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The English department is committed to providing a creative and enjoyable experience of the subject, promoting a lifelong love of all types of literature, the theatre and the allied arts.
We strive to ensure our students become critical readers, articulate speakers and highly developed writers. We feel that well developed English skills are essential to learning across the curriculum and to life beyond school.
We encourage our students to:
- Speak and write fluently in an appropriate style for real life purposes and audiences.
- Develop their powers of comprehension and approach what they read, hear and see in a questioning and critical way.
- Read a variety of texts, both fiction and non-fiction for pleasure and critically.
Our curriculum is designed to:
- Provide a range of learning situations so that all students are engaged and challenged, whilst being supported to achieve their best.
- Develop the students’ powers of oral communication.
- Develop the students’ skills in aural work so that they can listen with critical awareness and discernment.
- Develop the students’ skills in reading beyond the purely mechanical to include a deeper perception and response to all literary and non-literary genres.
- Develop the students’ skills in creative, factual and discursive writing.
- Promote the presentation of neat, accurate, written and word-processed work.
- Foster an enjoyment and appreciation of English in all its forms.
Follow us on Twitter! @HighworthEng
Deputy Head of Department
Mrs N Kinrade
Mrs L Ashdown
Miss F McCartan
Mr D Freear
Mrs J Jeffery
Mrs S Soman
Mrs N Das Simmons
Mrs S Wakefield
Mrs H Smith
Mrs L Perrian
Mrs A Cowley
Miss M Saunders
Miss H Primarolo (Schools Direct Placement)
Dr C Spurgeon
Miss E Thacker
Key Stage 3
In Years 7 and 8, students are taught in their Learning Community groups. Three core texts are taught each year. The core texts form the basis for exploration of other elements of Literature and Language intended to nurture the skills required for GCSE in Year 11.
In Year 7, the core texts are:
‘Unique’ by Alison Allen-Gray
Philip Pullman’s play adaptation of ‘Frankenstein’
In Year 8, the core texts are:
‘The Other Side of Truth’ by Beverley Naidoo
Dickens: A selection of texts
Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’
Assessment and feedback
All schemes of work in English at Key Stage 3 are designed to develop students’ abilities in the three disciplines: Reading, Writing and Speaking & Listening whilst typically focusing on one main text each two-term block of the calendar.
The Progression Map and Progress Record
At the start of each academic year, students will receive a Progression Map, informing them of the skills they will be expected to develop across the year and how these relate to our ‘Working Towards’, ‘Meeting’ or ‘Exceeding’ assessment criteria. The contents of this sheet will be referred to regularly by teachers. Students are expected to use it to help them keep a regular check on their own progress.
Alongside the Progression Map, students will receive a Progress Record which they must use throughout the year. Here they will: record results and targets from assessments; review targets; and build up a picture of how they are progressing in English.
In each scheme of work, students in Year 7 and 8 will have 3 assessments (a mini assessment, mid-term assessment and a final assessment) individually covering one of the three main English disciplines. Across the year, progress in each discipline should be evident.
Prior to each assessment, students will be taught the necessary skills which will enable them to ‘Meet’ or ‘Exceed’ the expected standard. They will be given clear criteria. Teachers will make every effort to help students to understand the language of the assessment criteria and what it means in practice.
Assessments will usually take place in the classroom under exam conditions but, on rare occasions, students may be asked to produce assessed work as homework. Some assessments will require preparation at home whilst others can be planned within lesson time. The English Department will make every effort to show consistency so that students across the year group receive the same or similar conditions for their assessments.
Assessments will be marked out of 30, linked to the criteria on the Progression Map. Students will not receive a ‘Working Towards’, ‘Meeting’ or ‘Exceeding’ grade for separate assessments. However, their assessment marks will be combined periodically in order to generate a grade at each IR or SR reporting point.
Commonly, assessments will be marked and returned to students following the school’s two-week turn-around policy; however, in isolated cases where this may not be possible, teachers will ensure students are informed.
The Assessment Feedback Lesson
The assessment feedback lesson is paramount to students’ progress and is therefore specifically incorporated in schemes of works, ensuring time is available. During this lesson, students will receive their marked assessment back, along with a completed Assessment Sheet. They will be given time: to reflect on their teacher’s comments and targets; to ask questions; to consider how they can address targets set; and to correct and amend their work accordingly. Typically, in writing-based assessments, students will be asked to redraft or add to their work, with the targets they have been set in mind.
Individual conversations between teacher and student are extremely beneficial. Teachers may select particular individuals to have learning conversations with or may create time to have dialogue with most or every student. It is vital that students are proactive though and, if they need further clarification or support from their teacher, they must ask.
Students are required to fill out Assessment Sheets thoughtfully and in detail. They are expected to glue assessed work and Assessment Sheets neatly into their exercise books. As such, they are responsible for ensuring that the exercise book is a clear, well-presented record of their learning and progress over time.
Peer and Self-Assessment
Most lessons will contain peer or self-assessment activities. Students will be expected to assess their own or others’ work, using structures such as WWW (what went well) and EBI (even better if) or pre-set criteria and checklists. This forms a vital element of students’ learning both in exploring others’ work but also in being able to make accurate evaluations. In carrying out peer assessment especially, students should show due care and attention, respecting the work of their peers and recording neat, thoughtful and accurately-written comments.
How else will teachers assess?
Aside from formal assessments, during lessons and across schemes of work, teachers will monitor and assess students in a range of explicit and implicit ways thus enabling them to adapt future lessons in the light of students’ needs as they arise. These will include:
- Leading whole class discussions
- Taking feedback from group or pair discussion
- Having conversations with individuals or groups
- Giving verbal feedback (sometimes using a verbal feedback stamper) on work in progress
- Starters and plenaries
- Feedback from peer or self-assessment
- Marking selected homework and classwork
Homework will be marked in an appropriate way as applicable to each task set. Students should expect to self-assess or peer assess some homework tasks, whilst others, especially more extensive work, will be marked in-depth by teachers. Teachers will monitor students’ homework, rewarding accordingly with Positive Events and using the Neutral/Negative eventing system to address concerns regarding completion of or quality of homework.
Marking in Exercise Books
The exercise book is a working document and record of students’ learning. It will typically contain a whole array of content, ranging from starter-style games right through to revision notes and substantial pieces of written work. Teachers are not required to mark exercise books from cover-to-cover in any way (outside of assessments) but will use their professional judgement in marking particular pieces of work in depth. These pieces may have been produced in class or at home. Teachers will also monitor exercise books and ensure that the high expectations that we have of Highworth students, in taking pride in their work, are upheld.
Periodically, the English Department will meet to examine a sample of exercise books as a means of reviewing student work, sharing best practice and striving for consistency. Specific students will be asked to submit their exercise books in advance of this process.
Work which is marked in-depth by teachers (assessments, homework or other tasks in class) will be marked in the following way (as applicable to the task):
- Reinforcing the pride that we expect students to take in their work
- Marked in pencil (not red pen)
- Selected corrections identified so that students can take the lead in addressing inaccuracies
- Use of questions to encourage further reflection from students
- Comments which are written clearly and which recognise specific positives about the work
- Targets which are skills-based set and clearly recorded
- Positive events awarded as applicable (including stickers and recording on SIMS)
The following codes may be used by teachers to annotate students’ work:
- Sp – spelling error
- P – Punctuation error / CL –capital letter
- // - Paragraphing needed
- V – Vocabulary could be improved
- SS – Sentence structure needs attention
- G – grammar error
- Exp – expression/phrasing needs looking at
- T – tenses need looking at
- ? – unclear meaning
- ^ - missed word/phrase
Please click here for the Year 7 Progression Map
Please click here for the Year 8 Progression Map
Please click here for an example of a Year 7 Assessment Feedback sheet. Students will be provided with the relevant assessment material for each unit of study.
Key Stage 4
Students prepare for two qualifications: English Language and English Literature. These are examined through the Edexcel Examination Board.
In Year 9, students will develop their skills in line with the GCSE assessment objectives. They will use and build on all the skills they have covered in Key Stage 3, whilst attaining new skills that will lead them through the rest of their English academic careers.
Students will study the following texts; while they will not be examined on these at end of Year 11, the desire is to extent their repertoire whilst developing their skills:
- ‘Of Mice and Men’ - John Steinbeck
- ‘Twelfth Night’ – William Shakespeare
They will also study an introduction to the following, which will form part of the terminal GCSE examinations:
- 19th Century Fiction Extracts
- Non-Fiction and Transactional Writing
- Poetry from the Edexcel Poetry Anthology ‘Relationships’ cluster
In Year 10 and Year 11, students will study the following elements of the GCSE qualifications:
19th Century Fiction
20th and 21st Century Non-Fiction
‘Romeo & Juliet’ – William Shakespeare
‘An Inspector Calls’ – J.B. Priestley
‘Pride and Prejudice’ – Jane Austen
Poetry from the Edexcel Poetry Anthology ‘Relationships’ cluster
Assessment and feedback
Across the GCSE course, students will be expected to undertake frequent assessments in order to prepare for the demands of the fully examined assessed qualification.
In order to encourage students to take ownership of their progress and understand fully what they need to do to improve, a range of marking and feedback methods are used:
- Peer and self-assessment in lessons against specific criteria and/or using model answers
- Teacher-led whole class feedback targeting common strengths and weaknesses, followed by students completing rigorous self-reflection and setting appropriate targets
- Individual learning conversations with students regarding assessment and exam performance
- Detailed teacher marking including comments, questions and targets
Please click here for the Edexcel GCSE English Language specification
Please click here for the Edexcel GCSE English Literature specification
A Level - English Literature
GCE Edexcel English Literature is a two year linear qualification. The A Level specification covers six set texts and is made up of three main components and coursework:
Component 1- Drama: The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde (Year 12), Shakespeare’s Othello; including the Edexcel Critical Anthology (Year 13) (30%)
Component 2 – Prose: Science and Society; The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Year 12) (20%)
Component 3 – Poetry: 20 poems from Poems of the Decade an anthology of the Forward Books of Poetry 2002-2011 (Year 12) and a selection of poems from English Romantic Verse (Penguin Classics) (Year 13) (30%)
Coursework (non-examination assessment) a 2,500 - 3,000 word essay comparing two literary texts of students’ choice (Year 13) (20%)
The course is taught by two teachers:
Component 1 and Poems from the Decade
Component 2, the coursework and the English Romantic Verse
The department uses a ‘flipped learning’ policy where students are required to prepare thoroughly prior to lessons by responding to guided questions and reading critically: for every hour taught, students are expected to do one hour of preparation. This leads to more effective exploration in lessons and deeper learning; extending students’ thinking but also giving them a sense of ownership and security around the subject.
Assessment and feedback
All three components and the coursework are assessed in terminal examinations at the end of the two year course. The board assesses the student responses against 5 assessment objectives:
Articulate informed, personal and creative responses to literary texts, using associated concepts and terminology, and coherent, accurate written expression
Analyse ways in which meanings are shaped in literary texts
Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received
Explore connections across literary texts
Explore literary texts informed by different interpretations
Because of the nature of the subject, discussion and oral feedback in class is very important in encouraging pupil progress. In preparation for these examinations students will be expected to write examination style essays regularly (sometimes timed in class). Teachers will mark these against the exam board’s marking criteria grids.
At the start of the course, essays will be marked fully by annotating in the margins, giving constructive comment, targets and a grade. Once students are secure, teachers will read the student response, tick elements which address the assessment objectives, write a comment, targets and a grade in their markbook. The student will then have a list of actions and questions requiring them to reflect on their response, which will have to be read aloud (either by the student themselves or by a peer). The student will need to comment on what they perceive they have done well and set two targets for further improvement next time. There will then be a brief interview with the teacher to see if there is parity. The next essay for this will be forward targeted i.e. their previous target will be written at the top of the essay.
Students will sit an internal examination covering the Prose, The Importance of Being Earnest and the Poems of the Decade elements of the course at the end of Year 12. They will also sit a PPE (pre-public exam) half way through Year 13.
Please click here for the Edexcel A Level English Literature specification
A Level - English Language and Literature
GCE English Language and Literature is a two year linear qualification. The A Level specification covers six set texts and is made up of three components:
Component 1 – Voices in Speech and Writing – examination (40%)
Component 2 – Varieties in Language & Literature – examination (40%)
Component 3 – Non-examination assessment - Investigating and Creating texts (20%).
English Language and Literature students explore the richness of language and literature and cultivate their own critical responses. This A Level English Language and Literature enables depth and breadth of study, with flexible content that supports independence, wide reading and creativity. GCE English Language and Literature presents clear continuity from GCSE English and GCSE English Literature with the study of literary and non-fiction written and spoken texts. The course also enables students to develop their creativity and expertise by producing their own original writing. Students explore texts of greater variety and challenge than those encountered at GCSE and learn to apply linguistic and literary concepts and methods to their analysis of texts.
Studying English Language and Literature will allow students to develop their own understanding of the writer’s craft while developing sophisticated analytical and writing skill. The course will enable students to make comparisons of writers’ approaches and methods while evaluating and discussing the features of genre, language and style, context, including changes in language and style over time.
Assessment and feedback
The assessment of Edexcel A Level in English Language and Literature is split into three components: two examined components which take place at the end of the two-year course and one non-examined component. The board assesses students against five assessment objectives:
Apply concepts and methods from integrated linguistic and literary study as appropriate, using associated terminology and coherent written expression
Analyse ways in which meanings are shaped in texts
Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which texts are produced and received
Explore connections across texts, informed by linguistic and literary concepts and methods
Demonstrate expertise and creativity in the use of English to communicate in different ways
Students will be required to not only complete sample examination style essays but also to participate in class, group and paired discussions as an integral component of the course requirements. Written work is marked in accordance with the exam board giving students constructive comments to ensure progression. Students will be required to resubmit entire pieces or aspects of an assessed piece ensuring that they have addressed their agreed targets, thus securing understanding of course requirements and meeting areas for individual development.
In addition to work set by class teachers, students are expected to review their own personalised learning, making sure that they focus on skills or tasks that need to be further developed or revisited outside lesson to ensure progress.
Students will sit an internal examination in Year 12, covering Component 1 – Voices in Speech and Writing in which students do a linguistic analysis, comparing one text from an anthology of non-literary and digital texts from 20th and 21st centuries provided by the board with an unseen text. They will also complete an extract based question on The Great Gatsby based on Component 2 – Varieties in Language and Literature. They will also sit a PPE (pre-public exam) half way through Year 13.
Please click here for the Edexcel A Level English Language and Literature specification
Students who achieve highly in this subject maintain their research and preparation for lessons, exploring ideas/themes/texts for themselves. They also are very aware of the assessment objectives and practise regularly; writing essays or responding to exam style questions provided by their teachers. The student who succeeds, reads!
GCSE: Sample Assessment material is available on the Edexcel website but no past papers as yet
A Level: Sample Assessment material is available on the Edexcel website but no past papers as yet
Useful external links
A play review of “Twelfth Night” http://www.helium.com/items/1233146-william-shakespeare-twelfth-night-review
Iambic Pentameter: http://shakespeare.about.com/od/shakespeareslanguage/a/i_pentameter.htm
An English degree is a highly respected qualification and could lead to a broad spectrum of careers: law; media and journalism; advertising and PR; business; government; and teaching, to name a few.
A Creative Writing Club is run once a week
Trips and visits
Trips in the 2016-2017 academic year have included: Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’ for Year 11; ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Year 10 and 11; and a trip to see ‘Matilda’ in the West End for Year 7.
In 2017-2018 there are to be a number of Live Screenings of internationally renowned plays including Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Frankenstein, and Othello