The Oldershaw English Department strives to empower all students to develop their literacy and oracy skills to be the best students of English they can be. We support and stretch our students to equip them with the skills and knowledge required for: appreciating literature, being critically aware, crafting their writing competently, and expressing their ideas articulately, so they can live successful and happy lives both academically and personally.
All learners study the requirements of the National Curriculum through a Literature- led approach to teaching English. Our curriculum immerses students in a literary world, allowing students to gain knowledge of modern and pre- 1900 prose, poetry, drama and non-fiction texts as well as developing knowledge of different social and historical contexts and wider vocabulary. From Rowling to Russell, Shakespeare to Shelley, Duffy to Dickens, we want students to become Masters of English, critical readers or even the next generation of wonderful writers.
We are passionately committed to providing a curriculum that:
The Year 7 journey begins with the study of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. We explore the characters and develop understanding of what life was like as an orphan during the Victorian era. Alongside this, students also develop their writing skills; practising a range of spelling, punctuation and grammatical rules from the English Mastery Writing units. Students also have a reading for pleasure lesson to enrich their love of reading. We then move on to studying William Shakespeare’s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Students are introduced to Shakespearean language, writing analytical paragraphs and studying context. Students continue to develop their knowledge and practise of spelling, punctuation and grammatical rules, through the separate Mastery Writing unit, as well as continuing their reading for pleasure lessons. We end the year with reading and studying Day Dreamer by Ian McEwan. Moving on from this, students will read a selection of Ancient Tales and develop their own creative writing skills. The English Mastery Writing unit and reading for pleasure lessons will continue.
The Year 8 journey begins with the study of three Sherlock Holmes stories. Students build on their contextual knowledge of the Victorian Era as well as further practise analysing quotes and writing analytical paragraphs. Students continue the English Mastery Writing unit and are regularly quizzed to monitor their progress. Students also have a reading for pleasure lesson to enrich their love of reading. We then move on to The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Students gain more practise of reading and analysing Shakespearean language, develop their contextual knowledge of the Jacobean Era whilst stretching their vocabulary when writing analytical paragraphs. Students continue to develop their knowledge and practise of spelling, punctuation and grammatical rules, through the separate Mastery Writing unit, as well as continuing their reading for pleasure lessons. We end the year with reading and studying Animal Farm by George Orwell. Further developing the students’ ability to analyse text whilst also considering their historical context and influences. Students continue to develop their knowledge and practise of spelling, punctuation and grammatical rules, through the separate Mastery Writing unit, as well as continuing their reading for pleasure lessons.
The Year 9 journey begins with the study of Jayne Eyre, focussing on her childhood. Students build on their contextual knowledge of the Victorian Era as well as further practise analysing quotes, developing a thesis and writing analytical paragraphs. Students continue the English Mastery Writing unit and are regularly quizzed to monitor their progress. Students also have a reading for pleasure lesson to enrich their love of reading. We then move on to reading and analysis Small Island written by Andre Levy. Students are given the opportunity to widen their knowledge of literature and historical context, as well as further develop a thesis alongside a line of enquiry. Students continue to develop their knowledge and practise of spelling, punctuation and grammatical rules, through the separate Mastery Writing unit and further opportunity of extended writing, as well as continuing their reading for pleasure lessons. We end the year with the study of a variety of poems, analysing poetic devices with preparation for GCSE. Students are given the opportunity to consolidate their skills in preparation for Key Stage four through the study of the poems and the Mastery Writing unit. Students will continue their reading for pleasure lessons with a focus on promoting diversity.
The Year 10 journey begins with the study of the first GCSE set text: ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens as part of the Literature curriculum. Prior knowledge of 19th century texts studied in KS3 enable students to analyse characters, themes, context and authorial intentions in more depth. Language study involves developing writing skills for the purpose of writing creatively. We then move on to studying the next Shakespeare play on their English learning journey: ‘Macbeth,’ which allows students to develop their analysis of Shakespearean language, methods and the importance of social/historical context of the play. Language study involves analysing and evaluating the writer’s craft in fiction with opportunities for students to continue to practise creative writing skills learnt in the previous term. We end the year with the study of ‘Blood Brothers’ to consolidate knowledge of scripts and dramatic devices, as well as analysing how Willy Russell conveys viewpoints related to the context of the play. During Language study lessons, students read and respond to a range of non-fiction texts which act as exemplars to support them in crafting their own transactional writing.
The Year 11 journey begins with retrieval practice to help students recall poems studied in year 10 before teaching the remaining poems from AQA’s poetry anthology. As students head toward December pre-public exams, they also revise: ‘A Christmas Carol’; how to analyse and compare non-fiction texts and how to develop transactional writing skills. We then move on to comprehensive revision of all GCSE English Literature texts, to help students retain knowledge and master revision skills. Students continue to have opportunities to further develop both transactional and creative writing skills whilst engaging in exam practice for both GCSE English Language papers. We end the year with an evaluation of students’ learning and abilities in order to provide targeted intervention within lessons to support them on their final journey towards exam success. Lessons become masterclasses for the knowledge and skills students need to achieve their best in formal examinations.
Students study the two year A Level English Literature course.
The year 12 journey begins with an introduction to literature and literary movements across time, explored through the theme of love. Students will strengthen their contextual knowledge and widen their reading repertoire by reading a range of texts as well as studying Othello’ by William Shakespeare and pre-1900 Love Poetry. We then move on to forging connections between canonical texts across time by reading, analysing and exploring critical views of ‘The Great Gatsby,’ ‘Jane Eyre’ and a modern novel or play chosen by students from a recommended reading list. Students develop their critical analysis as well as their ability to discuss wider reading at an advanced level. We end the year with facilitation of independent study, by providing support and guidance as students learn how to prepare to write a critical literature essay on two texts of their choice. Students develop their use of sophisticated, academic vocabulary whilst refining critical essay writing skills. In addition, all the set texts from year 12 are revised and masterclasses delivered prior to end of year pre-public exams.
Students study the two year A Level English Literature course.
The year 13 journey begins with a social and historical study of WW1 and how it impacted on literature during that time. This leads to students reading, analysing and evaluating critical interpretations of the texts: ‘The First Casualty’ by Ben Elton and ‘Journey’s End’ by R.C. Sherriff. We then move on to exploring WW1 war poetry, including the anthology ‘Up the Line to Death,’ whilst making connections across a range of texts studied in class as well as independently. Students continue to develop sophisticated vocabulary whilst refining critical essay writing skills through planning and writing a series of revision essays. We end the year with lecture-style exam masterclasses to support revision of all texts studied across the whole course in order to prepare students for exam success.
We are committed to enhancing our students’ cultural capital and strive to introduce all students to rich and sustained opportunities and experiences that develop every student holistically. Cultural capital in English is influenced by our school values of ‘pride, kindness and resilience.’
We believe cultural capital comes from a confident ability to engage in academic enquiry and discussion, therefore, in English we plan opportunities for discussion, debate, exploration of ideas, independent responses to new material, individual research and development of own lines of enquiry.
In addition, every student in year 11 will either visit the theatre or watch a production in school of one of the texts they have read. Widening participation events are organised with local universities and learning is brought to life when students watch film or drama adaptations of the texts studied as well as watching interviews on You Tube which relate to their area of study. Creative writing opportunities gives students the chance to enter a range of local and national competitions, many of which explore societal issues linked to charities in the local area.
We facilitate a range of educational visits and experiences including:
Post 16 students have the opportunity to study A level English Literature, resit GCSE English Language or study Functional Skills English in our 6th form. English provides a strong foundation for any job or profession that involves communication, writing and/or literacy knowledge. These include advertising and marketing, writing and journalism, law, teaching, performing arts, government, linguistics, foreign languages, ,media and design. Careers in sciences, engineering, technology and maths also need English and in fact any profession that requires analytical thinking, strong verbal and written communication, imagination or creativity can draw on the key skills acquired whilst studying English.
Some of our students have used successful grades in GCSE English Language, GCSE English Literature and A level English Literature to pursue further education courses as well as careers in teaching, politics and media.
At the end of Key Stage 4 pupils are equipped with the skills to follow potential routes into: