"There can be no more important subject than English. It is at the heart of our culture and literacy skills are crucial to pupils’ learning for all subjects."
Sir Michael Wilshaw (OFSTED Chief Inspector - January 2012)
'Best English Results Award 2017'
Vision Statement: We aim to develop the key concepts both within the English curriculum and through cross-curricular opportunities, as offered by literacy across the curriculum and St. Joseph’s 'Activity Days.'
Key Stage 3 English at St. Joseph’s Catholic College
Key Stage 3 English is the first step in a crucial learning journey for our students. We ensure that our Key Stage 3 schemes of work are carefully focused on deep learning of key knowledge and skills so that students are given the opportunity to master concepts that they will need at Key Stage 4 and beyond. The curriculum is designed thematically, ensuring that students study a range of literature: prose, poetry, drama, literary non-fiction and a range of different writing forms and styles. The texts have been selected to ensure broad scope, incorporating seminal literary texts from a range of different time periods, genres and styles, whilst retaining alignment with our important multicultural identity. We operate a carefully constructed assessment system, a balance of formative and summative assessment opportunities, that helps to hone skills in reading, writing and spoken language - all vital aspects of communication. We aim to develop students' engagement in the subject, their enjoyment of reading and writing and improve their oracy skills, which provides students with a bridge to begin critically evaluating literary texts. Alongside this, we have built our innovative curriculum to offer significant challenge, encouraging independent thought, creativity and originality.
Term 1: Spy Fiction ('Stormbreaker' - A Horowitz)
Term 2: Modern Novel: 'Hatchet' (G Paulson) and Adventure Writing
Term 3: Dickensian: 19th Century Literature and Imaginative Writing
Term 4: Gothic Literature: 'Frankenstein' (M Shelley/P Pullman) and Gothic Writing
Term 5: Poetry in Different Contexts ('Monsters' and 'War Poetry')
Term 6: War Literature
Term 1: Nature Poetry and Imaginative Writing
Term 2: Displacement and Belonging - 'Refugee Boy' (B Zephaniah) and Transactional Writing
Terms 3 and 4: People that Changed the World - 'I am Malala' (M Yousafzai) and Autobiographies
Terms 4 and 5: Power and Conflict - 'Animal Farm' (G Orwell)
Term 6: Love and Tragedy - Romeo and Juliet (W Shakespeare)
Terms 1 and 2: Dreams, Hopes and Plans - 'Of Mice and Men' (G Steinbeck) and Transactional Writing
Terms 3 and 4: The Victorian Context - 19th Century Literature and Imaginative Writing
Term 5 and 6: Conflict and Tragedy: Conflict Poetry and 'King Lear' (W Shakespeare)
English GCSE at St Joseph’s
Key Stage 4 English GCSE has never been more exciting and innovative than it is now. Our curriculum aims to engender a deeper, more critical learning experience, building on the deep learning of skills and knowledge acquired in Key Stage 3 and progressing to mastery level. At St. Joseph’s, it is our aim to foster a lifelong love of reading and writing with our broad, challenging curriculum, which seeks to enable students to become confident literary critics. Students will develop their ability to insightfully analyse and evaluate a breadth of texts spanning from the 19th Century to today, as well as becoming creative wordsmiths, developing a whole host of writing skills from article writing to creative prose. We carefully prepare students for two GCSE qualifications: Edexcel English Language and English Literature. Both of these qualifications are taken at the end of the two year course, Year 11, and are comprised of 100% examination, with two separate papers per qualification. A Spoken Language assessment is taken in Year 10 to validate the English Language GCSE.
During Year 10, students gain deep knowledge and expertise of the English Literature texts: JB Priestley's 'An Inspector Calls', Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', RL Stevenson's 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde' and Poetry (anthology and 'unseen') in the Edexcel English Literature Poetry Anthology. Students also prepare for and conduct their Spoken Language assessment. Alongside the literary texts, writing is also taught explicitly on a fortnightly basis to enhance students' crucial writing skills, with tasks linked to the text(s) studied.
In both Key Stage 3 and 4, students will have two class books: one is a note-taking book, and the other, a progress book. The note-taking book will comprise of class notes, research or revision notes. These books will be monitored by teachers, but not formally marked. The progress book will be formally marked and include any extended writing or analysis, assessments, student responses, mock examinations and assessment for learning work. Parents are encouraged to read and respond to teachers’ marking in students’ purple progress books.
Although the College will provide texts for in-class study of the GCSE texts, students are encouraged to purchase their own copies of the Literature examination texts (namely 'An Inspector Calls', 'Macbeth', 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde') and are given a free copy of the Edexcel Poetry Anthology (in Year 11). It is advisable that students either purchase the texts through St. Joseph’s, or from an external source, so that they can annotate and revise independently from these texts. Students who unable to purchase texts will be given copies free of charge. It is vital that students keep their annotated copies of the texts over the two year course so that they can refer back to and revise from these resources. Independence has never been more critical than it is now, and students are reminded that the more rigorous examinations in English Language and English Literature do demand that students are highly independent in their note-taking, revision, reading and homework. There can be no doubt that these examinations ultimately reward students who are diligent, committed, self-motivated and independent learners.
‘An Inspector Calls’ by J B Priestley.
‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson.
‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare.
It would also be helpful for students to purchase revision guides for the literary texts; although these are not available for purchase through the College, details of these guides are listed below:
Macbeth York Notes for GCSE 9-1 ISBN 9781447982203
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde York Notes for GCSE 9-1 ISBN 978-1447982180
An Inspector Calls York Notes for GCSE 9-1 ISBN 978-1447982166
You can find out more about the English Language and English Literature qualifications by accessing the Edexcel website:
In Year 11, these skills and topics are further established and re-visited, as well a specific core focus on the English Language examinations - English Language Paper 1, followed by English Language Paper 2. Intervention sessions are co-ordinated termly through our Lead Practitioner. Students are invited to attend these sessions. In addition, the English Department run scheduled after-school revision sessions for Year 11 students twice weekly from Term 3 (January), to which all students are invited. Historically, these have been very well attended and have proven very successful in further developing the skills needed for students to achieve their very best in these undoubtedly challenging examinations. Furthermore, the English Department also run crucial revision sessions before the examinations in May/June. These are run and delivered by the Senior Leader of English and Lead Practitioner of English.
Year 10 2020-21
Term 1: JB Priestley's 'An Inspector Calls.'
Assessment: Literature Paper 1B AIC
Terms 2 and 3: Shakespeare's 'Macbeth.'
Assessment: Literature Paper 1A Macbeth
Terms 4 and 5: RL Stevenson's 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'
Assessment: Literature Paper 2A J&H
Terms 5 and 6: Poetry - Edexcel English Literature Poetry Anthology 'Conflict Cluster' and Unseen Poetry
Assessment: Literature Paper 2B Poetry
Spoken Language Assessment
All students are encouraged to come along to our theatre trips, usually organised during Activities Week. We arrange for students in Year 10 and 11 to watch productions of their GCSE Literature texts.
We are proud of our students' involvement in a range of College-based local and national competitions. These are often run in conjunction with our Independent Learning Centre. We enter a variety of competitions ranging from designing World Book day tokens to creative writing activities.
Year 11 2020-21
Term 1: RL Stevenson's 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde'
Assessment: Literature Paper 2 J&H
Term 2: Language Paper 1 and 'Macbeth' revision
Mock examination: English Language Paper 1
Term 3: Language Paper 1 and 'An Inspector Calls' revision
Mock examination: English Literature Paper 1 ('Macbeth' and 'An Inspector Calls')
Term 4: English Language Paper 2 and 'An Inspector Calls' revision
Mock examination: English Language Paper 2
Term 5: English Language Paper 2 and 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' revision
Mock examination: English Literature Paper 2 ('Jekyll and Hyde').
GCSE Examinations: May 2021
Please note, the above has been amended to reflect changes as a result of the pandemic.
Students in Year 11 2020-21 will not sit the Poetry Section B element of the English Literature examinations. It has therefore been omitted from the sequence above. English Literature Paper 2 will comprise of 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' (Section A) only.