English Curriculum Intent
Our curriculum intends to enable students to:
- read a wide range of texts, fluently and with good understanding
- read critically, and use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing
- write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately
- use grammar correctly, punctuate and spell accurately
- acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology, and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
- listen to and understand spoken language, and use spoken Standard English effectively.
Through literature, students have a chance to develop culturally and acquire knowledge of the best that has been thought and written. Our curriculum intends to enable students to:
- read a wide range of classic literature fluently and with good understanding, and make connections across their reading
- read in depth, critically and evaluatively, so that they are able to discuss and explain their understanding and ideas
- develop the habit of reading widely and often
- appreciate the depth and power of the English literary heritage
- write accurately, effectively and analytically about their reading, using Standard English
- acquire and use a wide vocabulary, including the grammatical terminology and other literary and linguistic terms they need to criticise and analyse what they read.
We aim to develop Language and Literature 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 their best.
Each room is fitted with an interactive white board, networked computer and projector
The department has access to computer rooms and makes regular use of Ipads throughout lessons.
Extra Curricular Opportunities
Students are offered extra-curricular opportunities at lunch time which include:
- The Blenheim Book Club (open to all)
- The Blenheim Chronicles - Student Newspaper (open to all)
- Key Stage 4 Literature club
- Facilitation of the Young Writers’ Competition whereby students are given the opportunity to be published
Extended day sessions are arranged for students in year 11 and 13 throughout the week.
Theatre trips, university lecturer visits and visiting productions of novels are all part of the English curriculum.
Ways families can help support
Parents can support in a number of different ways. In particular the following will really support your child in their learning:
- Completing 2 Bedrock lessons online a week
- Reading at home daily
- Researching the context of the studied texts and their writers
- Practising spelling and revising grammatical terminology with students
- Ensuring homework is completed
The video below aims to provide parents with some useful strategies when reading with their child, develop their child’s literacy skills and help foster a love for reading.
Years 7 and 8
Students cover and repeat key English skills through increasing levels of difficulty from Year 7-8. All classes cover a novel, writing and reading skills, poetry, non-fiction, a literary heritage play and a Shakespeare play.
All Key Stage 3 schemes of work are specifically planned to prepare students for GCSE study whilst encouraging a love and enthusiasm of literature alongside the creativity of language. The curriculum also covers topics and writers from a range of historical periods and cultures to ensure that students receive well-rounded exposure to a wide variety of texts.
Literacy lessons are explicitly built into the Key Stage 3 curriculum so that students can develop their knowledge of spelling strategies, varied punctuation and grammar rules. Students in Year 7 and 8 also have timetable sessions where they can visit the Library and engage in independent reading tasks to further their love of reading.
Students follow the National Curriculum for Key Stage 3 in Years 7 and 8.
Students will study:
Year 7 (Thematic Study):
Hours taught per fortnight: 8
Autumn Term: Facing Fears: War poetry and non-fiction writing
Spring Term: The Supernatural: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (play adaptation) and Shakespeare’s Macbeth
Summer Term: Telling Tales: A class novel: Coraline by Neil Gaiman and Gothic creative writing
Hours taught per fortnight: 8
Autumn Term 1.1: Poetry from other Cultures
Autumn Term 1.2: Myths and Legends
Spring Term 2.1: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (play adaptation)
Spring Term 2.2: Shakespeare’s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Summer Term 3.1: A class novel: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Summer Term 3:2 Literary Heritage: A Journey Through the Victorian Era
What skills students develop
Students in Year 7 and 8 have a fortnightly Literacy lesson where they can develop their reading skills and become familiar with a broad range of reading materials. We encourage students to use the library regularly in their own time to read for pleasure as well as in lesson. As a welcome gift to Year 7 students and to encourage them to participate in reading for pleasure, a free novel is offered to students through the Bookbuzz scheme.
Across Key Stage 3, students are taught a range of reading skills including skimming and scanning for information and annotation and summary skills. Every year we study a challenging whole-class novel, play and poetry where students are provided the opportunity to analyse writer’s intentions, develop their analytical and essay writing skills, learn to identify, and comment on the effect of the writer’s choices and consider the wider historical context. With a view to prepare our students for Key Stage 4 and independent learning, it is pivotal that reading for meaning is at the core of our teaching.
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 that fit into real-life contexts as well as meeting the demands of the GCSE exams. This includes a variety of creative tasks including narrative, description and poetry as well as non-fictional writing including reports, letters and speeches.
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, listen for nuances of meaning 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 GCSE grade in the termly Key Assessments. Homework and classwork is linked to the National Curriculum and the GCSE Assessment Objectives to build seamlessly into Key Stage 4.
Students will sit one Key Assessment at the end of every half term to demonstrate their knowledge of the skills and content taught in the unit of work. One Tri Weekly quiz will also be completed once every full term as a way of recapping prior learning. Feedback for these assessments is given and time to reflect on and improve assessments is built into each unit of work.
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
- take part in activities which will enrich their experience of English
- Homework is set weekly and consists of 2 Bedrock lessons and a spelling test every fortnight
- Teachers follow the homework timetable but may need to supplement this with homeworks relating to preparations for Tri Weekly tests or Key Assessments
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. Using Showbie, Show My Homework and Bedrock are also excellent ways to stay involved with your child’s learning and to support them with their homework.
- Theatre visits
- Author Visits
- Visits to museums/libraries
- The Blenheim Book Club
- The Blenheim Chronicles – Student Newspaper
KS4 English Language and Literature GCSEs
Board and Exam
- AQA GCSE English Language
- AQA GCSE English Literature
- AQA Spoken Language
The English Language, English Literature and Spoken Language 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 enables students to think critically about spoken and written English.
The course focuses a mixture of fiction and non-fiction readings. Students are asked to skim and scan; analyse language and structure; evaluate a statement and compare to texts. In addition, students will have the opportunity explore creative and discursive writing.
All assessments are closed book: students will study Romeo and Juliet, A Christmas Carol, An Inspector Calls and their Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology. Students will need to demonstrate their ability to write in detail about extracts of texts and then write about texts as a whole.
The aim of the assessment is to allow students to demonstrate their speaking and listening skills by planning and performing a formal presentation.
What skills students develop
- 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
Explorations in creative reading and writing.
50% of the
Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives.
50% of the
Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel.
40% of the
Modern texts and poetry.
60% of the
Spelling, Bedrock and GCSEPod homework will be set fortnightly in order to encourage students work on essential Literacy 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.
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. KS4 Literature Club running weekly and gives the students opportunities to dive into books and discuss with other like-minded students.