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Sir William Ramsay School

Empowering Everyone to Achieve

English

English is a fantastic subject. We work with every student in the school form years 7 to 13, offering a flexible approach that brings the best out of students of all abilities. We see English as central to all experiences. We love the richness, variety and subtleties of our language. It can inform, persuade and manipulate us; it can move, challenge and disturb us. Language and Literature provoke thought and deepen understanding.

We believe that a deep awareness of language and literature empowers the individual and it is our aim to help our pupils to become independent thinkers and to help them to find their individual voice. As well as enabling pupils to find a way of looking at the world, we also give them the skills to enter fully into society and to feel a common sense of humanity with others.

Key Stage 3

The skills developed in English are central for access to the full curriculum. Our students follow a three-year programme, rigorously centred on the key skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening, which will eventually form the core of their GCSE study. In particular:

  • We aim to build on pupils' experience of the Literacy Hour through partnership with primary schools, to ensure clear transition and progression.  We run an Accelerated Reader Programme via our Learning Resources centre, to ensure that all students are confident readers by the end of KS3
  • We aim to offer a comprehensive variety of styles of teaching and learning to encourage active involvement for all pupils and to aid in the development of responsible, independent learners.
  • English plays a key role in delivering the school's Cross Curricular Literacy objectives, including explicit links to the teaching of Modern Foreign Languages, Humanities,  Drama and  ICT.
  • Lively displays ensure that students' work is supported and shared, creating an interactive environment in the classroom and recognising achievement at all levels.
  • Our wide range of resources and detailed programmes of study enable our students to appreciate the work of writers from our literary heritage as well as those from other cultures and traditions.
  • Non-fiction and media texts are explored, helping pupils to become confident readers and authors in many contexts.
  • Pupils are taught how to adapt their speech to suit a wide range of situations. Drama is used as a tool throughout lessons to bring concepts to life and encourage an imaginative, empathic response.
  • The importance of grammar, punctuation and spelling is recognised throughout Key Stage 3, as is the role of drafting in improving pupils' work.
  • The use of ICT is regarded as essential for research, presentation and drafting of work, with lessons set aside for such purposes.
  • Personal reading time ensures each lesson promotes independent reading, with a programme of reviews created to develop the interests and experience of all pupils.
  • We have high expectations of all our students as they approach their GCSE studies in Year 10, and actively help them achieve the best results. We want them to progress confidently towards GCSE and on into sixth form study.

Clubs

  • Awards and Competitions: Open to KS3. When the shortlist for the Carnegie Children’s  Book Award is published, our weekly lunch club enables students to read, discuss, recommend and review the shortlist, choosing their own winners and then watching the Award ceremony to find out who actually wins.  Students can also enter the Young Writers “Spine Chillers” Mini-Saga competition each Christmas term, for Kindle Fire prizes.
  • After School Club: (Mondays and Fridays 3:00pm - 4:00pm). Open to KS4. Students may catch up on their Controlled Assessments or missing class work due to illness or absence. These sessions are tailored to individual needs. After Christmas, poetry sessions and exam practice will also be offered. Many members of staff are on hand to offer help and advice.
  • Various theatre trips. These run throughout the year for all students, especially those in Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5.

KS3 Reading List

The search for lively, engaging and challenging reading matter is something that occupies the thoughts of students, teachers and parents. Reading is enjoyable and it provides a fantastic opportunity to revel in your own imagination or be transported by the skill of an author. It is also a great way to improve your own writing and spelling. What follows is an introduction to some of the books that we feel sure will help you develop your skills. In many cases this acts as a list of recommended authors. The list is divided into year groups, but of course there is a good deal of flexibility, and something for everyone to enjoy.

How many have you read?

We welcome your suggestions and recommendations. Which of your favourites have we missed out? Write a riveting review to convince us to add it to the list and see it printed on our original work page.

Key Stage 4

GCSE - English Language

What are the aims of the course?

This course enables students to explore a range of texts and to study writers' use of language. It develops an awareness of the need for standard English, and writing for different purposes and audiences.   It gives students the opportunity to communicate effectively through speech and writing.

Who is it for?

Everyone! English is a core subject. English is for life, not just exams.

What sort of work are students expected to do?

You will read a range of texts - literary and non-literary. These will include some nineteenth century fiction,  poetry, leaflets, newspapers, advertisements, etc. You will watch moving media images such as films, television programmes and advertisements.

You will write in different styles - fiction and non-fiction. You will learn how to write a formal letter, a speech, a feature article, a news report, a leaflet, an advice sheet, a diary, an autobiography etc.

What are students expected to do for homework?

There is no coursework in the Edexcel 9-1 GCSE.  You will be expected to read independently, both the set texts and reading around the subject for enrichment.  You will occasionally be set mock exam essays and shorter pieces of writing.  You will need to prepare work for speaking & listening assignments, practise doing questions from old examination papers, read texts in preparation for your coursework or for the examination and practise writing in different styles.

GCSE - English Literature

What are the aims of the course?

As well as enriching students and, hopefully, instilling in them a lifelong love of literature, this course enables students to explore literary texts and to appreciate the way writers achieve their effects. It also develops an awareness of the social, historical and cultural contexts of texts.

Who is it for?

Everyone.  English Literature teaches students about the human condition and what it is really like to be alive.   English Literature is a great course for students who enjoy reading and analysing texts.

What sort of work are students expected to do?

You will read a range of texts: a nineteenth century novel, a play, and selected poetry.

What will you be expected to do for homework?

There is no coursework in the Edexcel 9-1 GCSE.  You will be expected to read widely, both set texts and other works.  You will do smaller pieces of analytical writing, as well as longer mock-essay style pieces. 

Key Stage 5 – English Literature A-level

Why study English A-level?

English is an excellent choice if you are considering a career in law, media, advertising, PR, civil service, journalism, teaching, business, librarianship, acting, publishing, advertising, administration, film, radio or television. However, if you have a good qualification in English at Advanced level it will be an asset in any job.

English is a popular option; as well as being enjoyable, English Literature will develop your ability to assimilate and analyse larger pieces,  communicate effectively and develop a degree of emotional intelligence and awareness of the world - all highly desirable skills in today's employment market.

The course will introduce you to different writers throughout history and give you an understanding of the conventions, structure and stylistic features of different genres. You will look at how different texts relate to their audiences and you will deepen your appreciation of literary styles.

We follow the AQA A syllabus, and our study incorporates prose, plays and poetry.  In Year 12, we will look at some twentieth century prose, such as “The Great Gatsby” as well as a Shakespeare play, like “Othello”. There will also be an opportunity to learn how to analyse unseen poetry.

As the course progresses, we can opt for a modern literature module or a WW1 module,  together with an invigorating coursework module in which students compare two different texts, of different genres and periods. This is a great opportunity for students to enrich themselves and extend their reading of the English Literary Canon.