English

Subject Leader Mr G Scanlan

English Department

Aims

 

The aim of the English curriculum at Bedford Free School is to combine what we believe to be the essentials of literacy in the traditional sense of reading and writing with the broader notion of cultural literacy. To ensure the former, we have a rigorous, knowledge-based approach to grammar, spelling and punctuation. For the latter we ensure our students are introduced to what might be regarded as ‘difficult texts’ from year 7.  Combined with our daily DEAR (drop everything and read) sessions, students at BFS are able to draw upon a broad range of social and historical ‘contexts’, which may be applied to many other texts of similar periods, genres and linguistic structures.

Whilst there is much to ‘memorise’ in English at BFS (in terms of cultural, thematic, contextual and linguistic features) we encourage active teaching and learning. Our teachers demonstrate and explain, but also continually interact with students through well-constructed questioning. All KS3 students are required to learn a Shakespeare speech off by heart each year, but they are also given the opportunity to act and bring this great poetry to life. We also believe that all students should be given the opportunity to practice public speaking and practically employ the age-old features of oratory and rhetoric for public speaking, which they will have identified in their reading. 

With the combined knowledge, understanding and practical skills acquired in the study of English Language and Literature at BFS, we firmly believe all students will be well prepared for future academic progress at 6th Form, University and lifelong learning. They will be literate in every sense of that word, and ready to use, understand and interpret the English language throughout their lives.

KS3:

Year 7

Year 7 begins with an introduction to Classical Mythology and its influence on later works of literature. Here we begin a journey into the cultural and historical ‘contexts’ that help make sense of literature through the ages. This basic understanding of ‘intertextuality’ will grow throughout a student’s time at BFS. From the start, grammar knowledge and writing skills are covered in at least one lesson a week (see BFS Essential Grammar and Terminology). As the year progresses, revision and ‘review’ lessons are introduced.

For those struggling, there will be a corrective reading programme suited to the needs of the group (working on comprehension, vocabulary and grammar). An extra teacher will work with small groups with decoding issues, following a phonics-based programme.

Autumn – 1

Mythology:

  • Overview of The Iliad, The Odyssey, and various stories taken from Stephen Fry’s retelling of Greek and Roman myths, Mythos           

Grammar and writing basics:

  • Parts of speech
  • Parts of the sentence

    

Autumn – 2         

Creative and Functional Writing:

  • Using some of the latest ideas on the teaching of writing, we will explore and practise ways of making writing more accurate, concise, interesting and creative.

Revision fortnightly:

  • Grammar
  • Mythology
  • Writing: 2 x 200 word challenges with teacher feedback

Spring – 1

War Poetry and Drama:

White Poppies by Sue Saunders

War Poetry - Selection

Revision fortnightly:

  • Grammar
  • Mythology
  • Writing: 2 x 200 word challenges with teacher feedback

Spring – 2

Shakespearean Comedy & Elizabethan English:

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Read and act out the whole play in class
  • Early Modern English – Know how to distinguish your ‘thees’ from your ‘thous’!
  • Shakespeare by Heart

Revision fortnightly:

  • Grammar
  • Mythology
  • Poetry
  • Writing: 2 x 200 word challenges with teacher feedback

                                                      

Summer - 1         

       

19th Century Literature

 

  • The Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Victorian Vocabulary
  • Key contextual feature of the 19th Century

 

 

Revision fortnightly:

  • Grammar
  • Mythology
  • War Poetry and Drama
  • Shakespeare
  • Writing: 2 x 200 word challenges with teacher feedback

         

         

Summer – 2

Revision for end of year exams

  • Grammar & Terminology
  • Mythology
  • War Poetry and Drama
  • Shakespeare
  • 19th Century Novel
  • Writing: Guided and Creative

 

Oratory & Rhetoric:

  • A chance to learn about the Classical origins of persuasive writing and public speaking
  • Public Speaking for all students, who will write and deliver a persuasive speech to their peers on a topic of their choice

 

Year 8

Building on year 7, we begin with a chronological journey through various literary and historical eras. In addition to the linguistic features in question, we will address the social and historical contexts of each period and link writers with the monarchs of their time.

For those struggling, there will continue to be a corrective reading programme suited to the needs of the group (working on comprehension, vocabulary and grammar). An extra teacher will work with small groups with decoding issues, following a phonics-based programme.

Autumn 1

Literary Eras- Various texts in their time

Autumn 2

Non Fiction Writing:

  • Using some of the latest ideas on the teaching of writing, we will explore and practise ways of making writing more accurate, concise, interesting and creative

Revision fortnightly:

  • Grammar
  • Literary Eras
  • Writing: 2 x 200 word challenges with teacher feedback

Spring 1

Poetry: Unseen and guided

  • Using an anthology of poetry, students will learn how to read and analyse poems for themselves

Spring 2

Shakespearean Tragedy:

  • Rome and Juliet  – Read and act out the whole play in class
  • Shakespeare by Heart
  • Archaic vocabulary and other linguistic features such as ‘elision’ in Elizabethan/Jacobean verse

Revision fortnightly:

  • Grammar
  • Mythology
  • Poetry
  • Elizabethan/Jacobean English
  • Writing: 2 x 200 word challenges with teacher feedback

Summer 1

19th Century Literature:

  • The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Victorian syntax and vocabulary
  • Social and scientific developments in Victorian Britain
  • Colonialism and fear of ‘others’

https://www.bbc.com/education/guides/zx7mxnb/revision/1

Summer 2

Revision for end of year exams

  • Grammar & Terminology
  • Literary Eras
  • Poetry and Drama
  • Shakespeare
  • 19th Century Novel
  • Writing: Guided and Creative

Oratory & Rhetoric:

  • A reminder of the Classical origins of persuasive writing and public speaking
  • Public Speaking for all students, including an introduction to adversarial debate

Year 9

Year 9 is the bridge to KS4. We introduce elements of the KS4 syllabus while developing and refining the knowledge and understand acquired in years 7 and 8.

For those struggling, there will continue to be a corrective reading programme suited to the needs of the group (working on comprehension, vocabulary and grammar). An extra teacher will work with small groups with decoding issues, following a phonics-based programme.

Autumn 1:

Literary Eras – The Romantic Era

  • Historical and social context (Georgian –Victorian)
  • Sublime in nature, reaction to Neo-Classical ideal
  • French Revolution, Industrial Revolution, Rousseau etc
  • Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley

Poetry

Power and Conflict

Autumn 2:

Reading unseen Texts:

  • Decoding/comprehension
  • Analysing how writers use language, form and structure
  • Analysing how a writer’s ‘perspective’ impacts on what they write
  • Application of language and literary terminology
  • Analysing unseen poetry

Revision fortnightly:

  • Grammar
  • Literary Eras
  • Writing: 2 x 200 word challenges with teacher feedback

Spring 1:

Edwardian and 20th Century Drama

  • Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  • An Inspector Calls
  • Drama Conventions
  • Edwardian Context

Revision & Retrieval fortnightly:

  • Grammar/Terminology/Mythology
  • Writing: 2 x 200 word challenges with teacher feedback
  • The Romantics

Spring 2

Shakespearean Tragedy:

  • Macbeth – Read and act out the whole play in class
  • Shakespeare by Heart
  • Jacobean Context
  • James Shapiro’s 1606 The Year of Lear

Revision fortnightly:

  • Grammar
  • Literary Eras
  • Poetry
  • Archaic English
  • Writing: 2 x 200 word challenges with teacher feedback

Summer 1

 

19th Century Literature:

  • “The Signalman” by Charles Dickens
  • Social and historical context of Dickens’ work
  • Reading of A Christmas carol

Summer 2

Revision for end of year exams

  • Grammar & Terminology
  • Literary Eras
  • Poetry and Drama
  • Shakespeare
  • 19th Century Novel
  • Writing: Guided and Extended Creative

Oratory & Rhetoric:

  • A reminder of the Classical origins of persuasive writing and public speaking
  • Spoken Language preparation

KS4:

Exam Board: AQA

English Literature GCSE

Assessments

All assessments are closed book: any stimulus materials required will be provided as part of the assessment.

All assessments are compulsory.

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel

What's assessed

Shakespeare - Macbeth

The 19th-century novel: A Christmas Carol

How it's assessed:

Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

64 marks

40% of GCSE

Questions

Section A Shakespeare: students will answer one question on Macbeth. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole. In preparation they will study context, close reading for language and overall themes and characters.

Section B The 19th-century novel: students will answer one question on A Christmas Carol. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole. In preparation they will study context, close reading for language and overall themes and characters

Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry

  • Modern drama texts: An Inspector Calls
  • The poetry anthology: Power and Conflict
  • Unseen poetry

How it is assessed:

A written exam: 2 hour 15 minutes

96 marks

60% of GCSE

Questions

Section A Modern texts: students will answer one essay question (34 marks) from a choice of two on their An Inspector Calls

Section B Poetry: students will answer one comparative question (30 marks) on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.

Section C Unseen poetry: Students will answer one question on one unseen poem (24 marks) and one short (8 mark) question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.

English Language GCSE

Subject content

1 Explorations in creative reading and writing

2 Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives

3 Non-exam assessment

For the award of the GCSE in English Language students must offer all three assessments.

Assessments:

All texts in the examination will be unseen.

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

Section A: Reading

  • One unseen  prose fiction text

Section B: Writing

  • descriptive or narrative writing

Assessed

Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

80 marks

50% of GCSE

Questions

Reading (40 marks) (25%)– one single text

  • 1 short form question (1 x 4 marks)
  • 2 longer form questions (2 x 8 marks)
  • 1 extended question (1 x 20 marks)
  • Writing (40 marks) (25%)
  • 1 extended writing question (24 marks for content, 16 marks for technical accuracy)

Paper 2: Writers' Viewpoints and Perspectives

Section A: Reading

  • one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text

Section B: Writing

  • writing to present a viewpoint

Assessed

Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

80 marks

50% of GCSE

Questions

Reading (40 marks) (25%) – two linked texts

  • 1 short form question (1 x 4 marks)
  • 2 longer form questions (1 x 8, 1 x 12 marks)
  • 1 extended question (1 x 16 marks)
  • Writing (40 marks) (25%)

Writing (40 marks) (25%)

  • 1 extended writing question (24 marks for content, 16 marks for technical accuracy)

Non-examination Assessment: Spoken Language

Presenting/responding to questions and feedback use of Standard English

Assessed

  • teacher set throughout course
  • marked by teacher
  • separate endorsement (0% weighting of GCSE)

Advice for parents:

Reading

Because we know how important reading is in ensuring young people grow into well-educated, thoughtful and successful members of society, we encourage all students to read widely both inside and outside of the classroom. We expect students at BFS to have a personal reading book with them at all times, and many make use of the school library to select an engaging text they can read for pleasure. Students also read with their tutors for thirty minutes a day during DEAR (drop everything and read). During this time, tutors select a text from a range of classic adult and children’s literature, and the whole class read together, with individuals reading aloud whilst the rest of the class follow along. Not only is this an enjoyable and important process – sharing and discussing books is something to be valued in its own right – it also supports students’ study of English literature, by preparing them for the more challenging novels they will study and analyse in great detail in their English lessons.

What should my child read?

This is the Times Educational Supplement's top 100 books to read before you leave secondary school, as voted by teachers across the country. This is not a ‘definitive’ list. It is just a snapshot, but you might wish to look up a title that interests you, or ask our librarian for more information.

1. 1984 by George Orwell

2. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

3. Animal Farm by George Orwell

4. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

5. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

6. The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

7. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

8. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

9. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

11. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

12. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

13. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

14. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

15. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

16. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

17. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

18. A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines

19. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien

20. Danny, Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

21. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

22. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

23. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

24. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

25. A Passage to India by EM Forster

26. Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

27. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

28. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

29. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

30. Holes by Louis Sachar

31. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

32. The Noughts and Crosses trilogy by Malorie Blackman

33. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

34. War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

35. Atonement by Ian McEwan

36. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

37. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

38. Dracula by Bram Stoker

39. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

=40. A Room With a View by EM Forster

=40. Beloved by Toni Morrison

42. Wonder by RJ Palacio

43. Emma by Jane Austen

44. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

=45. Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngoxi Adichie

=45. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

47. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

48. The Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle

49. Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee

50. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

51. Anita and Me by Meera Syal

52. The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

53. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

54. Skellig by David Almond

55. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

56. Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

57. The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer

58. A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

59. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

60. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

61. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

62. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

63. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

64. Dubliners by James Joyce

65. Face by Benjamin Zephaniah

66. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

67. White Teeth by Zadie Smith

68. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

=69. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

=69. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

=71. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick

=71. I am David by Anne Holm

=73. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

=73. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

=73. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

76. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

77. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin

78. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

=79. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

=79. Empire of the Sun by JG Ballard

=79. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

82. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

=83. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

=83. Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse

=83. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

=86. A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly

=86. Heroes by Robert Cormier

88. Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah

=89. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

=89. Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally

91. Forever by Judy Blume

=92. Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin

=92. Stone Cold by Robert Swindells

94. A Time to Dance by Bernard MacLaverty

=95. Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood

=95. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

=97. The War of the Worlds by HG Wells

=97. The Tracy Beaker series by Jacqueline Wilson

=99. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

=99. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

=99. The Time Machine by HG Wells

KS 4 Compulsory texts (students should have them from the start of year 10):

  • Macbeth:  (Oxford Schools Edition)
  • A Christmas Carol (Penguin Edition is recommended)
  • An inspector Calls (Heinemann Edition is recommended)

 

 

A Christmas Carol

Penguin Edition has notes…

There is a variety of study guides. We recommend at least one per set text:


Are you looking to stretch and challenge yourself?

 

 

 

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