As we plunge ever further into the 21st century our role as English teachers continues to develop. We must prepare pupils for an uncertain future, jobs which have not even been conceived of yet, and for continued advances in communications technologies. Here in the BCEHS English Department we aim to promote competence and confidence in communication as well as creativity, cultural understanding and critical understanding. It is in this way we hope to contribute to a wider understanding of the world in which we live in the context of the faith we share.
English is a popular subject at the school. Pupils are very positive about their English lessons claiming lessons are fun, current and relevant.
Key Stage 3
In Year 7 pupils receive 4 hours of English teaching per week.
In Year 8 pupils receive 4 hours of English teaching per week.
In Year 9 pupils receive 4 hours of English teaching per week.
We aim to develop our pupils’ skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening within the frameworks of the National Curriculum. We achieve this through theme based units of study which are designed to focus on either reading, writing or speaking and listening skills, covering a range of literary and non-fiction texts and providing opportunities to write for different purposes and audiences. Units are usually 5 weeks long. This maintains pace and high levels of pupil engagement and allows for an assessment in the penultimate week with feedback and an opportunity to consolidate learning before starting the next unit.
|Celebrating Books||We will be starting to teach Year 7 in form groups rather than in their sets. This allows us to be quite flexible with the curriculum at this point and, in conjunction with the Head of Year's push on literacy and developing good reading habits, we will begin with a series of lessons to explore and celebrate books. During this time we need to facilitate a test of reading and writing skills which will be used as our baseline assessments as well as allow library induction sessions to take place. There will also be a book fair where pupils will be encouraged to browse the books for sale and also parents on the Year 7 Consultation Evening.|
|War of the Worlds||This unit is designed as a literature based unit and exposes the pupils to Victorian narrative. There are opportunities to study the entire story, the audio and audio/visual performances alongside relevant non-fiction texts and poems along this theme. Suggested poems include 'A Martian Sends A Postcard Home' and 'Southbound on the Freeway.'|
|Bury Church School News Report||This is a media unit allowing the exploration of non-fiction texts and writing styles. Pupils should be taught to use appropriate vocabulary and phrasing for the style of media. The pupils should also be given an opportunity to experience relevant poetry: a suggestion could be Unrelated Incidents. They should develop their understanding of key spellings, grammatical structures and sentence structures as well as paragraphing and planning skills. The outcome will be put forward for real world context publication in the Grapevine.|
|Hamlet||This unit is designed to be a gentle introduction to Shakespeare and so lots of historical context learning should feature including opportunities to experience The Globe Theatre through clips, photos and model making. The play itself should be studied as an overall plot/story allowing prediction exercises and creative writing based on events or characters to take place as well as some drama activities. The pupils ultimately need exposure to the language of the play by in-depth study of some of the famous speeches and the assessment will require them to demonstrate knowledge of the social and historical context, the plot, a particular speech and more able pupils will also attempt textual analysis (PEEL chains).|
|Shipwrecked||In this unit pupils are to be given the opportunity to develop their writing skills further and expand on previous targets (EBI) established in previous assessments. The topic includes opportunities for creative writing as well as persuasion and writing to inform. To broaden their literary experience pupils should also be exposed to extracts from Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island and Kensuke's Kingdom, Maybe Life of Pi and poetry such as Island Man. The outcome of the unit is a piece creative writing based on the idea of being shipwrecked on a mysterious island.|
|Novel||Through studying a novel pupils should be exposed to the social and historical context of the story as well as the richness of the language and how it is manipulated to create the sense of character and perspective in the novel. Suitable poetry should be selected for parallel study.|
A Twist in the Tale
This initial unit allows the pupils to develop their creative writing skills. The title Twist in the Tale lends itself well to fairy tales and writing alternative versions. Through this topic pupils should be exposed to the oral tradition of story-telling and the collection of these stories by the Brothers Grimm. Some classes could also experience folk tales from other cultures. For some pupils there are opportunities to experience media via film and TV shows which feature heavily; care should be taken to explore the difference between fairy tale and Disney. Suggested media texts include clips from Shrek, Disney movies, The Brothers Grimm (film) or Grimm (TV show). Parallel poetry suggestion is The Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl - this particularly fits well with the Roald Dahl Day on the 26th Sept which an English flexible Friday. It also allows a solid connection with the study of his short story Lamb to the Slaughter in the next unit. The assessment outcome should be a piece of creative writing which features alternative fairy tale aspects or endings.
Lamb to the Slaughter
This is a reading skills unit where pupils should be taught inference and deduction skills and encouraged to make predictions. This text will require some background preparation about typical murder mystery plot lines and pupils could be exposed to a range of more traditional plot lines as well as ones more recognisable (Scooby Doo!) It is very much a lead into the study of Sherlock Holmes later in the year. The outcome is a close analysis of an extract which will require pupils to have refreshed and developed their use of PEEL chains to write analytically about a text.
BBC School News Report
This unit pupils will develop their writing skills and develop from the print based media skills studied last year towards preparing for broadcast. This will involve writing scripts and learning about camera angles and sound effects and how that contributes to how people "read" the media. This unit will make effective use of the resources supplied by the BBC for their School News Report project. The assessed outcome would be a broadcast script.
This unit invites teachers to choose from the play scripts available to construct a unit which will create an understanding of reading play scripts. Pupils should be encouraged to analyse the effects of character words alongside the stage directions of a play. There should be heavy emphasis on the drama of the text and teachers are encouraged to use lots of drama strategies within their English lessons. There should also be an emphasis on close textual analysis and PEEL chains as the assessed outcome will involve the analysis of a prepared section of the text.
Wish You Were Here!
This unit builds upon the skills covered in Twist in the Tale and pupils should be encouraged to return to the marked assessments from that unit paying particular attention to the targets they have been set. Pupils are encouraged to look at the skills involved in persuasive writing and should be exposed to a range or persuasive texts preferably featuring different kinds of holidays. Texts can be print based like holiday brochures as well as media based texts such as blogs and websites or travel TV shows. Parallel poetry could be a revisit of Island Man plus any other holiday based poems. The assessed outcome will be the production of a page for a holiday brochure.
This unit builds upon the skills covered in the Lamb to the Slaughter unit earlier in the year. It involves close textual analysis of The Speckled Band and is an opportunity for pupils to develop their PEEL chain skills. Pupils should also be exposed to other extracts from the Sherlock Holmes stories as well as media interpretations of the detective hero. Parallel poetry suggestion is About His Person. The assessed outcome is close analysis of a prepared extract.
|Horror Story Writing||In this initial unit pupils refresh and develop their creative writing skills. They should be exposed to different kinds of spooky story ranging from children's fiction to gothic literature such as extracts from Dracula or The Woman in Black in order to emulate style and explore ideas for setting, characterisation and plot devices. Parallel poetry could range from Hamlet's ghost extracts to Byron to Edgar Allen Poe. The assessed outcome will be a story pupils have either made up or finished which suits the horror genre.|
|Frankenstein||In this unit pupils develop their close textual analysis. They should be exposed to several extracts of the original text, media interpretations through the ages (seek parental permission before showing), a debunking of the Frankenstein myth alongside news reports which cover the issue of transplants. The suggested parallel poem is Percy Shelly's Masques of Anarchy. The assessed outcome is a close textual analysis of a prepared extract from the original text.|
|Film/TV Review||This second writing unit aims to develop a different style of writing. Pupils should seek to develop their skills at word, sentence and text level in line with previously set targets. Pupils should be exposed to the appropriate vocabulary for the task and audience via short reviews of short films and reading similar work from the press before closely analysing a film or TV episode for the assessed outcome of this unit.|
|Henry V||This Shakespeare unit allows pupils to develop more fully their close analysis skills. Emphasis should be placed on understanding the social and historical context of the play prior to examining the language. Most able pupils can then be encouraged to consider how modern audiences would relate differently to the central character from contemporaneous audiences.|
|English Language Exam||This unit will involve preparing pupils for an appropriately modified GCSE style exam paper.|
|Of Mice and Men||This unit exposes pupils to GCSE style literature study. The assessed outcome will feature an analytical essay based upon the text.|
Key Stage 4
In Years 10 & 11 pupils receive 4 hours of English teaching per week.
At Key Stage Four we follow the AQA 2017 specifications for both and literature and language.
All pupils are working towards GCSE qualifications in English Literature and English Language. This is via 100% examinations at the end of Year 11 and progress is monitored via regular exam opportunity throughout the Key Stage. The set texts for Lit are Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Macbeth by Shakespeare, An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley as well as poetry, both unseen and from the AQA anthology.
Provision, Feedback and Intervention
Following assessments pupils take an active role in the feedback process. They experience a Make A Difference lesson where they not only have the marked work returned but have an opportunity to address an errors or areas to improve. Intervention strategies range from re-editing selected passages to working in small groups with the English Learning Assistant or directly under the class teacher. Prior to the GCSEs the English department provide a bespoke revision package to prepare pupils for the exam to a high standard. There are numerous opportunities throughout the year for pupils to take part in after school or lunchtime sessions aimed at supporting and securing knowledge, skills and understanding, allowing them to reach their full potential.
All year groups currently receive a minimum of 8 hours a fortnight.
Extra Curricular Activities
The department encourages participation in a range of creative writing competitions and many of our pupils have had work included in anthologies. In Years 7 and 8, all pupils are actively encouraged to participate in the BCEHS Reading Challenge and Year 7 are invited to participate in ‘Readathon’ – a fund raising reading challenge. Film club is very popular and aims to get pupils developing an appreciation of cinematography from around the world, past and present. Creative Writing Workshops have also given pupils the opportunity to enter many various competitions as well as develop their skills. Pupils are also given regular opportunities to participate in theatre trips organised through the Drama department.
Pupils have also benefited from our links with Manchester Metropolitan University attending Media skills workshops as well as a variety of events as part of the Manchester Children’s Book Festival.
The department has begun to forge links with other forward-thinking and like-minded schools. There are currently plans to hold a Public Speaking event for Year 5 pupils from local primary schools and plans to develop a comic book community with other secondary schools in the area to promote reading to both girls and boys. The department is also proud to be involved with various projects with the Prince’s Teaching Institute.
Our school library also plays a big part in the work of the department, supporting individual lessons as well as hosting school events to support literacy such as Roald Dahl Day and out annual celebration of World Book Day.