Students are given the opportunity in English to develop their reading and writing skills in a learning environment where the focus is very much on nurturing a love of reading for pleasure.
In Year 7, students study a range of texts from modern world literature, including Ness’ ‘A Monster Calls’ and a challenging of poetry and short stories from the Gothic genre of Literature, from esteemed writers such as Poe and Shelley. On top of this, Year 7 students explore innovative and creative approaches to Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’—as well as an appreciation of the Bard’s dramatic methods, students hone their textual analysis by examining some of the most famous and demanding passages in the English literary heritage.
Furthermore, students develop their understanding and application of many fiction and non-fiction texts. Over the course of the year, students read and analyse articles, letters and leaflets, considering their purpose/audience/form and making higher level connections with their understanding of social and cultural issues. The importance of the skilful and accurate use of punctuation and grammar underpins every writing unit.
Each Year 7 class is timetabled one library lesson per fortnight. The objectives of these sessions are for pupils to research and discover new texts, track their reading journeys and discuss their reading preferences.
Using the rich and diverse Year 7 curriculum as a foundation, students in Year 8 are given the same opportunities to become confident English specialists. As in Year 7, there is an emphasis on reading for pleasure, both inside and outside the classroom.
The class texts, Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, Flynn’s ‘The White Rose and the Swastika’, and Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, are widely considered literary classics. By studying these rich, seminal novel and plays, students are able to broaden their understanding of the English literary heritage, mature their analytical skills and develop their appreciation of how writers create meanings in their works.
Year 8 writers will build on their progress from Year 7. To complement the reading element of each scheme, the writing elements ensure students become more confident in their use of literary conventions, as well their adept use of spelling, punctuation and grammar. Students continue to develop their understanding and application of many fiction and non-fiction texts. In Year 8, students read and analyse articles, essays and key speeches, reflecting on their cultural significance and how language use and its impacts has evolved over time. The final teaching unit in Year 8 has a focus on the distinctive voices to be heard in war through ‘The White Rose and the Swastika’ and propaganda writing of the period.
In Year 9, students in English are able to consolidate the knowledge and key skills that have been nurtured in Year 7 and 8. The focus remains on developing maturity and excellence in reading and writing responses; students are exposed to a broad range of fiction and non-fiction texts that work to both inspire the pupils.
Year 9 students read and study Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, analysing Shakespeare’s verse and evaluating the significance of the play’s socio-historical context. They are also introduced to more seminal literature in the form of Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ and a range of 19th and 20th Century conflict poetry from key writers such as Owen, Armitage, and Achebe, developing their critical and creative responses and their ability to derive meanings more independently.
The development of the students’ written composition, be it fiction or non-fiction texts, forms an integral part of the Year 9 curriculum. Building on from Year 7 and 8, students consolidate their conscious use of language for specific purposes and audiences with a dedicated unit on exploring ‘narrative voice’, using a range of stimuli from the 16th right up to the 21st Century.
There is a continued emphasis on developing the voice and independence of our Year 9 pupils. As such, significant time is dedicated to class discussion. The final teaching unit in Year 9 is focused entirely on speaking and listening skills in preparation for students undertaking a formal speaking and listening assessment, focusing on building their own voices and opinions in relation to a range of modern-day global issues.
Each Year 9 class is timetabled one library lesson per fortnight. The objectives of these sessions are for pupils to extend their reading journeys and continue building a love of reading as well as their confidence in approaching a variety of texts.
In Year 10, students become increasingly fluent and literate in the AQA GCSE English Language and OCR GCSE English Literature specifications.
Students study Stevenson’s gothic classic ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’, exploring Stevenson’s language choices, characterisation, and memorable moments in preparation for OCR English Literature Paper 1. Classes in Year 10 also study and perform Priestley’s play ‘An Inspector Calls’, examining its moral messages, the playwright’s use of dialogue and stagecraft and its socio-historical context. ‘An Inspector Calls’ is the second text to be studied in preparation for OCR English Literature Paper 1.
In preparing for OCR English Literature Paper 2, students focus their analytical skills on Shakespeare’s tragic story of the tyrannical ‘Macbeth’, further building on their knowledge and interpretation of Shakespearian conventions, context, and stage craft. Finally, students will focus their attention on a collection of poetry pertaining to ‘Love and Relationships’, exploring the complexities of human relationship through evaluation and comparison of language and structure, focusing on works from the likes of Duffy, Hardy, and Keats.
Students consolidate the technical accuracy of their written composition, as well as reinforce their awareness of generic conventions and the subtle differences that can be seen in various text types/forms (e.g. speech, emails, broadsheet articles, short stories, descriptions). Using the AQA GCSE English Language writing questions as stimuli, significant class and homework time is dedicated to the key skills of planning, drafting and editing.
In terms of reading, students are taught to develop the key skills of comprehension, summarising, analysis, comparison and evaluation. To support this, AQA GCSE English Language reading questions are primarily used as stimuli. In Year 10, there is shared focus on Paper 1 and Paper 2.
In their final year of English, Year 11 students are given the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the respective exam specifications and course texts. Furthermore, they continue to develop the key reading and writing skills that underpin the English curriculum at Middleton Technology School. Furthermore, the students are actively encouraged to develop their independent study of the GCSE material studied in Year 10.
Lesson time is dedicated to generate a more profound understanding of both the OCR GCSE English Literature texts (‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, ‘An Inspector Calls’, Macbeth and ‘Love and Relationships’ poetry), as well as the specific demands of the AQA English Language reading and writing questions.
In Year 11, there is an increased focus on student self-evaluation, examination skills and revision strategies. Throughout the year, students sit numerous practice examinations; the results of these are used to offer personalised, targeted feedback that allows the students to work on the skills or particular questions that may be hindering their own achievement in English.
At the end of Year 11, students will sit four examinations:
AQA English Language Paper 1- Explorations in creative reading and writing
AQA English Language Paper 2- Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives
OCR English Literature Paper 1- Exploring modern and literary heritage texts
OCR English Literature Paper 2- Exploring poetry and Shakespeare