With a good grounding in the English language, pupils can hope to succeed more fully in other academic subjects. The abilities to write clearly and concisely, to read with understanding and to take an active part in discussion, are fundamental to every pupil’s studies, at both of the school’s Key Stages. The lessons provided by the College’s English Department are designed to enhance the pupils’ levels of ability in these three areas, so as to assist them in their studies in other areas of the curriculum and to prepare them, later, for the worlds of Further and Higher Education and, ultimately, for the workplace.
However, English lessons are not merely a means to an end. At St. Richard’s, our lessons provide pupils with the opportunity to enjoy using language and to explore and deepen their appreciation of Literature. Qualifications in English at GCSE level are beyond doubt of vital importance in securing a place on the career ladder, but we seek to provide all of our pupils with a love for the subject which will last them for a life-time!
The English department is very proud to have pupils achieve consistently high GCSE grades. In 2019, 88% of pupils achieved a 4 – 9 score in either Literature or Language.
65% of SEN pupils achieved a score of a 4 or above.
At Key Stage 3, pupils follow a balanced curriculum of skills to cover English Language, Literature and Spoken Language. Units of study encourage skills development, enthusiasm for reading and writing and opportunities for public speaking. The KS3 curriculum is challenging and builds carefully upon KS2 skills as well as supporting transition to GCSE.
In Year 7, pupils study 6 units: The novel ‘One’, Travel Writing, Introduction to Poetry, Media, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and Literary Tradition.
In Year 8, pupils study 6 units: Novel, Texts Through Time, Media, Identity and Culture, The Tempest and ‘Frankenstein’ play script.
In Year 9, pupils study 6 units: ‘Of Mice and Men’, Poetry, Media, Gothic Literature, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and Writing Styles.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar skills are taught alongside these units and pupils use a SPAG tracker to monitor their progress and coverage.
Pupils begin the GCSE curriculum in English Language, Literature and Spoken Language in year 10. We follow the AQA specification for all three disciplines. English Language consists of two exams (creative and viewpoints). English Literature consists of four texts in two exams (poetry anthology, Shakespeare, twentieth century text and nineteenth century text).
Spoken Language assessment consists of a formal speech, video recorded. Each term has a Literature and Language focus and then an interleaving approach means these topics/skills are revisited throughout the year.
For summer exams 2021 only, Year 11s will not be studying a 19th Century text for English Literature.
At Key Stage 3 (Years 7 – 9) all pupils are assessed formally once a term using a department score system. This is across a range of Reading and Writing assessment focuses. In addition to this, formative teacher and peer comments support pupils’ learning and progress. Verbal feedback is given regularly in class. All pupils’ reading and spelling ages are tested on entry in Year 7 and those of concern are tracked and re-tested regularly, once intervention has been put in place.
At Key Stage 4, pupils are assessed in line with the AQA GCSE specifications. Class work and exam preparation are scored twice a term and formative comments are given in between these times. Regular self and peer assessment assists the pupils with relating to mark schemes and success criteria. The department complete regular moderation to ensure consistency across teachers.
Pupil Voice is also sought regularly as a way of ensuring lessons are impactful and engaging.
The department offers: Debate Club, Poetry by Heart, Creative Writing Club and ‘The Scribbler’ newspaper.