English Teaching Staff
- Mrs C Murray – Curriculum Area Leader
- Mrs A Miller – Lead Practitioner and Literacy Lead
- Mrs M O’Shea – Direct Instruction Lead
- Mr T Neill – Principal
- Mr S Dyer – Vice Principal
- Mrs L Parkes – Vice Principal
- Ms I Burston-White – Assistant Vice Principal
- Mr P Harmey
- Miss H Rodin
- Mr J Stafford
- Mrs E Downward
- Miss M Cartwright
Why English is important
English is a core subject for all students at Wey Valley Academy. A good standard of literacy is essential for all, and along with Maths, English is a required qualification for employers. Any student who does not achieve at least a grade 4 at the end of Year 11 is required to continue their study of English and re-take the GCSE examination in English Language. It is vital that all students achieve the best possible grade in both English Language and Literature so that they can access the courses and employment opportunities that are right for them in the future.
For their study of English Literature, students will explore texts and examine them in their specific contexts, allowing them to take a literary journey from 1789 all the way to the 21st century, discovering how literature influenced and was influenced by the social and political landscapes of its day. Whether Percy Shelley’s anti-establishment poem ‘Ozymandias’ or Imtiaz Dharker’s exploration of humanity in ‘Tissue’, students can engage with a wide variety of authors and their texts. The study of English Literature provides an insight into the development of humanity over the last 300 years and will inspire students to find their own place in the world.
Teaching and Learning in English
At the Wey Valley Academy, students following the Mastery English curriculum in years 7-9, and the AQA specifications for their GCSE qualifications. The Mastery English curriculum is a cumulative, knowledge-rich curriculum in Key Stage Three which allows students to develop their skills throughout the three years. We combine the study of texts from the traditional literary canon with more contemporary literature to ensure students see the full breadth of English Literature. In addition to this, we offer grammatical instruction and systematic introduction of tier 2 language to allow students to develop precision and flair in their writing.
The Key Stage Four curriculum is designed to build on the foundation of knowledge the students will receive in years 7-9, as well as equipping them
with the skills they need to succeed in their GCSE studies. The course is sequenced in a way that allows students to embed their knowledge and revisit key skills over the two years.
In addition to this, the English department uses a phonics-based intervention system to allow all students to access the curriculum. Students in years 7 and 8 who have been identified as requiring literacy support will follow a bespoke curriculum, designed to support and accelerate their progress so that they can access the curriculum in years 9, 10 and 11.
Key Stage 3
In years 7 and 8, students have three 75-minute English lessons per week, with six sessions per fortnight. Students will have one lesson in our well-resourced library per fortnight, where they will focus on reading for pleasure and they will be taught library skills.. The remainder of the lessons will be classroom-based and students will study a range of texts including: Oliver Twist, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Animal Farm and a selection of poetry.
In year 9, students have six 75-minute English lessons per fortnight. Texts on the year 9 curriculum include Jane Eyre, Romeo and Juliet and a selection of poetry, as well as a critical reading unit focused on understanding and writing non-fiction.
Key Stage 4
In years 10 and 11, students have seven 75-minute English lessons per fortnight. Students will study a balance of English Literature and English Language units. Set texts for English Literature are A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens), An Inspector Calls (JB Priestley), Macbeth (William Shakespeare) and the AQA Power and Conflict poetry cluster. We follow the AQA 8700 syllabus for English Language and 8702 for English Literature.
Over the two years of KS4 students will read a range of fiction and non-fiction from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, which will prepare them to explore and analyse unseen texts in the examinations. Students will learn to engage with texts critically and read between the lines to gain a deeper understanding of writers’ meanings and intentions. Students will be able to evaluate writers’ choices and compare intentions and perspectives across two different texts. Students will also spend time learning to write creatively and coherently for a range of different purposes, including writing to narrate, describe, explain, inform and persuade. Students will be able to write in an engaging and exciting way, learning to use a range of structural and organisational features as well as a wide variety of language techniques and devices. Students will be able to construct texts using Standard English grammar to write imaginatively, creatively and persuasively. Students will also undertake a spoken language assessment in which they will present a short speech on a topic of their choice. Students will be able to select and organise information effectively, and speak in Standard English.
PLEASE NOTE: The Spoken Language Endorsement does not affect the GCSE grade for English Language and is awarded separately on the GCSE certificate
There are many opportunities for extra-curricular activities to support the students’ study of English. The below list contains examples of activities that we have run in the past, as well as activities we are planning to run in the future.
- High performance classes
- Workshops with visiting poets and speakers, such as Lord Julian Fellowes and John Agard
- Live Q&A sessions as part of our seasonal lectures
- Trips to places of literary importance
- Trips to the theatre
- Visits to the British Library
- Visits to places such as the Harry Potter Studio Tours
- Poetry Live! (a dedicated event focused on the GCSE poetry anthology)