English

English at Ernest Bevin Academy is regarded as the great leveller of the subjects; it is fundamental for enabling access for all. To quote Ofsted from its Moving English Forward 2012 report, ‘There can be no more important subject than English in the school curriculum’. English is the world’s lingua franca, it is at the heart of British and American culture and is deeply entwined with culture globally.  

It is the language in which our students must learn to think, speak, and write in for their success both in and beyond the classroom. It is the language medium in which most of our pupils think and communicate.  We see English as key to developing students’ literacy skills which gives them access to all other subjects. What’s more though, the discursive, analytical and philosophical elements that arise from the study of literature are essential in the formative years of individuals, as it helps people develop their sense of voice and agency by which they can engage with the complex and multifaceted ideas found in societies around the world; English, for us, is about both academic and personal growth.

Alongside humanities, we provide an inclusive approach to cultural capital, and in tandem with the sciences, aim to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and understanding to be active, problem solving, and resilient members of society who are governed by their own sense of autonomy.

At Ernest Bevin Academy, we recognise the competence all students must have in English; we understand the difficulty students will have of reaching a standard by which all are measured, and finally, we aim to be inclusive of the diverse backgrounds and abilities of students in our school, understanding that they bring with them rich knowledge and ways of learning. As such, we do not group students by ability , so that we can ensure access for all students by implanting the same challenging curriculum across an entire year group. We aim to provide a globally contextualised, literature rich curriculum that is locally focussed for our all of our students. 

All English students begin their studies at Ernest Bevin Academy at KS3 by focussing on the big ideas of identity, relationships, social class, migration, and cultures from around the world in order to give students a chance to develop a love for English founded in a solid sense of self to help them begin to question the world around them. At this stage, we also introduce students to notions of good and evil through the ideas of tragedy and the gothic genre in Year 8. In Year 9, we introduce students to ideas of protest, government and power. This knowledge paves the way for a KS4 curriculum that focuses on the big ideas of power, conflict, social class and identity. Although the GCSEs in English only require students to read one novel, we believe in the power of fiction to build vocabulary, empathy, knowledge, and understanding of student’s place in the world. Together in shared reading, all students at Ernest Bevin, from Year 7, will read at least 10 novels before they finish their GCSEs.

Topics Studied

Year 7

Autumn

Students begin the term by exploring ideas around ‘Identity’. We invite students to reflect on what makes them individuals to help them develop a strong and evolved sense of self as they start secondary school. Students will read a range of autobiographical extracts and poems to introduce them to the analytical skills needed for English, such as inference and deduction. Their reading will inspire them to write reflectively about themselves to develop their writing skills through a focus on tense, voice, vocabulary and SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar).

In the latter half of the term, to celebrate the Christmas period, students will read the much-loved Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. This texts serves as preparation for the students in tackling challenging 19th Century texts, which is a key area of their GCSE exams.

Spring

In the dark winter months of the spring term, the atmosphere will be perfect as the students continue to develop their knowledge of 19th Century texts by reading a range of short gothic stories. Here they’ll develop their analytical skills as they explore ways to explain a writer’s use of language.

As spring blooms in March, the time will be ripe to develop within the students a love Shakespeare through exploring the greatest love story ever told – Romeo and Juliet. Students will explore notions of tragedy and a tragic hero, and they will examine the big ideas of love, hate, relationships, power and conflict – all of which serve as fitting preparation for their GCSE curriculum.

Summer

As the summer term begins, students’ literary journey will see them venture all the way to the Philippines by reading Bone Talk, by Candy Gourlay, where they will meet a young boy named Samkad, and learn, as young Samkad learns, the nature of what it means to be a man. Students will learn the importance of context when considering a literary text. Personal writing skills will also be developed.

In preparation for their end of year assessment, students will continue to explore other cultures through poetry. Students will be invited to express their complexities through word in what will be an exciting end of the year that will culminate in a ‘Poetry Slam’ event.

Assessments

Autumn
Write own autobiography
Write an analytical response to an extract from A Christmas Carol
Spring
Write a gothic story.
Write an analytical response to an extract from Romeo and Juliet
Summer
End of year test
Write a story entitled ‘How to be a man’.

Year 8

Autumn

Students continue their literary Journey by examining the story of the monster in Philip Pullman’s play adaptation of Shelley’s masterpiece, Frankenstein. Themes of isolation, anger, revenge and the nature of what it means to be human will be explored. Students’ speaking and listening skills will be developed through exploring the story as it meant to be received – on the stage. Students will act and analyse ideas through their unique representations of characters.

We will then follow the journey of young Enaiat on his courageous and exciting migration across the world from Afghanistan in his interview with Italian journalist Fabio Geda in In the Sea There are Crocodiles. We research context, analyse the characters,  identify moral messages, and reflect on what it means to grow as a person.

Spring

As the hardness of winter sets in, we start to explore protest writers that help shape our society through their speeches and actions. Among others, we explore Martin Luther King’s speech and discuss the importance of integrity, free will, and the importance of fighting for an equal and loving society where Black Lives Matter.

In the latter half of Spring, we dive back into Shakespeare’s world. Except this time, students will explore the comedy Much Ado About Nothing. We explore Shakespearean England and students are taught to analyse sound, costume and camera angles, making comparisons between text and performance.

Summer

Leaving behind the frivolity of Shakespeare’s comedy, we begin off summer term by asking the students to remember the sacrifices and heroism of the countless soldiers in history by exploring War Poetry. Students develop their language analysis skills and learn the importance of the dangers society has passed.

We then complete the year by exploring the experience of those marginalised in society through reading the renowned Of Mice and Men by Joseph Steinbeck. Students continue to develop their analytical skills in preparation for their end of year assessment.

Assessment

Autumn
Speaking and listening – acting in role.
Write an analysis of character.
Essay based on In The Sea There Are Crocodiles.
Spring
Write a protest speech.
Write an essay in response to an extract from Much Ado About Nothing
Summer
Compare how conflict is presented in two poems.
End of year test

Year 9

Autumn

We begin the year by returning to the 19th Century to examine the world of crime through exploring Arthur Conon Doyle’s The Sign of Four. The scheme of work serves as exciting preparation for their GCSE through the challenging language of this text. The text helps develop students’ vocabulary and analytical skills.

Leaving the past behind, we lose ourselves to the futuristic setting of Ray Bradbury’s dystopia Fahrenheit 451. To continue with the theme of disruption, students explore ideas around the conflicts that follow abuses of power. We learn about the value that literature holds in our society and the importance of educating oneself to ensure we are suitably critical of the world into which we want to grow.

Spring

In preparation for their language GCSE, we return to ideas of protest and explore the challenges of modern society, from #metoo to the Black Lives Matter movement, we invite students to write a speech that seeks to better our community.

As we emerge from the winter months, we begin to awake students’ creative writing skills by focussing on extracts from modern fiction novels from other cultures. This scheme of work serves to develop students’ inference, deduction, and analytical skills in preparation for Paper 1 of their GCSE language exam.

Summer

We kick off the summer term by return to explore the depths and passions of poets from around the world. The poetry is studied with a specific focus on ‘unseen’ skills in preparation for next year.

We end the year by returning to Shakespeare’s tragedies in preparation for their GCSE Shakespeare text by reading about the jealousy-fuelled disruption, racism, and manipulation that occurs in Othello.

Assessments

Autumn
Write a response to extract from Sign Of Four – modelled on GCSE Literature style question.
Write a response to a student’s statement about Fahrenheit 451 – modelled on GCSE Language question.
Spring
Write a speech in which you persuade people how society can be improved.
Write a story that celebrates your culture.
Summer
Write a response to an unseen poem.
End of year assessment.

Key Stage 4

GCSE English Language and Literature

What is in the course?

The course has been designed to enable students of all abilities to develop the skills they need to read, understand, and analyse a wide range of different texts covering the 19th, 20th, and 21st century time periods as well as to write clearly, coherently, and accurately using a range of vocabulary and sentence structures. The course offers excellent preparation for AS and A level English and Literature studies, as well as giving students a grounding in a wide variety of literature that will stay with them for life.

English is one of the ‘core’ subjects that all students have to study up to the end of Year 11. In fact, Department for Education rules state that students who don’t gain a GCSE grade 4 and continue in full time education after year 11, have to continue with GCSE English and retake the course. This shows the importance which is attached to GCSE English.

The Language and Literature GCSEs will be taught together. Students will benefit greatly from the transferable skills developed across the two subjects.

How is it assessed?

Examination Board/Course Code: AQA/Language 8700, Literature 8702

English Language – Students will be assessed through 2 examinations. Both papers are written examinations of 1 hour 45 minutes and can be awarded up to 80 marks. Each paper is worth 50% of the GCSE. The Spoken Language unit is non-examination assessment. It is marked by the teacher throughout the course and is separately endorsed. It has a 0% weighting of the GCSE.

All texts in the examination will be unseen. All examinations are un-tiered.

English Literature – Students will be assessed through 2 examinations. Paper 1 is a written examination of 1 hour 45 minutes and can be awarded up to 64 marks. It is worth 40% of the GCSE. Paper 2 is a written examination of 2 hours 15 minutes and can be awarded up to 96 marks. It is worth 60% of the GCSE.

All examinations are closed book. All examinations are un-tiered.

Extra-curricular opportunities include:

The English Department will organise theatre trips and workshops wherever possible to develop students’ understanding of the texts.

Progression opportunities

Students who enjoy this subject can continue their studies at Ernest Bevin with English Literature A Level. You can find out more information on our Sixth Form Course booklet.

Additional Resources

The links below will take you to some additional resources which may help students with their studies. Please note some take you to external websites.

Mr Buff

BBC Bitesize

Reading List of Suggested Books for Years 7-11

Secondary School National Offer Day 1st March 2024

If you would like to book a tour please contact:  admissions@ernestbevinacademy.org.uk