“Its very variety, subtlety, and utterly irrational, idiomatic complexity makes it possible to say things in English which simply cannot be said in any other language.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
In the English Department, we know that Key Stage four is the point at which doors are opened, or closed, forever. English Language GCSE is a standard requirement for any A Level course and a good pass is essential if students are going to move on to higher education and successful lives. We’ve had a lot of success following the EDEXCEL certificate for the last four years and have decided to remain with that examination board for the new 9-1 GCSE specification for Language and Literature.
Teaching begins in Year 9, where we organise our classes by learning style as much as ability. At this stage, we have known the pupils for two years, and feel able to make good judgements about what best suits their needs. During this year, they focus on skills building, which will then lead onto course content in Year 10. But we don’t just follow the exam board content. Taking three years to study for an exam means that students can really engage with the course content on a deeper, analytical level and really begin to develop an appreciation of effective communication and the craft required to really convey a message, as Heinlein says, “things...which simply cannot be said in any other language”.
Alongside this, they will work toward an accreditation in Spoken Language, requiring a researched and well-presented speech. Topics in the past have ranged from Adoption to London transport, and investigations of philosophy and ethics. Our aim is to enable all our Key Stage Four students to progress to the next level of learning without barriers or restrictions.
|Starting English GCSEs in Year 9|