Beauchamps High School’s English Department consists of dynamic, creative and inspirational teachers who aim to provide a nurturing, supportive environment, which aids all of our students in cultivating and developing their English skills. The development of our teaching practices through continuous research and implementation of innovative teaching strategies are at the forefront of our ethos. With a desire to promote a love for the subject, each member of the team strives to help the students to achieve their best and beyond. This is done through the application of an engaging curriculum that leaves our students with a broader knowledge of how significant English Literature and Language has been throughout history, and will be for future generations.
The Key Stage 3 curriculum enables the Year 7 and Year 8 students to establish and expand the skills required for a seamless transition into Key Stage 4 whilst simultaneously preparing them for the challenges that transition brings. The Key Stage 3 curriculum is comprised of group projects, use of media clips and individual challenges to promote an enjoyable and creative learning environment. Additionally, the set texts have been selected to foster a love of literature, as well as highlighting issues that are still relevant to modern society.
All year groups complete activities that are designed to develop and consolidate their skill set, allowing all students to flourish at a pace best suited to their natural abilities.
Our Transition Leader has created a Scheme of Work, which begins in the summer term of year 6 and continues through to the first term of year 7, ensuring a smooth progression into senior school for all our new students. The Beauchamps Family Project builds upon the skills already established in Key Stage 2, effectively embedding them in the students’ skillset, whilst introducing them to the values of our school.
The Year 7 syllabus is made up of both accessible and engaging texts. Our students are encouraged to appreciate the writer’s craft and become aware of the evolutionary changes of writing through studying a selection of 19th Century fiction extracts, one of William Shakespeare’s plays and a collection of modern poetry. All students have the opportunity to participate in the interschool poetry competition, enabling them to develop their speaking, listening and presentation skills.
Accommodations will be put into place for any student who finds the work challenging with an invitation to attend extra English sessions covering the core skills. Conversely, any student identified as higher attaining will be invited to attend an Aspire Club, where they will be encouraged to undertake wider reading tasks and enter literary competitions; thus exposing them to the working world of a writer.
Year 8 is designed to assist with the transition into the study of GCSE Literature in Year 9, whilst continuing to promote creativity and a love of learning within the lessons. Students will read a 19th Century novel as a comparison to modern dystopian literature and learn how to create their own piece of fantasy writing. In addition to this, students will continue their study of Shakespeare. They will learn to discuss authors’ perspectives, ideas and the use of the English language. Through the study of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, our Year 8 students will analyse the author’s moral messages, and how he has used language to influence a reader’s understanding of family dynamics and the societal issues of 19th Century England. This unit will be compared to modern dystopian literature, where the students will have the opportunity to discuss whether family dynamics and societal issues have shifted. Creatively, the students will be producing a piece of fantasy writing incorporating the skills and knowledge learnt in the text studies. Our team will encourage the students to be original and imaginative in this narrative, incorporating aspects of modern society as moral messages of their own.
There is the opportunity for our Year 8 students to study a Creative Writing course as one of their options in Year 9. Students are exposed to all types of literary genres whilst actively encouraged to work independently in maintaining a writer’s journal; undertaking opportunities for research and wider reading; producing final drafts in a variety of formats including graphic novels. In the long term, this course prepares the students for the longer writing question in their English Language GCSE exam.
Key Stage 4
The English Literature GCSE course begins in Year 9; students begin studying the texts relevant for the exam that they will sit in the summer term of Year 10. As a department, we have selected texts that we feel are interesting, engaging and relevant to issues seen in today’s society; these texts also pose moral questions, which the students are encouraged to consider and debate. Students who find it difficult to access these texts have the opportunity to gain extra qualifications through the Step Up to English Program, which enable them to build skills at a pace suited for them.
As with our Key Stage 3 students, any student in Key Stage 4 who finds the work challenging will have the opportunity to attend additional English sessions, and any student who is identified as a higher attainer will be encouraged to participate in Aspire activities, which will challenge their abilities.
Jekyll and Hyde
Our chosen 19th Century novella is ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’; as a prime example of the effects of scientific advancements and religious beliefs on society, students are able to explore the contrasting impact of these factors on both the 19th Century, and contemporary reader. Themes such as secrecy and dual nature are discussed with regards to issues surrounding morality and good versus evil.
An Inspector Calls
Throughout this modern play set in 1912, the key question is one of responsibility and the extent at which we are responsible for others. The students focus on the mystery surrounding who, or what, Inspector Goole is and what his function may be. Students develop an awareness of historical events between the period of 1912-1946 as well as the differing perspectives of both socialists and capitalists. This is an engaging play which the students love to study.
Romeo and Juliet
By far the most accessible and famous Shakespeare play, the students are introduced to ideas around love and relationships and how societal expectations played a major role in the outcome of the young couple. As with An Inspector Calls, students have the opportunity to act out sections during their lessons, whilst studying the writer’s craft.
Language Paper 2
One lesson a week is dedicated to the study of an element from the language paper (which will be sat in year 11). In Year 9, students study the non-fiction paper as it has skills transferrable to the Literature GCSE. Students learn how to write a letter of advice to Romeo or Juliet, write a review of Jekyll and Hyde and create a speech as might have been delivered by the Inspector in An Inspector Calls.
The students study the Power and Conflict poems from the AQA Anthology. They develop knowledge on how poetry is used to illustrate a poet’s viewpoint. Students contemplate various moral questions regarding war, conflict and the power of mankind vs nature. In addition, students will be exposed to a variety of ‘unseen’ poems and learn how to analyse them without the direction of a teacher, in preparation for the second half of the poetry examination. The unseen poetry incorporates poems which are aimed to promote skills of reflection and resilience within our students. A performance poet is invited into school to teach students how to write their own poems and develop the skill of communicating with confidence.
Once each of the texts have been studied, the Year 10 students will spend from January to the examination revisiting and revising the key texts. This time is extremely beneficial as it enables the students to focus on exam techniques and build upon existing knowledge. Moreover, students are taught various methods of revision to enable them to utilise the strategies which work best for them, whilst developing the skills of time management.
Language Paper 1
Until the Literature GCSE, one lesson a week is dedicated towards the study of Language paper 1; the study of fiction writing. Students are exposed to various types of fiction writing which they learn to analyse, and from which they learn how to craft their own short stories and descriptions. After the Literature GCSE the Year 10 students prepare for and take their Speaking and Listening examination.
After sitting the Literature GCSE, students have their final year dedicated to building on and developing their Language GCSE examination skills. We make this course as engaging as possible for the students, ensuring that the students understand the real life applications of the skills learnt in class. Our students develop their skills of letter, speech and article writing, whilst critiquing how writers use language to present biased viewpoints.
Language Paper 1
Section A – Students answer four questions based on a fiction extract.
Section B- Students write a description or a story based on the image provided.
Language Paper 2
Section A – Students answer four questions based on two non-fiction extracts.
Section B- Students have to use their skills to adapt their style of writing to the designated format and style (persuade, review, inform, argue, explain).
Students have the option of studying either the Literature, or Language and Literature A-level with our specialist teachers. We follow the linear course and all students will sit their exams at the end of year 13. Students study the Edexcel syllabus on both courses. The aim is to make the transition from Key Stage 4 to Key Stage 5 as easy as possible; the A-level teachers are excellent at providing this support.
English Literature A Level
The students study a post-modern and a Shakespearian play, as well as a Victorian and a post-modern novel. They also study a collection of Anthology poems. Studies focus on the use of language and how contextual factors impact upon a text. Students are able to select the text which they will analyse for coursework. This A-level is designed for those who have a love of classical literature. Students are encouraged to complete independent study as well as teacher led assignments in order that they may also be prepared for university in the future. The English department runs trips and excursions to further the understanding of the texts studied.
English Language and Literature A Level
This A-level is the best of both worlds. Students analyse a range of multi-media texts, A Room with a View, The Bloody Chamber and A Streetcar Named Desire, focusing on linguistic and literary techniques. The coursework consists of three pieces of original writing, one of which is analytical. Students are encouraged to complete independent study as well as teacher led assignments in order to prepare them for university in the future. The English department runs trips and excursions to further the understanding of the texts studied.
Homework and Extra-Curricular Activities
Homework is only set when necessary, and is differentiated to focus on the learning needs of our students.
Extra-curricular activities are a key focus for the English Department. There are many opportunities for the students to be involved in an additional initiative, which include the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge, Poetry in Performance, Literacy Competitions, creative writing publishing competitions, Bring your Teacher to Breakfast, Ladies who Lunch and the Reading through Football program. In addition to this, as a department we strive to enrich the students’ education with school trips, workshops with performance poets and writers, and in-school performances of the GCSE texts. The end of year trip to Harry Potter World always proves to be popular with our students. The department runs targeted revision sessions for Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 students.
Breakfast for Boys
This is a Literacy reading initiative for Key Stage 3 parents to read with their child in the library, over breakfast. This initiative is run once a half-term by our Literacy Coordinator, supported by the English Department. This initiative aims to promote a love of reading, enabling students to find genres which capture their imagination, whilst highlighting the importance of reading.
Various Parent Conferences are run throughout both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. At Key Stage 3 parents are invited to attend a Welcome to Year 7 Conference and may be invited to English for the Higher Attaining workshop. At Key Stage 4, parents are invited into school to work through a Literature or Language examination paper with their child. This is always a great session enabling parents to become equipped with the skills and understanding of how best to help their child at home.
In addition to excellent exam results, we want the students to love coming to their English lessons and to leave school not only with fond memories of their lessons, but with the skills and confidence required to enable them to achieve in both further education and within the workplace. We aim to have instilled a love of learning, which the students will continue to grow with throughout their lives.
Student testimony: ‘The English Department have helped me through so much, throughout my English Literature exam and are always offering help outside of our lessons, to ensure that we are prepared for the GCSEs.’ Rosie, Year 10 student.
‘Through my time at Beauchamps High School, the English Department have supported and encouraged me to the extent, where I’ve exceeded my target grade by 3 grades. Additionally, the interactive activities in lessons have been very fun and have motivated me’. Jasmine, Year 10 student.