English Literature and Language
Why do we study English Literature and Language?
English literature and language are the gateway to a better understanding of human nature, life, history and everything else! Reading and writing are at the core of learning and therefore communication and language skills are a basic human right.
Language and literature equip young people with the knowledge and skills needed to participate as citizens of the world. Control over their language gives them power and control over their destinations. This power ranges from terms and conditions and small print to the moral and ethical questions or our society. Finally, reading is pure escapism from a busy and problematic world – it transports you into a new setting, meeting characters that inspire and surprise you. Reading for pleasure will change your perspective on everything.
We want our students at Mangotsfield to be citizens of the world and that is why we have taken thematic approach to our curriculum starting in Y7. Y7 students encounter six different themes across the school year and these are revisited in both Ys 8&9 allowing students to build upon and establish this broad cultural understanding as they progress through key stage 3. These themes are: Social Responsibility, Conflict, The Outsider, Redemption, Gender and Tragedy. In order to explore these texts to the fullest we look at them through a plethora of different texts written from a vast range of time periods, voices and cultures.
In Key Stage 4 we want our students to be as prepared as they can possibly be for the GCSE English Literature and Language exams without taking away their love of the subject. It is now that we reap the harvest of our thematic focus as all the six themes students have studied throughout key stage 3 are explored in depth in our GCSE texts. We achieve competitive GCSE results in both English Literature and English Language and have been consistently building on these for the last three years.
All the way through secondary school we place a very high value on establishing a love of reading and upon building a student’s working vocabulary. Each of our key themes is supported by a bank of theme specific vocabulary which is integrated into lessons on a daily basis. We test students’ reading ages and support the growth of this via reading based homeworks and in reading specific support lessons.
Meet the team
- Mrs Barnett - Co Head of English - I have always loved studying English and reading. Helping to guide students towards finding this love for themselves is so rewarding.
- Mr Suttle - Co Head of English - I've always loved reading stories and letting my imagination run free. A book can transport us to worlds of every sort, let us travel to places we would never normally get to travel to and lets us meet characters we would never normally get to meet. This is why it is obviously the best subject.
- Mrs Merchant - I love teaching English because I love to see how students can develop their own voice. Words are powerful, and students learn how to harness that power in the English classroom. That is why I think English is so exciting
- Mr Risdale - I enjoy teaching English primarily because of the wonderful people I’ve met along the way, students and colleagues. I enjoy sharing my passion for reading and for great films with my students. It keeps me on my toes because they have curiosities that invite me to explore new fields so that I can be a bridge for them. I have to be prepared to explain news stories to them, so I have to keep informed and aware of what is happening in the world.
- Mr Smith - I love teaching English because language is the key to power. I want my students to feel like they have the ability to open any door with their words.
- Mrs Tuckett -I love sharing the experience of being transported to a completely different time, place or viewpoint by a writer; exploring the incredible power of language with students who so often notice details and offer ideas that I have never even thought of; and empowering students to express their own imaginings and beliefs with clarity and confidence.
- Mrs Partridge - Assistant Head Teacher - I love being an English teacher because I love talking about language. Words and their origins, their meanings and their connotations fascinate me. I also get to spend time speaking with students about some wonderful books. It's amazing to see students develop an understanding of the world and their eyes opened to new and interesting ideas through literature. I think it's the most rewarding subject to teach.
- Mrs Heather - I love the ways in which writers can explore important ideas such as social injustice, poverty and treason just through a story. Think of Macbeth, for example. Shakespeare really makes you think about the consequences of cold blooded murder on the murderer. I'm also a massive grammar nerd and I'm fascinated (and a bit scared) by the ways in which politicians and journalists use rhetorical language to persuade, enlighten, frighten or deceive.
- Ms Smith - I really enjoy the daily interactions I have with my students. You can never quite prepare yourself for the hilarious and sometimes crazy conversations you end up having. I also get to share with them my favourite books and get to see them enjoy this world of reading too, what other job could offer that?
- Mr Clark - I love teaching English as it allows me to facilitate my students’ journeys into other worlds and join them along the way. Words equal agency and sending this message to my students is at the forefront of my mission as a teacher.
- Mrs Blackmore - Headteacher
Course: English Language AQA
Students sit two exams at GCSE and one recorded piece of Spoken Language. Each exam paper is 1hr 45 minutes in length. Paper 1 requires students to respond to 4 questions about a fiction text and then produce an extended piece of descriptive writing. Paper 2 requires students to respond to 4 questions about 2 non-fiction texts and then produce an extended piece of persuasive writing. Each paper is worth 40% of the exam.
Course: English Literature AQA
Students sit two exams at GCSE. Paper 1 requires them to write about a Shakespeare text and a 19th Century text that they have studied in class throughout KS4. This paper is 1 hr and 45 minutes in length and accounts for 40% of the GCSE. Paper 2 requires them to write about a modern text they have studied in class, about two poems picked from an anthology of poetry they have studied in class and about two further poems they will not have encountered before. This paper is 2hrs 15 minutes in length and accounts for 60% of their GCSE.
Key Stage 3: At Key Stage 3 we set a weekly comprehension task. We take an extract from the set text we are reading that term and students respond to a series of questions which tests and improves the level at which they have read and comprehend that text. These homeworks are designed to transform students from passive readers who simply read the words of a text, into active readers who fully comprehend complex pieces of writing.
Key Stage 4: Students sit a two part homework designed to build their knowledge of the GCSE Literature set texts. The first part of this homework is to complete an assignment on the online revision platform www.senecalearning.com. The area of the GCSE they are quizzed on is carefully set in order to ensure all the content of the set texts is covered and revisited across the key stage. We then set a memory and recall written exercise to further build this knowledge of the set texts. Both the English GCSEs are much more knowledge dependent these days and our strategy is that if the students revise the content and the knowledge at home we can use lesson time to teach the the skills of how to apply this knowledge successfully at GCSE