The English department is characterised by a strong sense of collaboration and enthusiasm for our subject and our students. It makes a major contribution to the life of the school as a whole in terms of both academic and creative achievements. We believe that all students can achieve their full potential in a supportive, positive and enjoyable environment.
The department's main aim is to achieve the highest possible standards for all of our students and in our classrooms every child really does matter. We maintain an inclusive ethos that is underpinned by a diverse and engaging curriculum for the students and a diverse teaching range for the teachers.
Every English classroom is fully resourced with an interactive whiteboard and projector. We enjoy an excellent working relationship with a very active and exciting school library and have incorporated formal links with the library in the curriculum provision at Key Stage 3. Interactive whiteboards and projectors are integrated into classroom practice as an invaluable resource for the modelling of responses to reading, writing, speaking and listening tasks. However, our most effective resource is a team of outstanding English teachers who are passionate about the subject and ensuring every student is supported to achieve their full potential.
Many members of the team are directly involved in leading workshops for a range of audiences. We continue to develop our skills and embrace opportunities to extend our practice through collaboration and training both within and outside of PHS.
The skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening underpin all our teaching and learning in English and it is through our innovative approaches to the development of these skills, that we are best able to prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century.
We hope that students will enjoy their work in English - we certainly do!
Key Stage 3
We run a two-year condensed Key Stage 3 course with an exciting new curriculum, which offers a variety of texts, activities and outcomes. Therefore, by the end of Year 8, all students will have completed their first stage of secondary English studies.
Over the two years, we teach a range of units: novels, poetry, drama, Shakespeare, media, factual, persuasive and creative texts, and myths and legends. The outcomes of these units will mean that students complete their first two years having produced: literature analysis, role-play, speeches, film reviews, creative writing and writing for a variety of other purposes.
Throughout the two years, we assess students’ progress several times within each half term, in line with the assessment criteria for the new English curriculum. We give students the opportunity to reflect on their own progress and set targets, whilst tracking all progress on a database. We use assignments and an end-of-year exam to give a grade at the end of each year.
In order to provide some students needing extra support in the transition from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3, we provide a reciprocal reading programme, an EAL support programme, a reading buddies programme and intervention programmes.
We also run a range of extra-curricular and intervention opportunities for students at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4:
- Year 7 and 9 Buddy Reading programme
- EAL programme
- Year 10 debate club
- Year 10 intervention
- Whole school poetry competitions
- DEAR Day
- Accelerated reader programme for year 7, 8 and 9
- Year 11 intervention
- AS Level Creative writing
- G&T groups taught in year 8, 9, 10 and 11
- SEN and Low literacy groups taught in year 8, 9, 10 and 11
As a department, we are excited about our Key Stage 3 and 4 curriculum and all that they offer.
Key Stage 4
At GCSE we follow the AQA specification for English Language and English Literature with the vast majority of students achieving a GCSE in both. Our results have consistently been outstanding for the last few years. In particular, we ensure that nearly every student makes 3 or more levels of progress from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4 and students with specific learning needs achieve just as highly as the rest of the cohort. We believe that no student should ‘slip through the net.’
However, we do not allow our desire for students to achieve highly to compromise their enjoyment of English and the rich experience that studying literature can provide. The GCSEs offer a varied and interesting curriculum covering a number of texts and different forms of writing. The areas of study include: writing for a variety of purposes and audiences including creatively, reading fiction and non-fiction texts.
From 2015 onwards all students will study both Language and Literature GCSE regardless of their set. This will prove challenging for some of our students who may require extra support. Every effort will be made to support students who may find this difficult in a smaller set or with extra support in a middle set, where appropriate.
The course is assessed through exams and controlled speaking and listening activities.
The teaching of the GCSE's is a particular strength and area of enjoyment for the English department, who enjoy developing the skills and appreciation for literature of the pupils when they have reached this level of maturity.