Each year group in Sexey’s School’s English Department works under an overarching theme: Year 7 is Journeys, Year 8 is Heroes and Villains, Year 9 is Conflict.
With regular use of recording, evaluating and reflecting upon progress (major pieces are kept in each student’s Key Stage 3 portfolio, held in class), the curriculum allows staff and students alike to see rates of progress, clarity of next steps and deeper learning through more reflection time.
A “Progress/Evaluation Card” is kept by all students in the portfolio on which is recorded all major pieces of work – projects, longer writing tasks etc. to allow students to comment and reflect on their work, their strengths and next steps, and to see by looking at levels awarded, how progress is being made.
Key Skills are still being addressed both through Literacy starters – new for all three years from September 2015 – a big investment in Year 9 has already been made, but new materials for years 7 and 8 are in preparation, in line with the new GCSE focus on Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar. Core content is also reflecting the extra emphasis placed upon Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar across the key stages.
Texts and themes studied
Year 7 texts: The Odyssey, Beowulf, Kenzuke’s Kingdom, The Canterbury Tales, The Tempest. Themes of Self and Celebration are covered in the Michaelmas Term.
Some Year 7 students also receive a further two hours of timetabled Literacy Support lessons to embed those skills acquired above.
Year 8 texts: Macbeth, The Hound of the Baskervilles, An Introduction to Gothic Horror (Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde), and Media texts featuring the films of Tim Burton, the language of advertising, newspapers and Children’s TV language acquisition. Non-fiction texts are based upon The Unexplained, a unit on Writing Skills focussing on the plight of the Titanic and an Independent Reading Project make up the units.
Year 9 texts: Romeo and Juliet, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, War Horse, Of Mice and Men, Stone Cold, The Pearl plus additional units on Heaven and Hell (More Able students only, featuring Dante’s Inferno, The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, Paradise Lost and Dr. Faustus extracts), Reading Skills, World War One poetry and Poetry from the USA. More emphasis on pre-1900 non-fiction for GCSE preparation will also be included.
The current English course is AQA Literature and GCSE Language – new specification, linear (i.e. no coursework) so exams are at the end of Year 11. Current Year 11 texts include An Inspector Calls, The History Boys, A Christmas Carol, The Sign of Four and some non-fiction texts covering Laurie Lee and Charles Dickens’ diaries amongst others.
Core support is a new GCSE option providing students in need of more support two hours a fortnight on key skills in literacy – reading, spelling, grammar, writing for purpose and audience, etc.
Updated May 2017