The English Faculty at Caludon Castle is a lively, dynamic, forward-thinking team of teachers. Any visitor or student will find us to be committed, supportive, collaborative and inspirational in the classroom. We believe that students enjoy English because they are supported, well-taught and motivated by experienced, and successful teachers to achieve their full potential. Students come to English understanding the expectations we have of them in terms of work, commitment and behaviour. We want our learners to achieve their best so that they not only love our subject, but are also equipped with the Literacy skills that are so fundamental to the outside world.
We deeply believe that student learn best in a collaborative environment because collaborative learning provides students with opportunities to discuss their ideas and reflect upon their learning and understand the criteria for success. Our exam results are consistently good and students succeed well within English at all Key Stages.
Throughout Key Stage 3 we aim to develop the essential English language and literature skills needed for GCSE. Our curriculum is challenging and varied and helps prepare pupils for the linear exams they will sit at the end of Year 11.
Year 7 students are taught in tutor groups. The curriculum is mapped around the core skills: Reading, Writing, and Speaking and Listening and helps our learners to make a comfortable transition between Literacy in Primary school and English at Secondary school. Learners build on the key skills and understanding that they learn in Year 6 and are challenged by the topics and genres we cover in their first year of secondary school. Students are encouraged to continue to read widely at home.
Although the order can vary, the typical programme of study is:
We start the autumn term with a transition unit (2 weeks) using ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’ then move onto ‘Harry Potter’ (5 weeks) as our class reader, exploring modern literature. In the second half of the autumn term, we move onto creative writing using ‘Myths and Legends’ as a stimulus.
We start the spring term with an ‘Introduction to Shakespeare’ and move onto an ‘Introduction to Poetry’ to give students a flavour of the various strands in English at secondary school.
In the summer term we begin with exploring non-fiction texts, with a particular focus on writing to review, and end the year with the novel ‘Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ as a stimulus to develop exam skills and provide an opportunity to reflect on the skills learnt throughout the year.
Regular library lessons are embedded into our schemes of learning every fortnight to promote a love of reading and to enhance and develop research skills.
From the start of Year 8 students are placed into ability sets to ensure that they receive the support and challenge best suited to them as an individual. Our varied curriculum is designed to: foster a love of learning about English (including, but not limited to, a love of reading); enrich their understanding of the diversity and complexity of the English language; build upon their communication and literacy abilities, and develop both language and literature skills in preparation for studying English at GCSE level. Following on from the strong foundations established in year 7, our core foci are Reading (including summary, analysis, comparison and evaluation) and Writing (narrative, descriptive and non-fiction), with Speaking and Listening integrated throughout. By targeting these key skills from an earlier age, as well as engaging students with texts and schemes of learning that reflect their increasing maturity, we aim to give students a better understanding of the Key Stage 4 methods of working, thus ensuring their preparedness for year 10 and 11.
Within year 8, students will follow the schemes below with the aim of developing the skills detailed:
Students begin with a unit on literature, for year 8 this is extract based, examining Victorian literature. This scheme allows students to develop their English Language skills by focusing on GCSE style questions. It also enables them to understand the effect of Victorian context upon both the writing and interpretation of a text in preparation for their study of A Sign of Four at GCSE level.
The second half term is dedicated to developing the students’ creative writing skills based around the picture book The Arrival. Within GCSE exams, students will have to write in a variety of forms (letters, speeches, descriptive writing), we believe that it is crucial that they understand and have room to experiment with the rules and conventions of each text type, not only for these exams, but also to provide them with a deeper understanding of effective communication for wider life.
Shakespeare becomes the focus of student learning, with key emphasis not only on understanding Shakespearian text, but also upon enjoying it. We hope to enable students to access and explore their British cultural heritage through The Tempest, as well as embedding the necessary analytical skills for studying Macbeth at KS4.
In an attempt to mirror their future year 11 experiences, students are provided with an anthology of poetry around theme of different cultures. Students learn how to interpret and infer from poetry as a discrete skills but are also encouraged to develop their analysis to a more in-depth level from earlier in the year, as well as recognising that the skills that they are continuing to cultivate are transferable across form and content.
We delve into an understanding of non-fiction texts linked by the theme of crime and punishment, both through reading and writing, to provide students a glimpse of the kinds of texts that they will most regularly come into contact with as they enter the adult world. This scheme is also deigned to enhance their English Language skills for KS4 study.
Year 8 will finish the year by studying a modern play, The Mouse Trap. We aim to use modern plays to ensure that students have a strong foundation of understanding of dramatic devices and conventions for the study of An Inspector Calls in year 10.
Year 9 follow the same model of study to develop the same skills as in year 8 (detailed above) but at a more sophisticated level. The texts around which we cultivate these skills are:
Autumn Term 1
The Novel – ‘Of Mice and Men’ or ‘Woman in Black.’
Creative writing skills based upon a series of extracts from Gothic literature (including Frankenstein, The Invisible Man and Dracula).
Spring Term 1
Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
Poetry anthology exploring the theme of relationships.
Non-fiction texts based around the theme of inequality in sport.
Modern Drama – Blood Brothers.
English Year 10 and 11
(English Language and English Literature GCSE)
At Caludon, we follow the AQA English Language and English Literature courses. This means students will be awarded with two separate GCSEs at the end of their Key Stage 4 experience.
The course that has been designed by the English Faculty is vibrant, varied, and challenging. In this 2 year experience we focus on many skills: reading non-fiction and writing for different purposes and audiences; responding to poetry, both studied and unseen, to prepare students for their literature examination. Students will be given ample opportunity to practise past exam papers as part of our schemes of learning through progress checks and during more formal mock exams.
Speaking and listening is still incorporated into our schemes of learning, not only because this is endorsed by the exam board, but because of the value we see in preparing our students for the future: to prepare students for interviews and future employment or further education. Students are required to participate in a formal Speaking and Listening assessment to allow them to complete their Language course and they are awarded with a Pass, Merit, or Distinction award. They cannot pass their Language course without this, despite it not contributing directly to their GCSE grade.
Examples of topics and texts pupils study are:
- The Sign of Four
- Of Mice and Men
- An Inspector Calls
- Poetry: Power and Conflict
- A wide range of Fiction and Non Fiction Writing
In 2015, the exam specifications changed considerably for English Language and Literature:
- No coursework means student have only the exam to show their knowledge and understanding.
- Everything is learnt over years 10 and 11, and students sit their exams at the end of the two years (linear), therefore it is imperative students focus at all times to ensure they don’t miss any vital learning.
- The exams are closed-text, so students can’t take any studied texts in with them: they must remember key points and quotations form the set texts
- The set texts are part of the LITERATURE course.
- In the LANGUAGE exam, students analyse extracts from FICTION PROSE and NON-FICTION prose
- Students study challenging texts: modern texts and texts from the 19th Century
In Year 10, students are well-supported for the challenge that GCSE study brings. We introduce and embed the key skills necessary to be successful, and these are built upon and developed further in Year 11. Students will be given the opportunity to attend revision session starting in the November of Year 11; these sessions be very useful for the students, supporting them in revisiting texts they studied in Year 10, in preparation for their exams in May and June.
A-LEVEL ENGLISH LANGUAGE
Nationally, English Language is one of the fastest growing A-levels as well as a rapidly expanding course at undergraduate level. At Caludon, students are able to immerse themselves in the language of everyday life, exploring how language can be manipulated by situation and how language develops. A Level English Language further develops the skills used at GCSE, exploring language in a more analytical manner. The course is a useful qualification for students wishing to study degree courses in: Linguistics, English, Law, Psychology and other arts based subjects. It is also useful for students considering careers in teaching, public services and journalism.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE YEAR 12
Students are taught by two specialist language teachers. The course embraces spoken and written texts in various social contexts. The first year is underpinned by the study of linguistic methods: semantics, lexis, discourse, phonology, grammar, graphology and pragmatics.
Paper 1: Exploring language (50% of AS Level)
Students will learn how to analyse a range of written and spoken text types, considering how language is used for purpose in a range of contexts.
Paper 2: Exploring Context (50% of AS Level)
AS English Language explores how language can be used in different ways depending on gender, occupation and social status. Students begin to explore the variations across the English language and uncover the theories behind this. There is also an opportunity for students to put their knowledge to creative use, producing a discursive piece based on one of the topics studied.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE YEAR 13
Students will continue to develop the skills gained in Year 12 and in addition will explore the development of language over time.
Paper 1: Exploring language (40% of A Level)
Students will explore how specific language frameworks can be used within different text types, and make use of their own creative flair in a piece of original writing, based on a topic studied during the two years of study.
Paper 2: Dimensions of linguistic variation (40% of A Level)
Students explore the developing language of children aged 0-7 years and investigate the development of the English language over time, both within Britain and abroad. This paper also allows students to make use of their knowledge from across the two years of study, exploring how a text can be affected by a variety of linguistic theories and contexts.
Independent language research (20% of A Level)
In this unit students apply their knowledge of linguistic methods and concepts to an investigation of their choice. This is accompanied by an academic poster which allows student to present their findings in a similar manner to many undergraduate English Language and Linguistics courses.
A Level English Literature
English Literature continually proves to be a popular A Level choice both at Caludon and nationally. The course encourages the study of both contemporary and classic texts from a theoretical perspective, as well as allowing students to develop their own enjoyment of a variety of literary genres. At Caludon, students will study a linear course with examinations at the end of their two years of study. A Level English Literature is an ideal qualification for students wishing to study arts-based subjects at undergraduate level and is complementary for careers in teaching, public service and law.
ENGLISH LITERATURE YEAR 12 and 13
Discussion and critical theory are integral to the English Literature course, enhancing students’ knowledge of English Literature as well as their understanding of critical interpretations and context. Students will study a range of tragedy texts for their course, understanding how language is used in poetry, plays and prose.
Paper 1: Aspects of tragedy (40% of A Level)
- Death of a Salesman
- The poetry of John Keats
Paper 2: Elements of social and political protest (40% of A Level)
- The Kite Runner
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- The poetry of William Blake
Non-exam assessment: independent study (20% of A Level)
Students are given the opportunity to study two texts of their choice, which they will explore using a theoretical approach. The teachers will support with the students’ choice of texts and theories.
A Level English Language and Literature
The combined A Level has been introduced at Caludon to provide more students with the opportunity to explore English. The course covers both aspects of English, allowing students to study literary texts as well as analyse a wide range of non-fiction texts in a systematic, linguistic manner. A Level English Language and Literature is suitable for students wishing to study English or another arts-based subject at undergraduate level.
English Language and Literature Year 12
Students analyse a pre-set collection of texts, exploring language in a literary and linguistic manner. They are also given the opportunity to write creatively in their exam, using a text as a stimulus. The assessment of the Year 12 course is 100% exam based.
English Language and Literature Year 13
Year 13 develops on the previous year’s work, exploring language and literature in greater depth. Students examine their own linguistic and creative flair through applying linguistic frameworks. The assessment of the course is 80% exam and 20% non-exam.
Non-exam assessment: independent study (20% of A Level)
Students investigate a chosen theme and texts, exploring how language is used for effect.