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. Our desire to promote a love for the subject ensures that each one 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 curriculum incorporates blended learning activities that enables the students to develop their skills as independent learners.
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 providing opportunities for creativity and inspiring a love for the subject. The Key Stage 3 curriculum is comprised of group projects, individual challenges and opportunities for delivering speeches to promote an enjoyable and creative learning environment. Key Stage 3 is a blended learning curriculum, which makes use of media clips and online resources to further support the students’ studies. Additionally, the set texts have been selected to foster a love of Literature, widen the students’ knowledge of texts from other cultures and highlight 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. Accommodations are put into place for any student who finds the work too challenging with an invitation to attend extra English sessions covering the core skills. Intervention sessions, linked to blended learning resources, ensure that problem solving skills and confidence in the subject are strengthened. 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. The club builds transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, organisation, creativity and problem solving. Students will have the opportunity to create a magazine publication, produce a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and take part in Poetry in Performance - an inter-school poetry recital competition.
30 minutes a week is allocated to Accelerated Reader activities with the Literacy Coordinator in the Learning Resource Centre. This online program helps to motivate students to make progress with their reading skills.
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 of 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 texts that are both accessible and engaging. Our students are encouraged to appreciate the writer’s craft and become aware of the evolutionary changes of writing through studying one of William Shakespeare’s plays, a dystopian novel in comparison to a selection of 19th Century fantasy fiction extracts and a collection of modern poetry from around the world. All students have the opportunity to participate in the interschool poetry competition, enabling them to develop their speaking, listening and presentation skills.
Year 8 is designed to continue to promote creativity and a love of learning in the lessons. Students read a selection of 19th Century poetry as well as a novel exploring how historical contexts influenced the genre. Through the study of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ and Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’, year 8 students analyse the author’s moral messages and how language has been used to influence the readers’ understanding of the societal issues of 19th century England. In addition, students continue their study of Shakespeare.
This unit is compared to a modern nonfiction unit of study, where the students will have the opportunity to explore genres such as travel writing, memoirs and marketing. Reading informational and nonfiction sources help to open our students’ eyes to the larger world around them and the ways in which English as a subject can be used in real life. They acquire background knowledge that is of help to them as they move up the educational ladder.
Creatively, the students produce fiction and non-fiction pieces incorporating the skills and knowledge learnt in the text studies. Our team encourage the students to be original and imaginative in their writing.
Key Stage 4
The transition into Key Stage 4 begins in year 9 with the study of GCSE Literature texts relevant to their exam 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. The blended-learning curriculum makes use of both online and in class resources whilst encouraging a love for the subject and enjoyment of the texts studied. Students who find it difficult to access these texts have the opportunity to gain qualifications through the Step Up to English Program.
There is the opportunity for our year 8 students to participate in a Creative Writing course as one of their options in year 9. Students are exposed to all types of literary genres and are actively encouraged to work independently in maintaining a writer’s journal, undertaking opportunities for research and wider reading and producing final drafts in a variety of formats including graphic novels. Long term, this course prepares the students for the longer writing question in their English Language GCSE exam.
As with our Key Stage 3 students, any student in Key Stage 4 who finds the work challenging has the opportunity to attend additional English sessions, and any student who is identified as a higher attainer is encouraged to participate in Aspire activities, in order to enhance and further develop their abilities.
Jekyll and Hyde
Our chosen 19th century novella is ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, a prime example of the effects of scientific advances and religious beliefs on society. Students’ learning is supported through guided extract analysis videos, an online booklet of key ideas and themes and access to an online audio version of the novel. Students can access further reading material online, to extend their analysis and evaluation skills. These resources are available to students for independent revision alongside their learning within school. Theatre companies are invited into school so that students also have the opportunity to watch an interpretation of the novella.
An Inspector Calls
This is an iconic play that is set in 1912 but was written in 1945; it focuses on the key theme of responsibility and the extent to 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. ‘An Inspector Calls’ is a cross curricular text due to its two contextual eras, and students develop their awareness of historical, as well as political issues. Students’ learning is enhanced through online guided extract and quotation analysis videos. Online revision booklets are available for independent study. In class, students are able to watch a BBC recorded performance of the play Theatre companies are invited into school so that students have the opportunity to watch the play on stage and performed as the writer intended.
Romeo and Juliet
'Romeo and Juliet’ is arguably William Shakespeare’s most famous play, and it has been chosen for its accessibility and relevant themes. Students explore ideas around love, relationships, family as well as analysing the impetuousness of youth. Students have access to online voice-over PowerPoints of key themes and characters as well as quotations to further guide them in their essay writing skills. They also have access to an online performance of the play to help them understand the stagecraft and bring another dimension to their answers. To further extend their learning, students can use a reading booklet with resources from The British Library which adds a critical dimension to their analysis. The online resources have been designed to complement and extend their in-class learning.
Language Extended Writing
One lesson a week is dedicated creative fiction and non-fiction writing skills. The lessons have been designed to reinforce the literature study and enable students to transfer their ideas into their own writing. The curriculum has been designed to complement cross-curricular connections with subjects such as media and history. Students creatively produce non-fiction texts such as newspaper articles, advertisements and leaflets. In the summer term, students are taught how to participate in debates and they have the opportunity to do so whilst adopting the role of a literary character.
This year is dedicated to preparing students for their literature GCSE examinations and the speaking and listening non-examined assessment.
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 verses nature. We aim to promote an enjoyment for the subject through a variety of creative interpretive tasks and as well as group work and opportunities to teach the class. In addition, students are 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 includes celebrated poets from a range of backgrounds and incorporates poems that are aimed to promote skills of reflection and resilience in our students. Students’ learning is further enhanced through online guided annotation videos. We invite a Performance Poetry into the school to teach students how to write their own poetry and develop confident communication skills.
Students have access to blended learning through guided annotations of each poem, which gives students the opportunity to develop their skills and different annotations.
Students also have access to example questions and practice essays that have been voiced over to further aid the consolidation of knowledge.
Once each of the texts has been studied, the year 10 students revise and revisit key texts from January onwards. This time is extremely beneficial as it enables the students to focus on exam techniques and build on existing knowledge. Moreover, students are taught various revision methods of revision to enable them to utilise the strategies that work best for them, whilst developing time management skills. A variety of revision resources are online to support and extend the students. Students are invited to revision and intervention clubs to further prepare them for the literature examinations.
Until the Literature GCSE in year 10, one lesson per week is dedicated towards the study of analysing language and developing extended writing skills. Students are exposed to various types of creative writing and learn how to craft their own short stories and descriptions. Students apply knowledge of non-fiction writing in their language analysis as well as the production of their own non-fiction pieces. After taking the Literature GCSE the summer term is dedicated to preparing for the speaking and listening element of the GCSE. Students study influential speeches from around the globe and develop their skills of writing their own speeches as well as the skill of delivery and presentation. Students are encouraged to write from different perspectives and adapt their writing for a target audience, which builds on skills being taught in GCSE media. The study of influential speeches aims to raise student awareness of real-life campaigns both historically and in the modern day.
Year 11 – Post-Covid Students spend two lessons per week revisiting key concepts for the literature GCSE and two lessons to develop the skills required for the language GCSE. 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 the skill of argument, persuasion and delivering information, whilst critiquing how writers use language to present biased viewpoints. Students are invited to revision clubs and targeted intervention sessions to further prepare them for GCSE English examinations.
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 writing to the designated format (letter, speech, article and style (persuade, review, inform, argue, explain).
Students have the option of studying either Literature, or Language and Literature A-level with our specialist teachers. We follow the linear course and all students 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. Accompanying in class lessons, Sixth Form English will also be providing an online provision for students. Students will be able to access wider reading; critical theories; extra revision tasks; homework and voiceover PowerPoints online through teams to solidify their learning. This will be blended in with their in person lessons to generate a well rounded curriculum.
Students study a post-modern and a Shakespearean play, in addition to 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 on a text. Students select the text that they will analyse for coursework. This A-level is designed for those who have a love of classical literature. The English department runs trips and excursions to enhance their understanding of the texts studied.
Language and Literature
This A-level comprises 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.
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 additional initiatives, which include the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge, an Inter-school Poetry Competition, Literacy Competitions, creative writing publishing competitions, Bring your Teacher to Breakfast, Ladies who Lunch and the Reading through Football program. In addition, 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 popular with our students. The department runs targeted revision sessions for Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 students.
An objective at the core of this department is to encourage and build positive relationships between parents and teachers. With this in mind, there are various opportunities (in addition to parent evenings) for parents to become involved with their child’s education, through skills workshops, conferences and open evenings.
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, that the students will appreciate throughout their lives.
Student testimony: ‘I love English because it teaches interesting things. The English department provide so much support and we can even email the teachers to ask for help. They also recommend online resources and YouTube clips to watch’ (Ashley, year 10 student).
‘Through my time at Beauchamps, 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’. (Amy, Year 10 student).