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Students studying english



Here at Bitterne Park, English is taught to ensure pupils are motivated and inspired when they read, write, speak and listen. The department continues to develop its use of Media and ICT to enhance the competencies within English.

Key stage 3

Key stage 3 is designed to develop your reading, writing and speaking and listening skills. You will learn new skills to prepare you for GCSE success.

Year 7

In Year 7 we focus on developing confidence in the skills that you gain at primary school to help develop independence.  You will also be introduced to new skills you will need for the study of English at secondary school. You start by exploring the new GCSE assessment objectives through the works of Roald Dahl. This is a fantastic opportunity to read texts from one of Britain’s favourite authors, as well as write your own version of his ‘Revolting Rhymes’. In the latter part of the Autumn term we explore another of our beloved authors, Charles Dickens. Moving into the Spring Term, you are introduced to the works of William Shakespeare. In this unit you will not only have a go at reading his plays, but performing them as well! Moving on, we learn about how writers use language and structural devices to convey viewpoints in our Survival unit. Finally, in the Summer Term we study a unit called Around the World: a chance to develop your imaginative skills regarding travel and the world around us.  All the programmes of study lead to an independent assessment that prepares you for independent thinking in an assessment situation.    In addition, every Year 7 student has one lesson a week where they can become independent readers using the ‘Accelerated Reader’ programme.  This personalised and targeted reading scheme helps you to develop a love of literature and increase your levels of literacy.

Year 8

In Year 8 we begin the year with an exploration of ‘English through the Ages’, looking closely at ‘Beowulf’ alongside other Arthurian Tales from the Middle Ages. This allows students to develop their written skills; more specifically writing in a particular style, using a range of vocabulary that is appropriate to the era. We then move on to our Shakespeare unit where we will be exploring one of Shakespeare’s most well recognised plays: ‘Much Ado about Nothing’. It is within this unit that students will develop their analytical skills through a comparison of two characters within the play. In preparation for their studies at KS4, they will be assessed towards the English Literature Paper – Section B, analysing an extract taken directly from the play.

Our journey through the ages continues as we move on to ‘Gothic Fiction’ in the Spring Term, exploring a range of texts that will allow students to gain an insight into how to write for a particular genre. They will then be assessed on their ability to write an opening to their own piece of gothic fiction. We then finish our journey through the ages as we explore ‘Dystopian Fiction’. Students will again have their analytical skills tested as they will be asked to make detailed comments on how a writer uses language to engage their reader.

The Summer Term comprises of a unit on ‘Moving Images’ and the exploration of the methods that directors use to engage their audiences, followed by ‘Speech Writing’ in the latter part of the term. Again, students are asked to write for a specific purpose as we explore linguistic techniques that can be used to persuade, equipping them with the skills needed to excel in the English Language Paper 2.

Year 9

Year 9 works as an introduction to the new English GCSE curriculum. You will study three thematic units exploring a range of texts including fiction and non-fiction, pre and post 20th Century poetry and literature, as well as literature from different cultures. In the Autumn term you will explore perspectives of war through descriptive writing and text studies. There will be an emphasis on articulating ideas not only through written work but through debates. In the Spring Term you study Equality. This is a chance to explore social and historical issues of discrimination and persecution through research and investigation. This is an opportunity to refine your writing skills through writing discursive texts and explore John Steinbeck’s acclaimed novella ‘Of Mice and Men’. Finally, in the summer term we move on to explore the presentation of relationships in poetry and William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. This unit will equip you with the analysis and evaluative skills needed in years 10 and 11.

Key stage 4

At Key Stage 4 Year 10 and 11 are working towards the new reformed GCSEs.

Reformed GCSEs in English are 100% exam

What students will be studying:

AQA GCSE English Language:

Paper 1 – Explorations in creative reading and writing

Paper 2 –  Writer’s viewpoints and perspectives

AQA GCSE English Literature:

Paper 1 – Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel

Paper 2 – Modern texts and poetry

All exams will be sat in the Summer of 2017/18 and there will be no modular or ‘early’ entries.

1. All students will sit both English Language and English Literature, which carry equal importance.

2. There is no coursework element – each GCSE is focused on 100% exam as an outcome.

3. There are no tiers of entry (Foundation or Higher) – all students will sit the same exams.

4. English Literature exams are closed book

Key Stage 5

The AS for English Literature is now 100% exam.  Students study a range of texts that focus on Love Through The Ages throughout the year with a final exam in June.  Current texts are The Taming of the Shrew, Rebecca, Mill on the Floss and AQA Advanced Level Poetry Anthology.

During Y13, the aim of the course is to develop students’ understanding of writer’s methods, genre and context through an exploration of war texts.  Current texts being studied are Life Class, Wilfred Owen’s Poetry, Journey’s End.  This will be assessed at the end of the A-Level course alongside texts and skills they acquired in Y12.  Students also submit an independent research task that explores an aspect of literature that interests them personally.

Key Stage 5 Curriculum Map: English Literature AQA Specification A

English Literature A Level

Exam Board – AQA (English Literature A)

Course Description

In their first year, students will focus on the theme of Love Through the Ages. Within this, students will study a range of different texts and genres which focus on the theme of love. These include Rebecca, The Mill on the Floss, The Taming of the Shrew and Pre-1900 poetry. These will be assessed by two exams at the end of the first year, so students have an AS qualification before being assessed on these again for the A Level in Year two.

In the second year, students focus on World War One and its Aftermath, studying texts such as Journey’s End and Wilfred Owen poetry. In the second year, 20% of the A Level is assessed through coursework, where students write a comparative essay based on texts of their own choice. The other 80% is assessed through two exams covering the content of the two years.

Future progression

Gaining an A Level in English Literature will enhance not only your knowledge of the literary heritage but also provide you with:

  • Excellent communication skills.
  • The ability to express your own ideas and opinions.
  • The ability to analyse and construct coherent and sharply focused arguments.

Facilities & Resources

In English we use the Destinations Lounge for the Accelerated Reader programme as well as a resource for independent research.

We have a class set of iPads helping us to bring learning into the 21st Century

Trips & Extra Curricular Activities

We are linked with the ‘Royal Shakespeare Company’ and are part of an ongoing programme involving productions and visits to Stratford on Avon.

We regularly look at ways to connect the world of work with our studies.


Mrs Macdonald (Head of English)

Ms Earle (2nd in English)

Miss Rebecca Connery (2nd in English)

Mrs Nicolette Bebee (English Teacher/Literacy Co-ordinator)

Miss Rebecca Brown (English Teacher)

Miss Emily Dolan (English Co-ordinator)

Miss Samantha Freer (English Teacher)

Rachel Bate (English Teacher)

Laura Woodley (English Teacher)

Lorna Allwright (English Teacher)

Emily Lewington (English Teacher)