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English

Head of Department/Faculty

Ms Helen Pearce
Head of English
hpearce@commonweal.co.uk

Overview

English all comes down to these twenty six letters which, when combined correctly, can create magic. English, however, is not just an effective tool for communicating thoughts and ideas, but also a great way to establish and improve friendships and learn about the world in which we live.

Here at Commonweal, the English department firmly believe that English lessons should be fun, engaging, relevant, but most of all, useful. Our teaching philosophy follows the words of Jonathan Culver in that – The English language is a work in progress. Have fun with it!

To be successful in English, students need to develop their skills in reading, writing and spoken language. In lessons, students can expect to take part in a wide range of activities, from writing and performing their own poems to studying the work of Shakespeare.

Tops Tips to do well in English

  1. Learn the key technical terms.

    The more techniques and grammatical structures you know and can apply, the more confident you will feel in your English lessons.

  2. Read.

    The more you read, the more your English skills will improve. Reading can introduce you to places that you will never see and people you will never meet. Through fiction and non-fiction books, you learn about the world around you.

  3. PEAL throughout your work

    When you are answering questions about English, make sure you begin with a clear point, back up your point with evidence from the text, analyse what the evidence means and link everything you write to the question.

  4. Independence.

    What can you do to improve your skills? How can you go above and beyond? How can you push yourself to achieve far more than you thought possible? How can you challenge yourself?

  5. Try something new.

    Write a poem. Write a story. An article. Watch a play. Read a different genre of text. Join your local library. Challenge people in discussions. Engage with written and spoken language at every opportunity.

The Curriculum

English is delivered to Years 7, 8 and 9 over 6 one-hour lessons a fortnight.

All students will study English Language and English Literature at GCSE – it is not an optional subject. English at KS4 is delivered over 7 one-hour lessons a fortnight.

English is delivered to Years 7, 8 and 9 over 6 one-hour lessons a fortnight.

All students will study English Language and English Literature at GCSE – it is not an optional subject. English at KS4 is delivered over 7 one-hour lessons a fortnight in Year 10 and 8 one-hour lessons in Year 11.

Year 7

Two G and T sets, all other classes Mixed Ability

  • Poetry – Students will explore a range of poetry looking at poetic devices and structural techniques as well as reading for meaning and supporting personal responses with quotations.
  • Greek Myths – Descriptive and Narrative Writing – Students will study a range of Greek Mythology which will be used as a springboard from which to write a descriptive text.
  • Canon Fire – Short Stories – Students will read a variety of short stories from ‘Cannon Fire’.  The focus will be on comprehension and understanding the author’s craft – analysing language and structure through PEAL paragraphs.

Year 8

Two G and T sets, all other classes Mixed Ability

  • View Points and Perspectives – The focus will be on the power of communication in speech and writing. Students will be taught how to use structural devices, discourse markers and connectives in writing as well as how to respond to questions from an audience.
  • Shakespeare – Midsummer Night’s Dream’, Romeo and Juliet or ‘The Tempest – The focus will be on comprehension and understanding the play’s themes and characters as well as the author’s craft – analysing language and structure through PEAL paragraphs.
  • Of Mice and Men – Students will read the novella and focus on Steinbeck’s narrative structure and how plot and character are developed throughout.

Year 9
Set

  • Bugs – Students will encounter different attitudes to the insect world by reading a range of genres and across different centuries.
  • The Gothic tradition – Students will explore how writers of horror stories exploit our greatest fears, dare us to confront them, and take our imaginations on a roller-coaster ride of thrills and terror.
    Descriptive/Narrative writing – Students will understand how to write effectively and imaginatively.
  • Poetry – Students will read and respond to unseen poems.
  • Spoken Language – Students will write and present a speech on a topic of their choice.
  • An Inspector Calls – “Two hours ago a young woman died in the infirmary… she’d swallowed a lot of disinfectant. Burnt her inside out…” Students willdiscover the shameful secrets of the Birling family in J.B. Priestley’s classic play.

Years 10 and 11
Set

See Options Booklet.

Independent learning

These are the main types of homework:

  • Spelling tests – Years 7, 8 and 9 will have 4 – 12 words to learn every two weeks.
  • Learning key words/definitions/techniques – all years
  • Research tasks – all years.
  • Takeaway homework – choose a homework task from starter, main course and a pudding – all years.
  • Reading – all years. KS4 will be expected to read set texts independently in preparation for the course.
  • Revision and improvements – all years.

Enrichment and trip possibilities

  • Carnegie book club – KS3
  • Kew Gardens trip – Year 7. Develop creative writing skills.
  • Theatre trips – all years.
  • Poetry Live – Year 11. Listen to poets perform and talk about their work.
  • Workshops led by theatre companies.

Assessment

  • In Years 7 to 9 students are assessed every two weeks on set spellings.
  • End of unit assessments take place for all years, usually at the end of the term.
  • Years 7 and 8 exams take place at the end of the year.
  • Years 10 and 11 will sit mock exams in both English Language and Literature.
  • Assessments cover reading, writing and spoken language.

Teachers in the Faculty

  • Ms H Pearce –  Head of English
  • Mrs C Riach – 2nd in Department
  • Mrs H McGrath – 3rd in Department
  • Miss H Brittlebank – Year 6 Subject Transition co-ordinator (English)
  • Mr L Barker
  • Miss A Kimber
  • Miss N Bryan
  • Miss H Gavin
  • Mrs H McKay – A Level Head of Year
  • Mrs M Hall – English Department Teaching Assistant