English

Staffing

Mrs S C Cooke – Head of English
Mrs R Parker – 2nd in English
Mr P Buckland
Mr A Frost
Mr A Lambert
Mrs E Inman
Miss P Reeves

 

Department Overview

The English department at QEGs believe in the importance of English as a subject where you learn the building blocks of written and spoken communication, helping to enable success across the curriculum as well as developing essential skills for later life. We also believe that introducing students to inspirational literature, encouraging them to emotionally connect and empathise, to think critically and justify their opinions, to build a robust knowledge of their literary heritage and to give them the opportunity to express themselves creatively is all an essential part of the subject. We also put reading at the heart of our curriculum.

The Key Stage 3 Curriculum

Our Key Stage 3 programme of study is structured to be cumulative, so that skills and key concepts are built on and re-visited over time with increasing depth, independence, and sophistication within a vertical curriculum. Most strands have an overall reading or writing focus, but we also blend the two to ensure students write like readers and read like writers.

Literary Heritage

Narrative and Story Telling

Shakespeare

Oracy

Non-fiction

Classic Texts

Spelling, punctuation, grammar and vocabulary building

Students are always expected to have an independent reading book with them.


 

Key Stage 4 – GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature

We run a spaced learning curriculum at KS4, meaning that students study for two separate GCSEs (Language and Literature) concurrently and that although the units are taught in larger blocks, the material is covered relatively quickly and then revisited frequently throughout the two years. The idea with spaced curriculums is to maximise memory retention, keeping all skills and knowledge ‘fresh’. We follow the Edexcel specification.

Why study English Language?

English Language is a core subject which is studied by all students for GCSE. English is invaluable for the future no matter what students are aiming for. A good command of the spoken and written word will help students every day and benefit their other GCSEs too. The course challenges the students’ opinions, exercises their creativity and gives them the opportunity to encounter a wide variety of text types.

Features of the course:

English language is a linear course, examined at the end of Year 11, with no coursework element. Each examination tests reading and writing skills. Spelling, punctuation and grammar is worth 20% of the overall mark. In the first examination students are assessed on their reading in the form of comprehension questions based on an unseen 19th century fiction extract. There is also an imaginative writing task linked by theme to the reading extract. The second examination tests the ability to understand non-fiction texts. There is also a functional writing task in this part of the assessment, again linked by theme to the reading section. There is a spoken language element where individuals have to give a presentation on a topic of their choosing to a small group of students. The current Year 9 English course provides a good grounding for this subject.

Enrichment:

The department runs a creative writing club. This helps students experiment with different styles and genre as well as develop their own ‘voice’. The members of the club are currently producing a short story anthology   which they hope to get published. Working with the library writers frequently come into school and run workshops with groups of students.

What opportunities for progression does it offer?

Success in either English language and English literature is often essential for progression onto Sixth Form, college or work.  English is good for any job that involves communication and writing. Careers in the sciences, engineering, technology and maths also often need English.

Topics for Study: Imaginative and transactional writing; nineteenth century fiction; and comparison of twentieth and twenty-first century non-fiction texts.

Assessment summary: 1 x 1 hour 45 minutes examination (40%) and 1 x 2 hour 5 minute examination (60%).

Exam Board: Pearson/Edexcel

Subject lead contact details: Mrs S Cooke SCooke@qegs.cumbria.sch.uk

 

Why study English Literature?

English Literature is a core subject which is studied by all students for GCSE. English literature develops knowledge and skills in reading, writing and critical thinking. Through literature, students have a chance to develop culturally and acquire knowledge of some of the best things that have been thought and written. The course develops students’ analytical skills and their ability to write fluently and structure an essay. Studying GCSE English literature will hopefully encourage students to read widely for pleasure, and is excellent preparation for studying literature at a higher level.

Features of the course:

English literature is a linear course, examined at the end of Year 11, with no coursework element.

In the first examination there is a two-part question on a Shakespeare play and a further question on a post 1914 British play or novel.

In the second examination students are assessed on their knowledge of a 19th century novel and their personal response to a wide range of poetry, both studied and unseen.

No books / texts are allowed into the examinations.

The current Year 9 English course provides a good grounding for this subject.

Enrichment:

Every year the English department run theatre trips to see our GCSE set texts in performance. We also run frequent cinema trips to see live screenings of performances further afield or host the RSC school screenings in school. In the past actors from the RSC have come in to school to run Shakespeare workshops on Macbeth. The department runs a popular Cakespeare society where students read the bard whilst eating cake!  The department has also recently resurrected the Bleamire medal, a Shakespearian sonnet writing competition open to all year groups.

What opportunities for progression does it offer?

English literature is widely recognised as an essential part of an academic and balanced curriculum. Not only will it develop skills that are useful to your other GCSEs but alongside English language it is seen as essential for progression onto A-Levels, college courses and the world of work. At A-Level it is a facilitating subject, allowing access to some of the top universities in the country.

Topics for Study: Shakespeare play; post 1914 British play or novel; and 19th century novel; classical and modern poetry.

Assessment summary: 1 x 1 hour 45 minutes examination (50%) and 1 x 2 hour 15 minutes examination (50%).

Exam Board: Pearson/Edexcel

Subject lead contact details: Mrs S Cooke SCooke@qegs.cumbria.sch.uk


 

Key Stage 5 – A level English Language and A Level English Literature

At Sixth Form we offer two A Levels: Language (OCR) and Literature (Edexcel). Both subjects build on the skills that students have developed at GCSE. In Language students engage creatively and critically with a wide range of texts and discourses. It is a very relevant subject, reflecting the world in which we live. English Literature is a course which appeals to readers. Students will be introduced to varied literature in class and will be expected to read widely independently. They will develop and apply their skills of literary analysis and evaluation throughout the course.

Why study English Language?

The skills required for English language can be applied in a range of contexts and future careers. The ability to analyse English language and construct a written argument is invaluable to communicate effectively and relate to others.

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking this course?

Students need to have a good understanding of the work covered at GCSE level in English language. They should have an interest in how language is constructed and a desire to learn more. As the subject is very current, an interest in how language operates in the world is essential and students who supplement their studies with wider reading are at a strong advantage.

Features of the course:

A Level English Language is in many ways quite different to GCSE. Although you still analyse non-literary texts (websites, leaflets, newspaper articles etc.), you learn to do this in a much more technical way, learning about grammar and the semantics of words. The spoken word is also studied. We study topics about how and why our language changes; how children learn to communicate; and why there are regional and social differences in speech. Important issues are explored such as how language is important when considering gender, power and technology.

There is a creative writing element where you produce a text in a given format about a current topical issue in English Language, written in a lively journalistic style.

Finally, you will complete an independent study (coursework), investigating an area of language study that interests you.

Topics for study: Language Under the Microscope; Topical Language Issues; Spoken Language; Child’s Language Acquisition; The Language of Power, Gender and Technology; Language Change; and Independent Study and Academic Poster.

Assessment Summary: Paper 1 – Exploring Language – 2 hours and 30 minutes – 40%

Paper 2 – Dimensions of Linguistic Variations – 2 hours 30 minutes – 40%

Independent Language Research – 20%

Entry Requirements: Grade 6 in GCSE English Language

Exam Board: OCR

Subject lead contact details: Mrs S Cooke SCooke@qegs.cumbria.sch.uk

 

Why study English Literature?

English literature is an enjoyable and challenging subject for students who enjoy reading, talking and writing about a variety of texts, ranging from some of the earliest writers in the English canon, to contemporary texts written in the last few years. Teachers choose to teach poems, plays and novels that they are passionate about and there is also the opportunity for students to choose their own texts for independent study. The course will appeal to those who enjoy expressing their own opinions and developing independent ideas.

As well as for students who are already committed to the study of English at university, it is also an ideal choice for pupils who want to keep their options open for further study, being formally listed as a facilitating subject for Russell Group Universities.

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking this course?

Students need to have a good understanding of the work covered at GCSE level in English literature. They should have an interest in analysing literature from a range of genres. Wider reading is essential for success on this course.

Features of the course:

Lessons tend to be largely discussion based, as this is a subject that thrives on lively debate and a willingness to defend and challenge ideas. Outside of lessons, work tends to focus on independent reading and essay writing. The English department organises frequent theatre trips to complement the works being studied.

The ability to read critically and discerningly, to produce accurate, persuasive writing and to have confidence in one’s own judgements are clearly invaluable skills.

The drama texts will include one Shakespeare text and one other text (contemporary or pre 1900).

The two prose texts will be from a chosen theme such as science and society, the supernatural, crime and detection, childhood or colonisation and its aftermath.

A selection of post-2000 poetry and specified poetry from a literary period will be studied.

Topics for study: Component 1: Drama (30%); Component 2: Prose (20%); Component 3: Poetry (30%); and Component 4: Coursework (20%).

Assessment summary: 1. 1 x 2 hour 15 minutes open book examination (30%)

2. 1 x 1 hour 15 minutes open book examination (20%)

3. 1 x 2 hour 15 minutes open book examination (30%)

4. 1 x 2500-3500 words coursework (20%)

Entry requirements: Grade 6 in GCSE English Language and Literature

Exam Board: Edexcel

Subject lead contact details: Mrs S Cooke SCooke@qegs.cumbria.sch.uk


 

Careers Education

We run a successful Oxbridge programme with students having gained places for the last 5 consecutive years.


 

Extra-Curricular Offer

A creative writing club is offered in KS3 and 4 and there is a separate group for sixth formers. There is also our Cakespeare Society, where you will find staff and students reading Shakespeare whilst gorging on cake! We regularly enter the National Poetry by Heart competition and have made it to the national finals on two occasions. We also run The Blenheim Medal sonnet writing competition. The Debating Society is coordinated through the English Department too. We arrange theatre trips for set texts and for pleasure. On occasion we bring theatre companies into school, for example the Royal Shakespeare Company ran workshops at GCSE for Macbeth. We make full use of the streaming of live theatre in school as part of Shakespeare for Schools Live and at the Alhambra cinema. In Year 9, during activity week, we take students to London for a residential theatre experience, going to a West End show. We also have a tour, take part in a performance workshop and watch a Shakespeare play at The Globe Theatre.