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, and out of the classroom. We believe that students enjoy English because they are supported, well-taught, and motivated by innovative, 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.
Our curriculum is challenging and varied, and has been developed and adapted over the past few years to ensure there is a high level of challenge, a variety of interesting topics, and to and help 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.
The year starts with the study of a modern version of Homer’s classic text, ‘The Odyssey’. This exciting text is rich in language and imagery which enables us to introduce students to the skill of analysing a literature text, as well as teaching them key concepts that are integral to the study of English. Following this, students then practise and build on their creative writing skills, creating their own journey narratives.
We start the spring term with a study of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and move onto a ‘Poetry Through Time’ unit to give students access to two more forms of English Literature and challenge them by looking at a range of renowned and respected writers.
In the summer term we begin with exploring non-fiction texts, with a particular focus on writing personal narratives and autobiography, and end the year with the study of a novel as stimulus to develop exam skills and provide an opportunity to reflect and practise the skills learnt throughout the year.
Regular library lessons and Talking Points (an oracy strategy promotions the use of formal spoken language) are embedded into our schemes of learning every fortnight, to promote a love of reading, to enhance and develop research skills, and to develop confident and competent speakers.
Our Year 8 curriculum builds on the foundations of our Year 7 curriculum and students are exposed to more challenging texts, concepts, and are encouraged to be applying their skills more independently.
The Year 8 curriculum looks like:
Students begin Year 8 with a study or different short stories. This scheme allows students to develop their ability to see narratives as constructs, and to analyse the methods used by the writer to interest the reader. It also aims to create inquisitive readers and give students the skills to approach any unseen text confidently.
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 in the Spring term, with key emphasis not only on understanding Shakespearian language, but also upon enjoying it. We hope to enable students to access and explore big concepts such as prejudice, love, colonialism and justice through either The Tempest, or The Merchant of Venice, as well as embedding the necessary analytical skills for studying Macbeth at KS4.
Mirroring their KS4 poetry study, in the second half term, students are provided with an anthology of poetry around the theme of different cultures. Students learn how a variety of writers express themselves, their voice, and their identity in their poems.
Year 8 culminates in a reading and writing unit centred around politics and power. Students read ‘Animal Farm’ and through this complex text, students learn about political messages and the form of allegory. This is complemented by a writing unit focusing on speeches: writing using rhetoric to deliver messages to an intended audience.
Year 9 follow a similar model of study to Year 8 but at a more sophisticated level and with a greater onus on preparing for GCSE.
Students start Year 9 building on their understanding of the political and social impact of Literature through the study of Of Mice and Men. The themes and issues presented within the American novella are further explored through the writing element of this term, which focuses on the explicit teaching of how to write letters and articles expressing ideas around inequality and difference.
During the spring term, year 9 students explore and create their own examples of gothic literature. This is inspired by extracts from 19th century gothic literature, such as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Picture of Dorian Grey, which act as mentor texts to develop sophistication in their own writing. The novel studied alongside this gothic writing unit, is The Woman in Black, a modern gothic novel. Students learn to evaluate writers’ choices through this study, which is building on the analysis skills fo years 7 and 8.
The final term of year 9 is the start of the GCSE course. Students begin to study some of the poetry from the Power and Conflict anthology and one of the other set Literature texts. This ensures that the transition from year 9 to year 10 is smooth.
English Year 10 and 11
(English Language and English Literature GCSE)
At Caludon Castle, 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 two-year course, that has been designed by the English Faculty, is vibrant, varied, and challenging. We focus on many skills: reading non-fiction and writing for different purposes and audiences; responding to poetry, both studied and unseen, analysing a variety of Literature texts; and writing creatively, to prepare students for their examinations. 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.
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 studied for the LITERATURE course are:
- An Inspector Calls
- A Christmas Carol
- Poetry: Power and Conflict
- In the LANGUAGE exam, students analyse extracts from FICTION PROSE and NON-FICTION prose
Students begin writing in formal, timed conditions in year ten to help build their resilience in writing under pressure and for an extended amount of time. Mocks are spread out across the two-year course so that students experience all four papers in the hall or formal settings before their real exams.
The KS4 team keep in regular contact with parents and carers throughout the GCSE course to keep you updated on what is being studied; when mocks and assessments are coming up, and how your child is being supported in lessons, by intervention, and how they can be independent outside of lessons.
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 A LEVEL
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.
Alongside this, students will also study language in the real world, exploring how language can be used in different ways depending on gender, occupation, status and region. 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 creative writing for their Non-Exam Assessment (NEA).
In Year 13, students will continue to develop the skills gained in their first year of study. Language diversity is a focus throughout the year; students will learn about the changes in the English language since the Viking invasion through to the modern day, evaluating the importance of developments and changes in language. Students will also analyse Child Language Acquisition, discovering how children learn to speak, write and read as well as the theories put forward by other linguists in relation to this.
In the final year of study, students will also complete a language investigation into an area of their choice. They are given the opportunity to explore language in action, collecting and analysing their own data.
Paper 1: Language, the Individual and Society (40% of A Level)
Students analyse and compare two unseen texts, exploring how language frameworks can be used within each in order to create meaning. They are also given a choice of two questions related to Child Language Acquisition.
Paper 2: Language Diversity and Change (40% of A Level)
In this paper, students have a choice of two evaluative questions related to an area of language study from their last two years of study. They are also given two newspaper articles related to language issues, and will need to analyse how language is used to express meaning. From this, students can show off their own creative flair by producing a discursive article related to the language issues raised in the paper.
Non-Exam Assessment (NEA) (20% of A Level)
In this unit students apply their knowledge of linguistic methods and concepts to an investigation of their choice. Students also produce a piece of creative writing accompanied by a commentary, explaining how they have effectively used language within their own work.
A LEVEL ENGLISH LITERATURE
English Literature continues to be a popular A Level choice at Caludon. The course is stimulating and challenging and includes the study of a variety of powerful literary works both past and present from across the world. 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
The texts studied at A Level are drawn from two literary genres: tragedy and political and social protest writing. Discussion and debate are integral to the English Literature course and students are encouraged to explore the relevance of the fictional worlds to the real world. Alongside a thorough understanding of the texts themselves, students will develop their own voices, putting forward lines of interpretation and supporting them with their growing knowledge and analysis.
Paper 1: Aspects of tragedy (40% of A Level)
- Othello (Shakespeare)
- Death of a Salesman (Miller)
- Selected Poetry by John Keats
Paper 2: Elements of social and political protest (40% of A Level)
- The Kite Runner (Hosseini)
- The Handmaid’s Tale (Atwood)
- The Songs of Innocence and of Experience (Blake)
Non-exam assessment: independent study (20% of A Level)
Students are given the opportunity to study two texts of their choice (one novel, one collection of poetry), which they will explore using a theoretical approach. The teachers will support with the students’ choice of texts and theories. This element of the course gives students a wonderful opportunity to follow their own interests.
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 A Level
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
Students analyse a pre-set collection of texts, exploring language in a literary and linguistic manner. They analyse the ways that language is used in different modes and for different purposes through an anthology of texts about Paris. This helps to underpin linguistic study, introducing students to the frameworks needed for language analysis.
The Language and Literature course allows students to explore classic and dystopian texts – ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ – as well as the classic play, ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. The study of each of these texts gives students the opportunity to explore literature in depth alongside literary and linguistic theories which are presented within the texts.
Students also study the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, analysing a collection of poems linked by common themes.
Paper 1: Telling Stories (40% of A Level)
In this paper, students will showcase their knowledge of language frameworks in a comparative question on two texts about Paris from their anthology, analysing how themes are represented through language, purpose and mode.
Students are given a choice of questions about ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, exploring an extract from the novel alongside analysis of the literary techniques used.
Finally students will explore the ways in which similar themes are presented across two poems in an anthology of Carol Ann Duffy poems.
Paper 2: Exploring Conflict (20% of A Level)
Students make use of creative flair in this exam, re-casting. Section of ‘The Great Gatsby’ from the viewpoint of another character. They will then produce a commentary on their own works, explaining how they have used language effectively within their re-casting.
Following from this, students analyse how language and literary devices are used for effect in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, explaining how key themes are seen across the text.
Non-exam assessment (NEA) (20% of A Level)
Students investigate a chosen theme and texts, exploring how language is used for effect. They will compare how similar themes are presented through literary and non-literary texts, analysing how language is used in similar and different ways across the texts of their choice.