You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.
– Annie Proulx (Novelist and journalist)
The Stanley High School English Department believe that English language and literature provide a way of allowing students to develop wide ranging ideas about the world and creating critical thinkers. We support the whole school curriculum aims by enabling students to become successful and curious learners, resilient individuals and responsible and healthy citizens. We aim to aim to inspire creativity, imagination and inquiring minds, ensuring that our students are equipped for both a further education and other aspects of life.
The curriculum in both key stages is designed to ensure that all key skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) are covered in every unit and opportunities to revisit key skills, language and grammar points in different ways are built into students’ learning journeys:
English Curriculum Maps
The usual allocation of time per 50 period cycle is as follows:
- Year 7 – 6 lessons (5 in the classroom, 1 in the library). In Year 7, students are provided with a taster of each language to allow them to make an informed decision at the end of the year about which language they wish to study during the rest of their time at Stanley.
- Year 8 – 6 lessons (5 in the classroom, 1 in the library).
- Year 9 – 7 lessons (6 in the classroom, 1 in the library).
- Year 10 – 7 lessons covering both English Language and English Literature
- Year 11 – 7 lessons covering both English Language and English Literature
During KS4, students follow the AQA GCSE course in both English Language and English Literature:
During the course, they will continue to develop their skills and knowledge of a wide range of texts from different time periods, genres and text types, as well as developing their ability to communicate formally through speaking and listening. The AQA specifications provide a good level challenge for students and, staff have an excellent knowledge of exam requirements to provide additional support for our students.
The department is passionate about students developing their cultural capital to appreciate literature and language in context. It is through these contexts that students will develop a spiritual, moral, social and cultural awareness that will shape their personal ethos as they progress through the school. The English department are firm believers in language and literature for all and have the highest expectations of every student. The use of support materials, such as scaffolds, the modelling of good examples and open-ended tasks allow all students to achieve, regardless of prior attainment. Materials to stretch and challenge students, particularly in literature are available for our most able. In class support from teaching assistants is available for SEND students where possible and revision materials are purchased for disadvantaged students. Additional support with homework and revision is available to all students.
Student progress is monitored through both formative and summative assessments. Formal summative assessments in at least one of the key skills of reading, writing and speaking and listening are carried out during each unit of work at Key Stage 3. We aim for assessments in reading and writing every term. While in Year 10, students are assessed using GCSE style questions on the text / topic being covered in the unit. In Year 11, we conduct ‘mini mocks’ each week on the texts and topics required for the GCSE courses. These are designed to develop resilience and independence in students, as well as removing the potential anxiety of sitting the formal assessments in the hall. Also, within Year 11, students will complete two sets of formal mock examinations to ensure that they have had the experience of doing this prior to their final GCSE examinations.
These formal assessments are used to track pupils progress through the curriculum. However, no single assessment is used in isolation and the regular formative assessment of classwork and homework is also taken into consideration. All forms of assessment are used to identify which students require additional support or challenge, which areas of the curriculum may require further reinforcement and they are also used to inform future changes to schemes of work.
By the end of their English learning journey at Stanley High School, students’ understanding of both a range of texts and the skills that underpin both English language and English literature will allow them to use their knowledge for a wide range of real-life situations. They will have developed critical thinking and analytical skills that will be beneficial in a range of disciplines, and they will have been provided with the foundation for learning other subjects with high literacy content.
Suggested post-16 pathways and possible careers
Students can continue to study both English Language and Literature at A Level. Runshaw offers A Levels in English Language, English Literature and combined English Language and Literature. These courses are also offered at KGV College, while Christ the King Sixth Form Centre offer English Language and English Literature. Studying English at A Level could also be beneficial when applying for a range of other courses at university, including law and RE.
The study of English can lead to careers in a variety of areas, including:
- Digital copywriter
- Publishing copy-editor/proof-reader
- Secondary school teacher / English as a foreign language teacher
- Web content manager
- Advertising copywriter
- Learning mentor
- Marketing executive
- Media researcher
- Primary school teacher
- Social media manager
Students are given the opportunity to participate in a range of enrichment activities to enhance their learning. We commemorate Remembrance each year with year 7 creating a ‘Path of Poppies.’ All students in Year 7 and 8 participate in Book Buzz, which enables them to choose a new book to keep. Reading recommendations are provided for all students through library lessons and reading lists are often provided for parents as well. We have Reading Buddies across KS3 who go out to read to younger children and also have Curriculum Champions who often work on our primary taster days. Each Christmas, Year 7 participate in Santa’s Secret Stories, where they gift a book they have enjoyed through a Secret Santa.