Christian Head, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, CA17 4HA

017683 71693

Kirkby Stephen Grammar School

A Co-operative Academy

GCSE English Language and Literature (Eduqas)

Our pupils build upon the knowledge and skills developed throughout KS3, deepening their understanding of a writer’s craft and the power of language to shape opinions, emotional responses and to stimulate the imagination. They will use familiar structures to help construct academic responses to literary and non-literary texts and will further refine their skills in grammar, punctuation, spelling and cohesion to produce their own engaging narrative fiction and non-fiction texts. We also support pupils to continue to develop their confidence in making informed personal responses.

We aim to encourage pupils to see the value and relevance of their studies in English to their future lives but we also aim to continue to foster a deep love of the enriching, transformative power of literature and reading in its own right.

Our approach to literary texts continues to champion knowledge of context before deeper exploration of writers’ methods; we feel this is essential to pupils’ understanding of the conditions that gave life to a novel, play or poem and, consequently, is essential to their appreciation of its parts.

All of our pupils are entered for both the English Language and the English Literature GCSEs and will sit two examinations in each subject in Year 11. All pupils will encounter each text on the Literature specification during Y10. We revisit these texts in greater depth in Y11, allowing pupils to revisit prior knowledge in order to support long-term learning.

Pupils are taught in mixed ability groups when intake is in two form groups. They may be set where a three form entry allows. We continue to work closely with the SEND department in order to support pupils with additional needs and we believe in enabling all pupils to access the full GCSE curriculum. We support the SEND department in applications for exam concessions where applicable. The English department also provide stretch and challenge for pupils through a variety of classroom strategies and external study days.

Pupils are given feedback in a variety of ways. Informal feedback takes many forms, including verbal tips and prompts and might also include self and peer assessment. Staff may use whole-class directed improvement time in lessons in order to address a specific issue common to all pupils and give them the opportunity to rectify errors or misunderstandings. Staff may give individual feedback on all or part of an exam-style response or an activity designed to measure knowledge/skills mastery. All Y11 pupils are given mock examinations in December (Y10 are given mocks in June/July) and grades will be reported to parents and pupils. We also assess all pupils at the end of each unit of study, providing feedback and approximate grades.

Areas Covered

  • Language skills - punctuation, paragraphing and sentence structure knowledge development is an integral part of our lessons. We aim to support pupils to develop and improve upon their learning from KS3 to become confident, creative and fluent writers who are able to express ideas in their own fiction and non-fiction texts with subtlety, impact and skill.  In particular, pupils will revisit knowledge of the form of speeches, articles and letters from KS3 and will also learn the form of reports and reviews. Using this learning, they will practice drafting their own non-fiction texts to persuade, inform, advise and argue in preparation for the English Language Component 2 examination.

In addition, pupils will return to their knowledge of structuring narrative fiction, practicing drafting stories to engage readers through descriptive language devices, characterisation, purposeful dialogue and the creation of tension; this practice will prepare them for the English Language Component 1 examination.

  • Novel studies – we study Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in preparation for Component 2 of the English Literature examination. Pupils gain knowledge of Dickens’ life and times and explore the conditions of the poor in Victorian England, examining the inequality endemic in the period. Pupils explore plot, narrative structure and characterisation in particular, giving them the framework for deeper analysis of theme in Year 11.
  • Prose studies – we study a range of fiction extracts in preparation for the rigours of the English Language Component 1 examination. Pupils will further their knowledge of how writers use language and structure for impact and will revisit the information retrieval, inference and deduction skills learned in KS3. Pupils will then develop these cores skills to enable critical evaluation of texts, writers’ intentions and methods. Similar knowledge and skills will be applied to the non-fiction study required by Component 2 of the English Language GCSE and pupils will develop their knowledge of how to construct detailed comparisons of texts.
  • Poetry – pupils use familiar frameworks to support the study of an anthology of 18 contemporary and historic poems for Component 1 of the English Literature examination. Using our department-wide approach to literature, pupils will first explore the context of each poem, offering them a diverse spectrum of contextual study to span the slums of contemporary Mumbai to the streets of 18th century London. Pupils will then explore the language, structure, tone and message of each poem to produce critical reflections on the poet’s methods. They will use knowledge of this analytical framework to respond to unseen poetry in preparation for the English Literature Component 2 examination. In Year 11, pupils will revisit comparative skills in order to evaluate the writer’s craft.
  • Post-19th Century Drama – pupils study JB Pristley’s An Inspector Calls. They will gain knowledge of the contexts of the play, both production, setting and 21st Century reception; although context is not formally assessed in this unit, we believe that pupils need to have knowledge of contextual factors if they are to be able to truly comprehend the play’s themes, characters and complexities. In Year 10, pupils will gain knowledge of plot, stagecraft and character. In Y11, pupils will revisit this knowledge and then develop academic responses to questions about theme.
  • Shakespeare – pupils will study Macbeth in preparation for the English Literature Component 1 examination. Again, they will explore ideas context to prepare for a deeper understanding of the play, to include witchcraft, the reign of James I and the role of women in Shakespeare’s England. In Year 10, pupils will read the play to gain knowledge of plot, characterisation and stagecraft. In Year 11, pupils will revisit their learning and develop a deeper appreciation of the play through a study of theme and Shakespeare’s language. Wherever possible, we aim to enable all pupils to experience a performance of Macbeth to enrich their experience as scholars of Shakespeare.   
  • Speaking and Listening – as ever, speaking and listening is central to our approach to teaching in the department. Pupils will use talk to shape their ideas and to articulate their ideas verbally as a precursor to academic written responses. We also prepare them for the Spoken Language endorsement of the English Language GCSE by revisiting the presentation skills developed in KS3 to produce an individual presentation of a topic of interest particular to each pupil. Here, our students learn to articulate complex ideas and information in a formal setting, responding to questioning in detail and with further elaboration.

For further information please contact Ms Newstead. A breakdown of the GCSE course can also be found on the Eduqas website.