English

English is the subject at the heart of teaching and learning. Language enables students to communicate, to question, to understand and to progress. Because of this, teachers in the English department believe we have a responsibility to ensure that our provision for students at Alder is of the very highest standard.

There are six full time teachers of English. The head of English is also a member of the Senior Leadership Team and the Assistant head is also the acting SENCO. We are all passionate about the subject and aim to inspire students to share in our love of language. Teachers in the English department are committed to working hard in order to achieve the best for our students.

We believe the English curriculum is incredibly exciting. Through the development of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, young people are introduced to critical methods and ways of thinking which will stay with them for the rest of their lives. It is our aim to create schemes of work and activities that have ‘real life’ relevance and develop key skills that will be essential in adulthood.

At key stage 3, students work in ability groups. This enables us to differentiate more effectively and target students’ needs more effectively. Students will study a range of texts appropriate to their ability and interests; these will vary for each year group and for differing abilities. All year groups study reading skills, writing skills and speaking and listening in order to prepare them best for their GCSE’s.

In Year 7 students study: Writing to persuade and creative writing/ Extracts from A Christmas Carol/ one novel (Skellig/ Stone Cold/ Charlotte’s Web)/ a selection of Shakespeare plays and a selection of poetry.

In year 8 students study: Writing to argue and persuade and writing to describe/ a range of cultural poems/ one novel (Jekyll and Hyde/ Holes)/ one play (Private Peaceful/ Our Day Out)/

In year 9 students study: Extracts from ‘The Woman in Black’ and the Withered Arm/ A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare/ comparing a range of poems/ the novel ‘Once’/ GCSE writing skills. At the end of year 9, students move on to GCSE style work and begin looking at controlled assessment.

At Key Stage 4, we follow the AQA syllabus for GCSE and run an entry level certificate course for students of lower ability. Our aim is that all students leave Alder with a recognised qualification in English Language and in English Literature. Students complete controlled assessments on the following units: Shakespeare and The English Literary Heritage, Extended Reading (Of Mice and Men), Creative Writing and Spoken Language. To prepare for the English Language examination, students are exposed to a variety of Non-Fiction texts and in preparation for their English Literature examination, they study a variety of poems from the AQA ‘Moon on the Tides’ anthology, a play (An Inspector Calls) and a text from other cultures (Of Mice and Men). In 2013, we achieved 83% A*-C in English Language with 83% of our students made 3 levels progress.

To enrich the curriculum, we organise trips to theatres, libraries and cinemas. Library club runs at lunch time every day and a book club runs once a fortnight. Booster and revision classes are run by all members of the department, at lunch times, after school and during the holidays. We also run the ‘Food For Thought’ revision programme with the Maths department where students are taught extra English and Maths lessons after school and are then provided with a curry!