The Aims of the English Department
English at TGS exposes students to high quality texts in order to develop their cultural capital. We explicitly, model and teach substantive knowledge of context, grammar and Tier 2 and 3 vocabulary. There are opportunities for students to learn to work in groups and since good literacy begins with the ability to articulate clearly, teachers use open and closed questioning to encourage extended verbal explanations and active listening skills. Students know they need to present their work neatly and to the highest standard available to them.
Our curriculum is reviewed to ensure it remains robust in delivering a comprehensive experience of our oral and literary heritage across time, from the Greeks through to present day.
We aim to make sure that every student makes excellent progress in English through their enjoyment of the subject. For some pupils their experience of English lessons may foster a lifelong enjoyment of reading and a degree in English Literature or English Language, for others achievement may be found in finally mastering how to express their ideas clearly. Although we strive to achieve excellent examination results the factor that we ultimately pride ourselves on is the degree of progress made by each individual, regardless of whether they achieve a grade 9 or a grade 1.
Marking and Assessment
All students are issued with a blue exercise book for class work and a separate blue exercise book for extended writing and assessments. Students are expected to observe a strict presentation policy at all times with every piece of work.
Teachers mark books and assessments and give whole class feedback when students are expected to improve their work during a DIRT session (Directed Improvement Reflection Time) in red pen.
KS3 students are formally assessed every half term in Reading and Writing alternately and this is also followed up with a DIRT session each time.
KS4 students are formally assessed every half-term in Reading and Writing alternately using GCSE mark schemes and this is also followed up with a DIRT session each time.
Year 10 students will sit a mock exam in both Literature and Language at the end of the Summer term. Year 11 students have mock exams in November, January and March.
Lessons at KS3
Pupils cover a range of units across KS3, designed to challenge and engage all abilities. Our long term plan for KS3 can be seen on the website; writers studied range from Shakespeare and Chaucer through to seminal world authors such as John Steinbeck and contemporary writers such as Malorie Blackman and Michael Murpeago. Text types include poetry, plays, non-fiction, the study of complete fiction texts and media texts. We review our units annually and are often refreshing our syllabus to keep up to date with current writing and to ensure that our programme of study continues to engage all learners.
In Year 9 we aim to focus more explicitly on preparing pupils for the demands of the new style GCSEs and therefore units offer more challenging content such as the study of world literature with controversial content such as ‘Of Mice and Men.’
Each year ends with a speaking and listening activity designed to boost pupils’ verbal communication and confidence skills. In Year 7 pupils need to prepare a talk on a topic of their choice and present this back to the class. As pupils move further up the school we encourage them to extend their presentations and to incorporate persuasive and rhetorical devices for effect.
At GCSE all pupils study for GCSEs in both English Language and English Literature. An outline of the course can be accessed below, or on AQA’s site directly. Literature texts include ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ ‘Merchant of Venice’ ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’ and the ‘Power and Conflict’ poetry anthology.
Reading at The Grange School
Every year group tutor reads aloud to their tutor group for at least 15 minutes three times a week with students tracking using reading rulers.
The canon of books has been purposely constructed so that students not only develop a love of reading, but are also exposed to a range of reading sources that offer a high value of cultural capital; it will allow them to see how literature has developed and evolved from the 19th century to present day. Furthermore, research suggests that it ensures that all students expand their vocabulary and recognise complex use of sentence structure and punctuation as a purposeful device within literary art. The canon has not merely been designed based on subjective teachers’ love of reading but up-to-date research and following an evaluation of the programme last year. The Tutor Reading Programme is a strand of TGS overall Reading Strategy.
‘Treasure Island’ R.L. Stevenson
‘A Terrible thing happened to Barnaby Brockett’, John Boyne
‘The Secret Garden’, Francis Hodgson Burnett
‘Bear Gryls, Mud, Sweat and Tears’ Non-Fiction
‘Sherlock Holmes’ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
‘Frankenstein’ Mary Shelley
‘Life of Pi’, Yann Marten
‘Going Solo’, Roald Dahl Non-Fictio
‘The Book Thief’, Markus Zusak
‘I am Milala’, by Malala Yousafzai, co-written with Christina Lamb, Non-Fiction
‘A Christmas Carol’, Charles Dickens
‘Animal Farm’, George Orwell
‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’, Harper Lee
‘The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe’, C.S Lewis
‘Lord of the Flies’, William Goulding
‘War of the Worlds’, H.G. Wells
Non-Fiction texts from selected Newspaper Articles
‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, Douglas Adams
Year 11-Revision of GCSE texts
‘Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’, Mark Haddon novel
‘Jekyll and Hyde’, R.L. Stevenson
AQA Non-fiction/Fiction anthology
Non-Fiction texts from selected Newspaper Articles
All students are set home learning in English on a weekly basis.
KS3: Every week, students are set Reading Plus which is designed to improve reading speed, vocabulary and inference skills, and to motivate and engage students.
KS4: Weekly home learning is to be done on-line wherever possible using either Seneca for revision of literature texts or MS Forms to revise key concepts and language skills.
Exam board: AQA
Qualification: 1 GCSE in English and 1 GCSE in English Literature