‘Some books are to be tasted; others to be swallowed; and some few to be chewed and digested’
Ethos of the English Department
As a department, we are committed to:
- Planned mixed ability teaching groups where every pupil is given the opportunity to make a contribution and develop as a confident speaker, reader and writer and develop life-long skills.
- Providing high quality teaching of stimulating lessons where careful planning ensures all pupils are valued and given opportunities to achieve and enjoy the learning experience.
- Sustaining a climate of professionalism where each member of our dynamic team is valued, supported and empowered to contribute to the forward planning and shaping of the vision of the department and our role in the whole school curriculum.
- Maintaining a strong ethos of sharing and engaging in discussion about pedagogy which continues to be the main unifying force in our department.
- Developing practitioners who actively seek to improve her/his practice, always ensuring that the pupils are at the centre of what we do.
We are proud of our results and continue to reflect on ways to encourage our pupils’ self-improvement and our own craft as teachers.
Aims of the English Department
- To nurture an interest in a wide variety of Literature and all aspects of the English Language.
- To enable students to think imaginatively and to articulate well-considered responses and views. To develop confident and articulate speakers and listeners.
- To enable pupils to understand the world around them through exploration of both contemporary and pre- 1914 Literature – including fiction, non-fiction and literary non-fiction.
- To develop critical thinking skills and to become confident reflective thinkers.
- To encourage students to explore a range of different viewpoints on key issues that affect them and characters they discover in texts.
- To transform students into independent learners who will be able to meet the challenges of an ever changing world and to develop emotional intelligence, empathy and tolerance.
- To enable pupils to explore English beyond the classroom and to embed in them, life-long reading habits.
- To inspire students to want to do English Language and/or English Literature and other related courses at university or other post-18 pathways.
Why study English?
So, you like reading great books or learning about how the English Language works, but you might still wonder why study English Language or English Literature? English Language and English Literature are, undoubtedly, the most important subjects you can study at school. The study of literature gives you an insight into human emotions and behaviour that very few other subjects can achieve. It is something that can be enjoyably explored through studying the works of Shakespeare, Orwell, Steinbeck or of writers, poets and playwrights of the eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. An appreciation of literature often develops into an interest in books and reading and this helps develop the extensive vocabulary and reading skills we need in all aspects of our everyday lives.
In addition to the study of literature, the study of language offers students the opportunity to develop their writing, reading and speaking skills to an exceptional level; something undoubtedly key in their future lives. Through understanding the effects of a well-chosen verb or a thoughtful subordination in a sentence, pupils begin to realise how they can form and adapt the language for situations they will encounter in everyday life, including later careers.
Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)
At Key Stage 3, the pupils develop a wide range of skills through a range of units of study. Every lesson begins with 15 minutes Private Reading where pupils read their own books or choose one from the classroom reading box that stocks books written by a diverse range of writers including those from Black and Asian heritages.
Pupils will study Shakespeare plays and contemporary texts such as War Horse, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, Of Mice and Men, Animal Farm. During their studies, they will also cover a range of contemporary drama texts, poetry anthologies and non-fiction texts, all designed to build their essential analytical and evaluative skills in writing, reading and speaking and listening.
Year 7 and 8 pupils have timetabled library lessons once a fortnight where they follow the Accelerated Reading Programme. The programme allows them to choose books at their reading level and they read these, take quizzes and star assessments to help them develop their reading ability.
Year 8 students take part in the traditional popular Public Speaking Competition where each pupil chooses and researches a topical issue of their choice, writes a persuasive speech and delivers it to their classmates. Class winners are entered into a final stage where the last finalists present to the whole year group and invited guests, including the head teacher and members of the Governing body of the school.
Year 9 students follow two GCSE transition units in the summer term: Gothic Unit and the Non-fiction News Unit to prepare term for responding to challenging reading texts and writing fiction and non-fiction for a range of purposes and audiences. Assessments throughout Y9 are designed to reflect the GCSE English Language and English Literature exam papers.
All KS3 students are assessed regularly: interim and main assessments - and given specific personalised targets to help them improve in both their essential literacy and competencies assessed against the frameworks for the particular units of study.
Key Stage 4 (Years 10 & 11 - GCSE)
At Key Stage 4, the students study for two GCSEs: English Language and English Literature. They will study a wide range of topics including Shakespeare plays and poetry, modern novels by international authors, fiction and non-fiction writing skills and they will study how spoken language is used and adapted. They will complete a range of interim assessment tasks including mock exams to help track their progress and prepare them for the GCSE exams. Both GCSEs are studied through the Eduqas (formerly WJEC) exam board and more information can be found at http://www.eduqas.co.uk/
GCSE English Language:
This subject, allows pupils to develop their skills as both readers and writers. A range of modern fiction texts and non-fiction texts (from Victorian and modern times) are explored where students are guided in analysing and appreciating the effect of language, form and structure. Pupils also engage in writing creatively for both real and imagined audiences in both an imaginary and discursive way. Additionally, a non-examined compulsory speech unit further encourages communication and presentation skills.
GCSE English Literature:
This subject allows pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding of both modern and traditional literature. A range of drama, prose and poetry is studied. Pupils are also encouraged to enjoy literature and to read as widely as possible. Our core texts include a Shakespearean play, a Victorian novel and a range of poetry through the ages.
Key Stage 5 (Years 12 & 13)
The English department offers two separate A Level courses: English Language and English Literature. Both courses are highly successful and offer the students a superb opportunity to develop their enjoyment of English to a higher level over a two-year linear course. In English Literature, the students study the literature of the WW1 and the literature of love.
In English Language, the students develop their skills as investigative linguists. Their study includes topics such as Child Language Acquisition and the Development of the English Language since 1500. Both disciplines develop the students’ independence as learners and prepare them for a wide range of opportunities post-6th form. Both A Level courses are studied through the AQA exam board and more information can be found at http://www.aqa.org.uk/
For more information, please click on the link below which takes you to the Curriculum Information Booklets on our school website. Here, you will find more detailed information on the curriculum and assessment provision for every year group – from Year 7 to Year 13.
Students who have studied English at Woodbridge often go on to have successful careers in Journalism, Government, Law, Education and many more. It goes without saying that competencies gained through the study of English Language and English Literature, underpin all the skills required to be successful in every career and in life.