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Key Stage 3
Students study thematic units that develop reading and writing skills from a diverse range of formal and informal genres and look at texts from different centuries and cultures. There is a strong emphasis on analysing the language techniques and structures that authors use to create meaning and this is extended to include film and web pages, as well as poetry, plays and novels. During Key Stage 3 students develop the skills they will need for success at GCSE in the Language and Literature papers.
Key Stage 4
Currently, students study for the AQA linear programme of study which involves four terminal examinations at the end of Year 11 in two areas. Students are awarded two GCSE certificates and a Speaking & Listening Endorsement upon successful completion.
AQA English Language - these examinations test students’ ability to deconstruct texts and analyse the intended effects of language and writer’s techniques. Students are also asked to write from specific viewpoints. This course of study has a very heavy emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar (20% of the GCSE).
AQA English Literature – from June 2017 students will sit two terminal exams that are closed book and have more emphasis on ‘academic’ literature. Students will study Macbeth, A Christmas Carol, An Inspector Calls and a series of poetry under the theme of Conflict and Power for these examinations.
Pupils also complete a Speaking & Listening Endorsement (0% weighting of GCSE) which is teacher set and assessed throughout the course. This develops and tests students’ ability to present to an audience, respond to questions and feedback and use Standard English.
Key Stage 5 English Literature
From September 2017 students will study AQA English Literature Specification B as an A Level course.
This qualification centres on different ways of reading and on the connections which exist between texts. Study of texts within the chosen literary and cultural genres in the examined topic areas is enhanced by the study of critical theory in the non-exam assessment. In this way, students can gain a solid understanding of how texts can be connected and how they can be interpreted in multiple ways so that students can arrive at their own interpretations and become confident autonomous readers. Students are then not only equipped with the knowledge and skills needed for both exams and non-exam assessment, but also experience a rich, challenging and coherent approach to English literature that provides an excellent basis for studying the subject at university.
The specification encourages the exploration of texts in a number of different ways:
- the study of texts within specific genres
- the study of texts through engagement with a range of theoretical ideas
- writing about texts in a number of different ways.