The English curriculum at West Bromwich Collegiate Academy is an interconnected body of knowledge based around the study of great, culturally-rich texts. The English curriculum is cumulative and sequential, focused on providing our students with knowledge which can be carried forward to underpin future learning; with skills taught, retrieved, and applied in successive years.
Overall, the curriculum aims to be challenging so that our students:
- Acquire knowledge that takes them beyond their usual experiences.
- Are well prepared for terminal examinations and further study.
- Build valuable academic and subject specific vocabulary and terminology.
- Develop cultural capital, the ideas and knowledge that can be drawn upon to participate successfully in society.
- Are exposed to and encouraged to critique the canon, the best of what has been thought and said, each unit will involve the study of a key literary text or set of extracts.
- Are exposed to and explicitly taught grammar and how to write effectively.
Why study English?
English Language and Literature are delivered in seamless, interconnected ways underpinned by the equal importance of each component.
English Language is vital for young people to be successful in the world. Effective communication is key, be that written or verbal. It is equally important to read with perception, to see through the bias and comprehend the real meaning writers seek to create. Being skilled in English language allows students to think as free agents about what they hear, see, and read in the world. We do not have to accept one version of the truth when we can infer, and make our own decisions about the world.
English Literature is the study of plays, poetry and novels that have significance in helping us understand the world around us. These texts are influenced by events that changed the world. Students are encouraged to become agents of their thoughts about the big ideas which help to understand how events have shaped the society we live in today. Students will be immersed in exploring and understanding other perspectives through narratives and characters whereby they can analyse interpersonal relationships in a range of cultural contexts and develop empathy skills.
How is English delivered at West Bromwich Collegiate Academy?
In Year 7 English and Literacy is delivered within our Literacy for Life Programme. Students receive 17 hours of Literacy for Life lessons per week which covers a range of subjects within the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum.
In Year 8, students receive 2 hours of discreet English teaching per week within ability group bands, in addition to English language and literature skills covered within the Year 8 L4L curriculum.
Students receive 4 hours of English per week in Year 9, within ability group bands. Literacy skills are also practised and applied within the L4L curriculum, that is delivered in 5 hours per week.
In Years 10 and 11, students will receive 4 hours of English per week, again, within ability group bands.
What themes and texts do we study?
We study great, culturally rich texts across both Key Stages.
Key Stage 3
Year 7 – Literacy for Life
Listed below are just some of the texts and English language lessons covered within the Literacy for Life curriculum in Year 7.
- Citizen Me – Benjamin Zephaniah poetry; speech writing
- Journey to the Centre of the Earth – ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ by Jules Verne and ‘Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief’ by Rick Riordan
- In Days of Old – Transactional Writing focus (Newspaper article)
- Fairy Tales – ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare
- Journeys – ‘The Canterbury Tales’ by Geoffry Chaucer
- i-Robot – Big Write – ‘Is a robot just a robot?’
- Water – ‘Blessing’ by Imitiaz Dharkar
- Growing – ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens
- Silent Movies – Charlie Chaplin’s Biography
- Off With Your Head – Queen Elizabeth’s speech
Year 8 – English Lessons
We start the year studying ‘Heroes, Villains and Visionaries’, considering how language can be used powerfully in both the spoken and written form to convey thoughts and generate change, as well as reading the work of the Romantic poets and Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’. In ‘Visionaries’, the language of people with ‘big ideas’ and how they use narrative and words to compel people to do things, such as Steve Jobs, is juxtaposed with the Romantic poets; the clamour of Blake’s ‘London’ and his ‘dark, Satanic mills’ set alongside Silicon Valley; the chimney sweep next to Generation X.
- Fiction / non-fiction extracts
- A Christmas Carol
Across this unit, students examine the concept of belonging in a variety of forms including: to another, to a community etc. This provides the basis for Blood Brothers where we investigate the dramatic form and how meanings are conveyed. We explore the relationships within the play, ask questions about stereotypes and consider the portrayal of different types of love and relationships. We also look at the themes of social class, nature vs nurture which lend themselves to the core GCSE texts.
- Blood Brothers
We establish the purpose and effect of literature through a dystopian novel. We consider the ways in which writers present undesirable and oppressive societies through language in a range of Dystopian novels. Under the theme ‘Imagining the Future’, students then tackle creative representations of apocalypse. We explore the popularity of dystopian texts in our own time, in the form of The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner as well as studying origins of the genre in 1984 and Animal Farm.
Year 9 – English Lessons
This unit combines ghost stories, fairy-tales, myths and legends from the ancient world, ‘The Castle of Otranto’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’ alongside contemporary ghost stories like ‘The Woman in Black’. We ask how a writer can compel, frighten and speculate. We ask how the epistolary 19th century novel might continue to resonate in film (‘the events you are about to see are based on a true story…’). Moving into crime fiction, students will focus on a range of reading skills using the short story form. Poetry and modern novels to: infer, deduce, examine writer’s methods and purpose, analyse structure and critique characterisation. Finally, students will concentrate on writing skills: description, characterisation, viewpoints and perspectives, vocabulary, punctuation, and sentences for effect.
To develop an understanding of the conventions of the gothic genre through a study of a range of extracts predominantly from the 19th century and more modern extracts. To develop critical analysis of language and form. To enhance creative writing skills focusing on figurative language development to improve descriptive writing.
This Scheme of Learning will focus on a range of reading skills (Inference, deduction, writer’s methods, purpose, structure analysis, characterisation, genre) and writing skills (description, characterisation, viewpoints and perspectives, vocabulary, punctuation, and sentences for effect etc.).
We explore Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ to develop an understanding of the conventions of a tragedy. To study the context and evaluate the creation of the plot and characters of a tragedy and analysing key extracts in detail. We examine the themes of race and begin to consider the outsider. This leads into wider discussions about the where students consider the notion of ‘Outsiders’, reading literature from different cultures and traditions, as well as prose that explores life on the ‘outside’ of power and privilege. We explore the experiences of those on the margins of privilege with novels such as To Kill A Mockingbird and The Outsiders alongside current events that depict the experiences of the marginalised from across a broad cross-section of time.
- Othello by William Shakespeare
To develop an understanding of the conventions of a tragedy. To study the context and evaluate the creation of the plot and characters of a tragedy and analysing key extracts in detail.
- Non-fiction extracts
To study a range of pre and post 20th Century poetry based on the theme of war and conflict. To learn comparison skills and about the importance of context.
Key Stage 4
Year 10 – English Lessons
We begin Year 10 with our in-depth reading of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Deep thought is given to the impact of greed and tyranny. Furthermore, we explore the Jacobean life to contextualise the significance of the events in the tragedy. We move through the play studying the presentation of key themes and characters, context and structure. We then begin exploring the power of ‘The Natural World’, looking at poems from the cluster such as ‘Storm on the Island,’ ‘Ozymandias’ and the extract from ‘The Prelude’, which depict the power of the nature. We then move into people and power and transition into ‘An Inspector Calls’. This allows for deeper thought to be given to the impact of power, control, corruption, and tyranny which was initialised in studying Macbeth at the start of term one.
We move onto division in ‘An Inspector Calls’.
“We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other”. — Inspector Goole, An Inspector Calls.
Despite having been written over seventy years ago, its focus on social responsibility and its message that we are ‘members of one body’ remain relevant, particularly in the light of the polarised politics and divisive rhetoric of current global trends. This scheme of work seeks to align the GCSE specification with intellectual rigour with ethical reflection and emotional engagement.
Students work through the power cluster of the AQA anthology exploring poems such as ‘Storm on the Island,’ ‘Ozymandias’ and the extract from ‘The Prelude’, which depict the power of the nature and other poems which convey ideas about people in power and power of place. Having reflected on people who use power in Macbeth and An Inspector Calls, we move through the new texts and compare the presentation of each. This will inform the viewpoint writing in both preparation for language paper 2 section B as well as the spoken language component of the GCSE course.
Year 11 – English Lessons
Year 11 begins with an introduction to Language paper 2 section A as we consider Victorian texts alongside modern non-fiction in order to draw comparisons of language and ideas. We then explore the theme of duality greater depth when reading The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Dr. Jekyll is the picture of social class and professional excellence, while Mr. Hyde is the embodiment of Jekyll’s otherwise hidden evil nature. In the novel, Stevenson creates a hero in Dr. Jekyll, who aware of the evil in his own being, and sick of the duplicity in his life, succeeds by way of his experiments on himself in freeing the pure evil part of his being as Mr. Hyde, so that each can indulge in a life unfettered by the demands of the other. We then explore extracts from both fiction and literary non-fiction and looking at structures for great creative writing.
At this point students will have explored all the core texts and the exam papers and will spend the term re-visiting each in turn in order to prepare for their Terminal examination.
(Texts to be delivered later in the year may be subject to change)
How is the English Curriculum delivered?
We deliver the concepts of reading and writing in an interleaved way, preferring the twin strands of creativity and analysis to be experienced holistically. Subject specific expertise and good practice are regularly shared during meetings to ensure all staff deliver the curriculum effectively. Teaching will be guided by the following principles:
- Learning is defined as a change in long term memory; teaching needs to be focused on memory and retention we practise recall through ‘Do Now!’ starters are the beginning of each lesson.
- Lessons will involve regular, cumulative recap and retrieval of knowledge.
- Sustained progress is preferable to rapid progress; learning is distinct from lesson performance.
- Each year will involve guided practice of the three writing styles needed to be successful students of English (analysis, description, rhetoric).
- To ensure good quality communication is frequently addressed, each half term will include an assessment opportunity
- Spelling, punctuation, and grammar will be practised in all years with regular tests both in English lessons and within Academic Skills sessions within the Form Time Programme.
We aim to support all children. Our units will be pitched so that children with different starting points can access them. We will be guided by the principles of the National Curriculum to ensure pupils are exposed to foundational knowledge, such as phonics and rich vocabulary, which will allow them to be successful and to articulate their ideas. Our lessons will be sequenced so that each builds on prior education. Our activities will be scaffolded so all children can succeed. However, the aim of teaching is to bring all children to achieve highly, regardless of their starting points.
Ultimately, the success of any curriculum must be measured against the outcomes of our students in terminal examinations, their progression to Post 16 study, and their ability to participate positively in society. Our curriculum is a work in progress; it will be evaluated and refined each year based on student outcomes and other wider intelligence. English is a subject with must remain perceptive to the progressive world and English at WBCA will continue to be informed in this way.
There are several ways that we currently measure impact in English here at WBCA. These include, but are not limited to:
- Spelling tests of key vocabulary provided at the start of each new unit
- Post knowledge and skills tests (Microsoft forms quiz)
- Reading assessments (based on GCSE Language style questions)
- Writing assessments (based on GCSE Language style questions)
- Literature assessments – character, plot, setting, theme based on focus text
- Speaking and Listening assessment
- GL based exams
- Reading age tests (start, middle and end point)
- Regular verbal feedback
- Live marking
The English department will share progress with students and parents alike in a constructive way and in line with the schools’ assessment policy. The expectation is to provide an ‘on, expected, or below’ comment on focused pieces of work across the year. Students can expect to receive an assessment tracking sheet and an assessment folder where they will record their unique progress across the year.
|Prior Learning||Students will have studied and analysed a novella, a range of poetry, and fiction and non-fiction texts in Years 7 and 8 as a foundation to this year. They will have acquired understanding of key terminology, analysis and responding skills to a range of reading questions. They will have also practised writing in a variety of forms and for different purposes.|
|Enrichment within the|
|All topics considered wider cultural, political and historical issues.|
Year 8 English:
Term 1 (Heroes and Villains)
Term 2 (Love and Relationships)
Term 3 (Dystopian Worlds)
Year 9 English:
Term 1 (Creative Worlds)
Term 2 (Outsiders)
Term 3 (Conflict)
|Preparing for the Next Stage in Education||The KS3 curriculum is designed in line with the requirements of the National Curriculum. Exploring a wide breath of topics, narratives and forms has been prioritised. Moving into year 9, students will be preparing for their GCSE studies and the year 9 curriculum is structured to help students move seamlessly to the rigour of studying GCSE’s.|
Ways you can support your child with English at home:
- Take your child to a local library regularly and encourage them to read a range of genres.
- Encourage your child to read a variety of texts, including newspaper articles and online blogs including Accelerated Reader and myON. This can include audiobooks and podcasts.
- Help you child with spellings and learning new vocabulary – they are provided with a list of key spellings on a half-termly basis to support their unit of study.
- Discuss character arcs and plot devices in TV shows and films, particularly those which are based on novels.
- Watch the news and topical shows and discuss domestic and global issues.
- Use resources available on Century Learning, Digital Theatre+.
- Websites: BBC Bitesize, Digital Theatre+, Mr Bruff analysis videos on YouTube.
- You may wish to purchase an English Language or literature GCSE revision guide in preparation for year 10 term one. Our exam board is AQA.