English at Buckler’s Mead Academy
Key Stage 3
In Year 7, all pupils take part in the DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) programme. The aim of DEAR is to enthuse a love of reading in pupils; encouraging and motivating pupils to read widely and often. DEAR helps pupils to improve their reading ages as they move through a challenging curriculum.
To further support pupils’ reading, Year 7 will also take part in the Bedrock Vocabulary programme. This is a computerised programme that teaches vocabulary explicitly, whilst encouraging academic reading. Bedrock helps pupils to improve and widen their academic vocabularies which is essential for progress in academic achievement.
The Year 7 English curriculum is designed to progress and challenge pupils’ skills and expertise in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Diagnostic testing is used to determine pupils’ reading and spelling ages, thereby allowing pupils to clearly focus on improving areas of development whilst building on their strengths. The pupils study engaging and challenging texts including modern and 19th century novels as well as Shakespeare plays. Knowledge of the literary canon is fundamentally empowering and as such pupils will consistently develop their cultural capital as they explore a range of meanings and contexts in their studies. Throughout the year pupils are taught about different styles of writing and how to tailor their own work to suit the selected purpose and intended audience.
The Year 8 curriculum builds and expands upon the learning in Year 7. The DEAR programme continues in Year 8 with various departments within the Academy leading reading weeks throughout the year. Bedrock will also continue to further pupils’ academic vocabulary.
In English classrooms, pupils will further the six core skills in preparation for GCSE study: structure and coherence, SPaG, awareness of impact, understanding context, using evidence and analysing techniques. An interleaved learning approach allows pupils to link the texts they have previously studied to be able to make strong relational links in their learning. Therefore, pupils will study a second modern, 19th century and Shakespearean play in Year 8. With a literature text as a focus point, pupils will have the opportunity to explore and learn in many different forms including: poetry, creative writing, media and formal speaking and listening.
Throughout KS3, at least one reading, writing or speaking and listening assessment is carried out every half term.
Key Stage 4 (from September 2018)
In Year 9, students begin their full GCSE English Language and Literature programme of study and final examinations are with the AQA examination board. The main focus in Year 9 is on Literature and students begin with Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, their 19th Century text. Anthology poetry is interleaved throughout Year 9, with poems being studied from the ‘Power and Conflict’ section of the AQA Anthology. In the Spring Term, they move on to their modern text which is “An Inspector Calls” by J B Priestley. Throughout the Summer Term, knowledge and understanding of the Literature texts is consolidated and tested, as well as practice on the Unseen Poetry element of the specification. Each half term, there is a formal assessment, marked on examination criteria, set by the Head of Department and moderated by the English team.
Year 10 and 11
Year 10 begins with focus on a Shakespeare play. Teachers of Year 10 will choose from three Shakespeare plays: “Macbeth”, “The Merchant of Venice” or “Romeo and Juliet”. They will revise the Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology and their 19th Century and modern texts, using past exam papers and half termly assessments, set by the Head of Department and moderated by the English team. At the end of Year 10, they will begin to focus on the AQA English Language specification and will undertake their Speaking and Listening assessments, which are a required element for this course.
In Year 11, the main focus is on GCSE English Language, following the AQA syllabus. Students will be required to demonstrate reading and writing skills across two examination papers, each of one hour and forty-five minutes duration. Paper 1 is based on an extract from a fiction text, where students need to extract information, analyse language and structure and comment on a viewpoint. They will then produce an extended piece of creative writing, either narrative or descriptive. In Paper 2, they will read two non-fiction texts which have a linked theme. They will be required to extract information from these texts, compare them, analyse the language techniques used and then comment on writers’ perspectives. They will then produce an extended piece of writing which argues for or against a viewpoint on a particular topic.
Revision guides on all topics are available and can be ordered directly via Wisepay. It is recommended that these are ordered after the topic has been studied in class. Revision resources are also available via Seneca and GCSE Pod.
GCSE Media Studies
Media Studies is currently offered as an option subject at KS4, using the WJEC Eduqas syllabus. Students begin the course in Year 9, with final examinations at the end of Year 11.
The English Department
The English Department is based in the main block of the Academy, over three floors and eight classrooms. There is access to two full computer suites in the block and the Department also has a set of laptop computers for its exclusive use. All classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards and desktop computers. There is a Study Centre on site with a full-time Literacy Assistant, a huge range of fiction and non-fiction texts and desktop computers; students in Key Stage 3 have a fortnightly lesson in the Study Centre.
The teaching staff in the English Department have a wide range of expertise and experience. The current team is as follows:-
Mrs Diane Stevens Head of English
Miss Zoe Egan English Development Leader
Mrs Victoria Willson Assistant Head/Teacher of English
Ms Kara Bignell-Bird Teacher of English
Mrs Justine Paul Teacher of English
Mr Simon Jarvis Teacher of English
Mrs Kate Vella Teacher of English
Mrs Ella Horsington Teacher of English
Mrs Samantha Walls Teaching Assistant
Mr Gareth Ingersent Administration Assistant