Key Stage 3
English Language is embedded at Key Stage 3 as part of the CCHS curriculum. Throughout this Key Stage, students will analyse and evaluate texts as part of their developing critical response to literature: the texts, whilst usually literary, also involve non-fiction writing such as newspaper articles or informative, persuasive or advisory leaflets. Students hone their comprehension skills by analysing and emulating these forms of writing.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4, students are entered for AQA English Language GCSE. They will sit two papers: Paper 1 ‘Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing’ and Paper 2, ‘Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives.’ They will be taught skills of critical analysis and creative writing throughout the two-year course.
Texts on the English Language papers involve a combination of fiction and non-fiction extracts from a range of 19th century and 20th century writing. Students must critically respond to these, considering key aspects of the extracts such as audience, purpose, language, rhetorical or figurative devices used, and analysing their effects upon the reader. The creative writing tasks require students to respond to an idea or theme triggered by the reading task – they must produce descriptive or persuasive prose.
Speaking and Listening now constitutes a stand-alone qualification at GCSE stage in the form of the Spoken Language Endorsement certificate, which is assessed on the basis of an extended speech or presentation delivered by each student in front of an audience. Speaking and listening skills are taught in lessons and assessed as part of teacher assessment of student progress and development of these essential skills.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar now accounts for 20% of the whole grade in the marking criteria.
We see the study of English Language at GCSE as naturally beneficial for the students in school and beyond, opening doors to a wide variety of careers including the law, journalism and the media, education, and in any area where language skills are useful.