In year 7 students are introduced to the fundamental skills required for success in English: reading, writing and oracy. These topics form the foundations on which the next 5 years of English at Grace Academy are built. As a department, we believe that literacy plays a key role in the transition from primary to secondary school and there will be inductions into the library to initiate the culture of ‘reading for pleasure’ that is paramount to the success of students’ success.
The Literature texts covered in year 7 allow students to use both reading and writing components to develop skills that can then be improved and applied throughout their time at the school. Language units are designed to introduce students to individual questions; this is often then applied through the Literature skills, hence, students can begin to apply the contextual knowledge that they have to different types of challenging questions.
In term 1,1, the Spies unit is used to introduce students to the skills required for language. It is a topic that I expect students to enjoy as spy novels/films are likely to have been encountered before.
Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a resource recommended by AQA for KS3 and they have released a pack of work for the unit that helps with skills/ It is used before Christmas because it is relevant to Armistice Day in November, bringing in cross-curricular links with the Humanities department.
In term 2.1, students begin to cover language paper 2, learning about argumentative writing and analysing how effective argumentative writing can be. There is a side project about debating that encourages students to physically practice the skills and content in the lesson – it will create a buzz from students about the subject.
In term 2.2, ‘Words that Burn’ will be used to cover literature paper 2’s unseen poetry. It is used at this point to coincide with Human Rights Day on 21st of March and give the unit more context. Students will learn about.
In term 3.1, students are introduced to Shakespeare. This is done in the shortest half term because it is likely to be the most challenging unit in year 7. There is a real focus on reading skills and the ability to develop a love and understanding of Shakespeare’s work.
The end of the year focuses on Holes. It is an engaging text that a) can be taught across an 8 week half term; b) can be easily manipulated to cover both language and literature; and c) will ensure that students have an interesting topic at a time of year that mimics the setting in the novel.
In year 8, students at Grace Academy Coventry will continue to develop their knowledge of fundamental and over-arching concepts in English, whilst beginning to apply some of the knowledge that they have mastered during the previous academic year. The complexity of the texts that they read are more challenging which gives students aspirational, but feasible curriculum opportunities to develop thinking skills and literacy skills.
In term 1.1, students study ‘Heroes’; a former GCSE text that helps students understand structure and flashbacks that will be paramount for their future learning of GCSE texts. The whole book is covered so that students master the skills of reading, comprehending and annotating for analysis.
In term 1.2, students use a series of extracts from ‘The Hunger Games’ to develop skills necessary for language paper 1. This is supported by the plot of the book by Suzanne Collins and students focus on language, structure and descriptive writing.
In term 2.1, students study the Shakespeare play ‘Much Ado about Nothing’. This is the first full Shakespeare text studied by students at Grace and it is designed to cover the features of a Shakespearean comedy as well as a focus on learning skills designed to support students in any other encounters with Shakespearean language.
In term 2.2, students study a range of 19th century extracts, with a focus on Charles Dickens. The aim is for students to learn about archaic language and to analyse language in order to underpin a greater understanding of literature. This unit encourages students to reflect on how children were treated in the 1800s in comparison to now.
In term 3.1, students learn about dystopic fiction and how it is similar/different to other different types of literature. This helps students’ creative writing and their understanding of literature conventions.
In term 3.2, students study William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’. This carries on the theme of ‘childhood’ from term 2.2 as students learn about allegorical texts and how wider moral themes from the writer are used to discuss his messages about society.
In year 9, students study texts endorsed by the GCSE specification or past GCSE papers: how students cope with these texts give an indication as to the intervention that can be put in place to support the transition to KS4.
In year 9 students will begin to study the full depth and breadth of the GCSE English specification, revisiting and applying previously mastered knowledge to gain an understanding of English above and beyond the requirements for their GCSE studies.
The year begins with ‘Of Mice and Men’: it is well-resourced, a former GCSE text and is one of the most engaging texts that we have so it will be done in the first half-term. As per the whole curriculum map, students do both language and literature each term.
In term 1.2, students study ‘Animal Farm’ and focus on both language and literature. It is a current GCSE text and will show students the level of depth needed at that level. Through the text, they will use extracts practice approaches to language style questions: it has more continuity and longevity than using a number of extracts to teach language.
In term 2.1, students have a creative writing unit. This encourages students to explore the nuances around creative writing in more detail than a ‘reading focused’ unit does. Considering that it is a quarter of their GCSE marks, it is important to focus on.
In term 2.2 students will study Macbeth – another GCSE text on the AQA specification. This is one of the most engaging Shakespeare texts because of the violence and betrayal within the play. Studying Shakespeare each year at KS3 in a government requirement, but it helps students’ understanding of Romeo and Juliet in year 10.
In term 3.1 students complete a politics Language Paper 2 unit. They will go through 2 sources focused on politics and practice questions relevant to the exam, but the focus is on writing. Students will take part in a mock election and use the skills that they have acquired to see how persuasive they are. This has been deliberately place at this point because it requires students to do more than just read and write: they require teamwork, communication, presentational/organisational skills. It therefore acts as a more kinaesthetic unit at a time and challenges all learners through the complexity of vocabulary.
We end the year studying Blood Brothers (another GCSE play). Students delve into contextual factors that directly mimic GCSE texts. They learn about the class system in Britain across time and learn the skills in line with the skills progression.
In year 10, students at Grace Academy Coventry will continue their in-depth studies of the GCSE English Literature and Language specifications, revisiting the core skills and using it as a strong base for developing a coherent and thorough knowledge of the GCSE texts.
During this academic year, students will continue to apply their knowledge to contextual examples and examination questions, developing their confidence in preparation for year 11. Students will be expected to retain and develop knowledge of each text, going into year 11.
Students begin year 10 with Jekyll and Hyde: this is the most complex text in terms of structure, therefore it sets the tone for the year. Language and literature are intertwined throughout the year so that students get a varied diet of reading and writing. Moreover, it ensures that if early entry students are not coping during HT1, they can be moved around without falling behind.
In Term 1.2, students study a unit called ‘Century Classics where students improve all language skills from language paper 1. This ranges from analysis of literary devices to formulating opinions on evaluative statements.
Students study Romeo and Juliet in term 2.1. This is fundamental to their GCSEs. Students cover the plot, themes, characters and key skills necessary to excel in the exam.
In term 2.2, students study language paper 2 skills through the thematic ‘Crime’ unit. This unit covers crime across ages, and relatable news stories about knife crime (specific to the demographic) are used as inspiration to generate opinions from students.
The speaking and listening endorsement is deliberately conducted in the shortest half term of the academic year because that time of year can often be lost, therefore, we have placed something meaningful and challenging in a short space of time to keep the high standards that have been set. The last half term of the year is ‘bespoke consolidation’. This time is used for teachers to reflect on the position of their students. The rationale behind this is to make sure that in year 11, students can all be at the same point so it is more structured and organized. For classes that are confident in all other areas, they have the option of moving onto a poetry unit and replacing that unit in year 11 with a language unit.
In year 11 pupils will have already learnt much of what they will need to know and understand for their GCSE examinations in the summer term. Some of this academic year will be used to consolidate their learning (particularly Language Paper 1) and further develop their understanding of how to respond to GCSE assessment questions. As a department, we deliberately delay some of the GCSE content for two reasons: a) to enable all students to feel secure in Literature Paper 1 before they progress to Literature Paper 2, and b) to keep using Language as a respite from heavy content and knowledge of the Literature GCSE.
By the end of this academic year, students will feel confident in their English knowledge and understanding of assessments and will be ready to perform exceptionally well in their English examinations.
‘An Inspector Calls’ is delivered first (term 1.1) because it is an engaging start and one of the texts that our students have the potential to be most successful at. The skills used in this section are some of the most demanding because it focuses more on the retrieval.
The poetry clusters that follow are purposefully split over 2 terms (term 1.2 and term 2.1), because it helps make the content easier to digest. The last planned unit of work is language paper 1 & 2: over the course of the 5 years, students will have gained the skill and understanding enough to practice by year 11. Teachers can use their knowledge of the students and most recent language data to address the way in which this is approached.
In term 2.2, students revisit language papers 1 and 2 in order to give them the practice needed to consolidate each of the skills they have fostered over the course of the 5 years at Grace Academy.
In Year 12 students begin their Historicist approach to Literature, looking at a range of texts that span many important periods in Literary History. We then study Othello by Shakespeare in term 1.1 and 1.2 and an Anthology of poetry that focuses on Pre 19th Century poetry in term 2.1 and 2.2.
In term 3.1, students study F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ and in 3.2 students study a range of poetry in order to be able to compare unseen poems. Students end the year with an overview of the NEA component. Over the summer, students read and research the two texts that they wish to compare.
In Year 13 students study a ‘Texts in Context’ unit: ‘Literature from 1945 to the present day’, and within this we will study a play, a collection of poetry, and a novel.
In term 1.1, students study A Streetcar Named Desire and explore how the contextual factors and Williams’ other works have influenced his authorial intentions. In term 1.2 and 2.1, students study Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and appraise the feminist ideologies within the book. The strongest of the two texts will prompt the autonomy with which their overall exam can be taken. In term 2.2, student study ‘Feminine Gospels’ – a poetry collection by Carol and Duffy and in term 3.1, students finalise their 2500 word NEA.