Information about English Language & English Literature.
"It’s not just English, it’s a way of life."
That's our ethos within the English department at Birkdale High School. Our staff are dedicated to ensuring that each boy not only succeeds in English but also enjoys the subject.
One element of our policy at Key Stage 3 is ‘Private Reading and Spelling’. One period per fortnight is devoted to developing our students’ reading ability and spelling accuracy. Boys are encouraged to read independently and there is a wide range of books in a variety of formats to choose from in school. Our focus on reading continues to be developed each Friday during the morning form time period when every person in the school will read a book.
We encourage our students to read for enjoyment, as it also helps to boost their English skills by example whilst giving them a wider understanding of the world around them.
Regardless of your son’s chosen career path, his understanding of English language and his ability to communicate, will be essential components of his success in future life.
Here, at Birkdale High School, ‘real life’ scenarios form an integral feature of our teaching at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.
Today’s young people need to be confident communicators - in their reading, writing and speaking. Not to mention reading forms an integral part of self-study and wider learning.
Students are encouraged to be creative and use a variety of platforms to present their work throughout their time with us.
Our KS3 curriculum is mapped to meet the same objectives as the new GCSE curriculum. This is done to ensure familiarity and confidence with the skills and objectives students will be tested against as the beginning their GCSE course in Y9. Specific assessment objectives and descriptors can be found in the links at the bottom of this page.
At KS3 students have seven lessons a fortnight. Five of these lessons are focused on developing those key skills that are needed to address the reading, writing and literature objectives. One lesson a fortnight is used to develop spelling, punctuation, grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary skills. The final lesson of the fortnight focuses on our class reader. These lessons include activities and tasks that further develop those key skills. Assessments take place at the end of each unit and inform staff of progress and intervention needs of their groups.
Year 7 topics and themes:
Year 8 topics and themes:
All students from the current Y9 onwards will follow the AQA GCSE English Language (8700) and Literature syllabus (8702). Students have 8 lessons a fortnight to prepare for these examinations. AQA English Language and Literature GCSE is 100% external examination. Students will be graded on a numerical scale from 9-1.
GCSE English Language has two papers which are 1hour 45 minutes in length. Each paper has two sections, A and B, and consists of 4 reading questions and 1 writing question.
Section A of Paper 1 will always assess students’ ability to respond to a piece of literature prose fiction (either novels or short stories) selected from either the 20th or 21st centuries. Section B on paper 1 will use the reading source from section A as a stimulus for a piece of writing – either narrative or descriptive.
Section A of Paper 2 will assess students’ ability to respond to two extracts of non-fiction and literary non-fiction texts, covering the 19th century and then either the 20th or 21st century depending on the time period of the resource used in Paper 1. Again, in section B of Paper 2 students will use the reading source as a stimulus for writing. They will be asked to produce a discursive style response that reflect on their reading and offer their own person viewpoint on the matter.
GCSE English Literature has two papers. Paper 1 is 1 hour 45 minutes in length and Paper 2 is 2 hours 15 minutes in length. Paper 1 has 2 Sections, Shakespeare (Macbeth) and The 19th-century novel (A Christmas Carol).
Section A of Paper 1 will always assess students’ ability to respond to a Shakespearean text (Macbeth). There will be 1 extract based question but students will be required to explore the text as a whole within their response. Section B on paper 1 will always assess students’ ability to respond to a 19th-century novel (A Christmas Carol). There will be 1 extract based question but students will be required to explore the text as a whole within their response.
Paper 2 is the longer paper and has three sections, Modern texts, Poetry and Unseen poetry. Section A on Paper 2 will always assess students’ ability to respond to a Modern text (Blood Brothers). There will be 1 extract based question but students will be required to explore the text as a whole within their response. Section B will ask students to complete one comparative question based on poems from their chosen anthology cluster. Finally, section C will assess students’ ability to respond to unseen poetry. There will be two different aspects to this question- the first asks them to respond to a single poem and the second to make comparisons between the original poem and a second unseen poem.
All current Y11students follow the WJEC GCSE English Language and Literature syllabus. Students have 8 lessons a fortnight to prepare for these examinations. GCSE English Language is 60% external assessment and 40% controlled assessment. GCSE English Literature is 75% external assessment and 25% controlled assessment.
WJEC English Language has two paper which are both 1 hour in length. Paper 1 assesses students’ ability to respond to two pieces of non-fiction. There will be 4 questions and each question is marked out of 10. Paper 2 assesses students’ ability to produce two transactional pieces of writing, based on specified purposes and audiences. Students also complete 4 written controlled assessments and 3 speaking and listening tasks.
WJEC English Literature has two papers which are both 2 hours in length. Paper 1 assesses students’ ability to respond to Different culture texts (Of Mice and Men) and Unseen poetry. In section A students will answer 2 questions, one extract question and one whole text question. Section B assesses students’ ability to compare two unseen poems. Paper 2 assesses students’ ability to respond to Contemporary drama (Blood Brothers) and Literary heritage (A Christmas Carol) texts. In both sections students will answer 2 questions, one extract question and one whole text question.