a number of course units in preparation for controlled assessments or exam preparation.
For English Language they complete three units:-
- Extended Literary text and Imaginative Writing controlled assessments
- Speaking, Listening and Spoken Language controlled assessments
- Information and Ideas written examination
For English Literature they complete four:-
- Literary Heritage Linked texts
- Modern Drama
- Prose from Different Cultures
- Literary Heritage Prose and Contemporary Poetry
The English Language course is challenging, providing students with the opportunity to study Spoken and Written Language. Students develop their ability to understand and analyse different types of texts, as well as creating their own. 60% of this course is exam based, 40% is written Controlled Assessment. Speaking and listening is assessed separately.
Students will study a range of novels, plays and poetry as part of their Literature GCSE. They also complete a piece of coursework based on a Shakespeare play and film version, as well as one on War poetry. 75% of this course is exam based and 25% is written controlled assessment.
- Of Mice and Men
- Lord of the Flies
- An Inspector Calls
- Romeo and Juliet
- Reflections anthology (provided by the exam board)
At Blenheim, students enjoy and succeed at GCSE English. This is reflected in the positive atmosphere in the English classrooms, as well as the high attendance at after school revision sessions in preparation for up-coming exams. It is also a regular occurrence to see GCSE students staying behind after school to complete and improve their work, showing the value and importance placed on this crucial subject.
Board and Exam Details
Students complete two exams as part of their English Language GCSE: ‘Explorations in creative reading and writing’ and ‘Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives’.
All texts in the examination will be unseen.
Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing
Section A: Reading
- Students read and respond to one unseen literature fiction text
Section B: Writing
- Students respond to a stimulus and undertake descriptive or narrative writing
Paper 2: Writers' Viewpoints and Perspectives
- Students read and respond to two unseen non-fiction texts
Section B: Writing
- Students respond to a stimulus and undertake writing to present a viewpoint
English Literature GCSE
Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel (40%)
Students study Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Students respond to an extract and whole-text question (closed book).
Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry (60%)
Students study Golding’s Lord of the Flies, The AQA poetry anthology and a range of unseen poetry.
The skills students develop
Students maintain good independent reading habits while their literary and analytical skills develop in sophistication through the study of a range of texts. Focus on non-fiction continues with emphasis on the recognition of writer`s craft in the use of language and form to match audience and purpose. Class reading includes Shakespeare, modern drama, poetry and prose in preparation for controlled assessment or examination.
Speaking and Listening
Students receive a qualification in Speaking and Listening, a key component valued by educational institutions and employers. Students will extend their ability to discuss increasingly more complex ideas and topics in both group and class discussion and role play and drama.
Students learn to express themselves in depth and detail throughout a range of styles and genres. Creative and analytical writing both become increasingly sophisticated in terms of structure, use of language and awareness of audience. Greater independence is gained in proofreading through the drafting process, as well as improved technique and confidence in response to work set under examination conditions.
How students are assessed
Self-assessment and peer assessment continue to feature in the development of English skills. Teachers monitor students on the basis of continuous assessment. Records are kept for reading and oral work while written assignments are responded to with positive and constructive comment.
Weekly homework both supports and extends the work set in class as well as the students’ independent reading.
How parents can help
Parents can support their son or daughter in English by encouraging them to read more in their own time, including non-fiction and more demanding fiction from the recommended GCSE reading list. Checking homework is completed and helping students to self-correct mistakes in the first drafts of their written assignments. Purchasing study guides for the set texts. Taking them to the theatre to see quality drama.
Theatre and museum visits.
KS4 English (Students who commenced their course after September 2016)
GCSE Graded 9-1
- GCSE English Language
- GCSE English Literature
- Speaking and Listening
The English Language, English Literature and Speaking and Listening qualifications encourage students to experience a broad range of fiction and non-fiction texts. Students will be exposed to challenging content including texts from the English literary heritage. The courses explore the uses of language in the media and will enable students to think critically about spoken and written English.
The course focuses on a range of imaginative tasks where students engage with creative texts and then create their own written response demonstrating their narrative and descriptive skills.
All assessments are closed book: students will study a Shakespeare play and a 19th-century novel and demonstrate their ability to write in detail about extracts of texts and then write about texts as a whole.
Speaking and Listening
The aim of the assessment is to allow students to demonstrate their speaking and listening skills by planning and performing a formal presentation and taking part in a debate using spoken Standard English.
The skills students develop:
The specification will enable candidates to:
- Express themselves powerfully and imaginatively;
- Engage critically with a range of texts;
- Use reading skills to develop their written work;
- Select and adapt writing for different purposes and audiences;
- Explore plays, poetry and prose
- Work collaboratively using iPad technology, presenting skills, drafting and planning skills
How students are assessed
Students are assessed through external linear assessment. The examinations will be in the summer term of Year 11.
An extended homework task is set once every week to consolidate the learning that occurs in the classroom and provides an opportunity for students to develop their reading, writing, research and analytical skills.
How parents can help
- Ensure adequate revision is taking place in preparation for written examination
- Encourage your child to spend quality time completing homework assignments
- Keep up to date with mock exam dates and revision schedules
- Encourage reading at home of both fiction and non-fiction texts
- Ensure students read and annotate their set texts at home
The team run a number of additional revision sessions for students to come and develop their English skills in a more informal context. Look out for a number of reading and writing competitions publicised throughout the year.