And the winner is….:

BFS students won in 4 categories & placed 2nd in 2 more at the Bedfordshire Festival of Music, Speech & Drama

New Website:

Welcome to our new fantastic website!

Aspire to Engineer:

This year the theme was genetic engineering & BFS came Runners-Up – Congratulations to all involved

Year 9:

Year 9 Options Evening – Thursday 21st March

English
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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, pupils 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 pupils through well-constructed questioning. All Key Stage 3 pupils 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 pupils 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 pupils 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.

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Key Stage 3:

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 pupil’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 pupils, 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, pupils 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:

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 pupils, including an introduction to adversarial debate

Key Stage 4

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: pupils 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: pupils will answer one essay question (34 marks) from a choice of two on their An Inspector Calls

Section B – Poetry: pupils 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: Pupils 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

  • Explorations in creative reading and writing
  • Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives
  • Non-exam assessment

For the award of the GCSE in English Language pupils 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)
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Knowledge maps:

Content coming soon…

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 pupils to read widely both inside and outside of the classroom. We expect pupils 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. Pupils 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 pupils’ 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
  41. 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
  46. 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
  1. The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
  2. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
  3. Skellig by David Almond
  4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  5. Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  6. The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
  7. A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift
  8. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
  9. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  10. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
  11. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  12. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
  13. Dubliners by James Joyce
  14. Face by Benjamin Zephaniah
  15. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
  16. White Teeth by Zadie Smith
  17. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  18. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
  19. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  20. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick
  21.  I am David by Anne Holm
  22. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  23.  The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  24. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
  25. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  26. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin
  27. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  28. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
  29. Empire of the Sun by JG Ballard
  30. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  31. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
  32. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  33. Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse
  34. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  35. A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly
  36. Heroes by Robert Cormier
  37. Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah
  38. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  39. Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally
  40. Forever by Judy Blume
  41. Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin
  42. Stone Cold by Robert Swindells
  43. A Time to Dance by Bernard MacLaverty
  44. Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood
  45. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  46. The War of the Worlds by HG Wells
  47. The Tracy Beaker series by Jacqueline Wilson
  48. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  49. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
  50. The Time Machine by HG Wells