What we aim to achieve with students
The English Faculty aims to enable our pupils to cope with the demands made upon their speech, reading and writing throughout their lives, as well as developing the creative talents of our pupils. We believe that literature is a source of enjoyment and knowledge which will serve them throughout their lives, and encouraging our pupils to develop critical and exploratory responses to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts lies at the centre of our curriculum. We also hope to kindle an interest in, and impart some knowledge of, the English Language: its history, spelling, grammar, word formation and punctuation, and to foster the personal growth of our pupils by enabling them to explore experiences, organise their ideas and gain maturity through reading, writing and discussion.
The courses we run
From Year 7 to Year 9, pupils follow a curriculum map which covers fiction, non-fiction, media, modern texts, pre-1914 texts, prose, poetry, plays, ICT, speaking and listening, grammar, punctuation and spelling.
At KS3, pupils are taught in top, middle and bottom sets according to ability. Setting is based on half-termly assessed pieces, and generally sets are reviewed twice each year. In Year 7 and 8, top sets follow a Latin course as part of our enrichment programme. Those pupils who find English difficult are placed in smaller ‘Extra English’ groups. Years 7 and 8 provide an opportunity for pupils to consolidate their basic skills as well as try out new approaches and engage with more challenging texts. Year 9 provides a transition year, where pupils develop the skills they will need for GCSE study.
We follow the AQA exam board Specification A. Pupils are taught in sets according to ability; the majority of pupils study for two GCSE qualifications, English Language and English Literature, whilst a few sets focus on preparing for one GCSE in English to develop their key skills and obtain the highest GCSE English grade possible. GCSE English and GCSE English Language are assessed through controlled assessments (40%), speaking and listening assessments (20%) and one examination (40%). GCSE English Literature is assessed through controlled assessment (25%) and two examinations (75%).
All pupils follow a curriculum map that includes the study of Shakespeare, a Literary Heritage novel, poetry and prose from different cultures, media/non-fiction texts, and writing for a range of purposes, both creative and functional. Pupils studying for the Literature exam will also look at a twentieth-century play and a range of pre- and post-1914 Poetry.
We follow the AQA exam board Specification A. A-level English Literature is a fascinating, challenging and varied course that develops pupils’ critical analysis skills to an extremely high level; an independent interest in furthering wider reading is essential for success on the course. At AS, in Year 12, the course centres on the literature of World War I, spanning the genres of prose, poetry and drama. At A2, in year 13, we follow the theme of ‘Love Through the Ages’, studying Shakespeare and a wide range of prose, poetry and drama texts, from Chaucer to contemporary novels. The course is assessed through written coursework (40%) and one examination each year (60%).
Gifted and Talented Students
A Subject Specialist can be defined by his/her ability to write with some degree of technical complexity, and may display the following attributes:
- The ability to tailor style to potential readers
- The ability to use situational humour and irony
- A sense of imagination, together with an extensive vocabulary and fresh ideas
- The ability to express ideas whilst listening to others, and yet is sensitive to meaning
- The appetite to read an expansive range of subjects with enthusiasm
- The ability to critique text and comment subjectively
Items of particular interest
The English Faculty offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities, including the following:
- Creative writing club (every Wednesday, afterschool in M24)
- Theatre trips and visits throughout the year
- Our students enter a number of creative writing and poetry competitions, locally with the Windsor Festival, and nationally, often with successful results
- Rotary Club ‘Youth Speaks’ public speaking competition
- Berkshire Mock Trial competition
- Year 9 author visit
- KS3 BBC News Day
- Year 10 Handling the News Day
- Theatre trips for Sixth Form
- Mentor scheme for Year 12 English university applicants especially Oxbridge