Developing essential skills
English at Brakenhale is consistent in its popularity and success. As a team of subject specialists we take pride in providing the opportunity to develop essential skills in effective communication and analytical thinking. Pupils are taught to think creatively and critically and to question what they read. The study of English also helps pupils to develop the literacy skills that are integral to accessing and experiencing success across the whole curriculum. Consequently, we ensure that we provide a programme of study which teaches a wide range of skills through a variety of resources and topics. Pupils are formally assessed each half term and each scheme of work offers opportunities for pupils to self-reflect under the guidance of expert practitioners.
Regardless of ability, the department’s philosophy is that all children should be able to fulfil their academic potential and high standards are expected from every child. In order to facilitate this, the department strives to create a stimulating learning environment in which every child feels that they are able to achieve.
Students will work on a variety of texts and will experience note taking, diary writing, letter writing, report writing, pamphlets, leaflets, review writing, advertisements, newspaper articles and critical responses to poems, stories and play scripts. Each half term students will complete a formal assessment with a focus on reading, writing or speaking and listening; at some point during the year, each year group will complete a formal examination.
At Brakenhale, a team of specialist English teachers prepare the students to sit their GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature examinations at the end of year 11, following the AQA specifications. Students will have to sit and pass a total of 4 exams to gain both qualifications. There is no coursework or controlled assessments meaning that both GCSEs are assessed by 100% examinations. Throughout the two year course, students will gain an appreciation for English Literature as well as an enhanced analytical understanding of English Language.
In year 10, GCSE Literature preparations include studying a 19th Century Novel (Jekyll and Hyde or A Christmas Carol), a Shakespeare play (Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet), and a poetry anthology. To prepare for the English Language GCSE, students explore unseen fiction texts as well as descriptive and persuasive writing and writing to present a viewpoint, where students are able to explore their creativity. In the last half term, pupils complete a Spoken Language unit where they will be required to deliver an independent presentation.
In year 11, before final revision of Language and Literature, students study a modern text, such as An Inspector Calls, Blood Brothers, Telling Tales and/or Lord of the Flies, which is the last text that they will need to revise for their Literature GCSE.
Students who decide to study English Literature at AS/A2 level will develop an interest in and enjoyment of reading and discussing literary texts. They will develop their knowledge and understanding of a wide range of literature texts and the skills of literary analysis. English Literature combines well with many other subjects including History, Classics and Modern Foreign Languages. The English Literature qualification is welcomed for many different careers because it emphasises creativity, disciplined thought and communication, plus an ability to synthesise and contextualise ideas.