Department Staff: Ms S. Mehdic English teacher
Mr J. Dowd - English teacher
Our intent is to enable all students to progress in English based on their individual needs, providing the personalised support they need to improve their reading, writing and spoken communication skills, in order to access all areas of the curriculum. Through motivating and culturally varied topics students will learn to write accurately, clearly and imaginatively, equipping them with the necessary skills to produce all manner of texts common to adult life. At the same time they will be exposed to a range of different fiction and non-fiction types so they can become confident readers with well-developed analytical and inferential skills. When they leave Falconer School they will be able to understand and process meaning in a wide range of texts. Woven through all of this is the exposure to a variety of culturally important writings ranging from Shakespeare through War Poetry to current youth fiction. All our topics allow students to explore the world around them, their own feelings and experiences and those of others around the world.
English is taught in discrete classes to all pupils in years 7 – 9, following the National Curriculum. It is Falconer School’s intention that students learn the literary knowledge, skills and techniques required to function in an increasingly technological and online environment.
In Year 7, students will investigate a range of fiction, non-fiction and media texts with a focus on making inferences and deductions from explicit and implicit information. They will produce a range of written tasks with a particular focus on sentence level punctuation and vocabulary choices. Formative assessments take place regularly through classwork and specific formative assessment tasks, with summative assessments taking place once per half term.
Throughout Year 8, students continue to develop their inference and deduction skills, and will work reading techniques such as skimming a text for gist and scanning for specific information and will begin to explore the effect of a writer’s choice of words and phrases on the reader. Students will learn a wider range of punctuation, develop their ability to write multi-clause sentences and learn to structure a text through effective paragraphs. Formative assessments take place regularly through classwork and formative assessment tasks, with summative assessments taking place once per half term.
During Year 9, students prepare for and sit AQA Step Up to English, which is a recognised Entry Level Functional Skills qualification. This is assessed through 3 Non-Exam Assessments including:
- reading questions that compare texts; consider the effect of vocabulary and imagery
- writing a range of texts
- a variety of speaking and listening tasks
Students also study a novel that links to current or recent events, poetry that explores the theme of conflict, and a play by Shakespeare. Formative assessments take place regularly through classwork and formative assessment tasks, with summative assessments taking place once per half term.
All pupils have access to a range of Level 1 & 2 qualifications from differing exam boards. We use our knowledge of the different assessment focuses in order to match the individual pupil to the most suitable qualifications.
Cambridge iGCSE English Language
The iGCSE enables students of all levels to develop the skills they need to read, understand and analyse a wide range of different texts as to write clearly, coherently and accurately using a wide range of vocabulary and sentence structures. 50% of the mark is based on a 2 hour exam. The other 50% is based on a portfolio of coursework.
Cambridge iGCSE English Language allows learners to develop the ability to communicate clearly, accurately and effectively when speaking and writing. Students will learn how to use a wide range of vocabulary, and the correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, develop a personal style and an awareness of the audience being addressed. Students are also encouraged to read widely, both for their own enjoyment and to further their awareness of the ways in which English can be used. Cambridge iGCSE English Language also develops more general analysis and communication skills such as inference, and the ability to order facts and present opinions effectively. The programme provides a balance through knowledge and understanding of a subject and help to develop the skills learners need for their next steps in education or employment.
All candidates take two papers, Paper 1, and either Paper 2 or Component 3. Paper 1 consists of three compulsory questions on three texts which may be on a similar topic. Paper 2 consists of a series of sub-questions which require answers of different lengths, this part of the exam is often referred to as short answers. Component 3 will require a portfolio of three assignments, each of about 500–800 words. The assignments may be completed in any order, and are as follows: Assignment 1: writing to discuss, argue and/or persuade in response to a text or texts Assignment 2: writing to describe Assignment 3: writing to narrate. Component 4 is optional and assesses speaking and listening skills. This component is separately endorsed and marks will not contribute to a student’s overall grade.
We may also choose to enter students for the Speaking and Listening Test. Marks for this optional component do not contribute to the overall grade candidates receive for the written components. Instead, where candidates perform to an appropriate standard, certificates record achievement of grades 1 (high) to 5 (low). Candidates will explore a range of speaking and listening skills, including the ability to participate in engaging conversations and to respond spontaneously to questions and prompts. This study will include focus on presentation skills in employing and organising content, and language devices, such as irony, tone and emphasis.
AQA English Literature GCSE
The English Literature GCSE covers four areas of literature: 19th Century novel, Shakespeare, Poetry through The Ages and a play. Through two closed text exams, using extract based assessment students are able to engage with some of the old and new classics. Both exams are worth 50% of the final mark.
In Year 10 we focus on creating a solid grounding in the skills needed to pass these exams. Through varied and engaging schemes of work students will build their reading skills in inference, language and structure analysis, critical analysis and comparing and contrasting. By studying these texts they will then learn to apply these elements to their own writing.
In English Literature we will be studying The Sign of the Four, An Inspector Calls and some of the poetry from our chosen anthology Power and Conflict.
Mock exams are sat around December and February.
In both Language and Literature, Year 11 is where students begin to apply the skills they have developed in Year 10 to the exam. We teach them how to structure their responses to the questions, develop strategies that enable them to make the most use of the time allowed. We use walking/talking mocks in lessons to give them as much real exam experience as possible. In Literature we will be revisiting the texts and poetry studied in Year 10.
Functional Skills Certificates are nationally recognised qualifications that give students the opportunity to achieve a certified award. Our assessments are designed to inspire and motivate your students, providing appropriate stretch and challenge whilst ensuring that the assessment and texts are accessible to Entry Level students. The specification will encourage Entry Level students to develop the skills they need to read and understand a range of texts as well as to write clearly, coherently and accurately using a range of vocabulary and sentence structures. The qualification can be tailored to students' needs through either Silver Step or Gold Step. Silver Step is aimed at Entry 1 and Entry 2 students and Gold Step is for Entry 3 students looking to progress to GCSE. We have provided clear progression and GCSE-ready level descriptors. The specification is fully co-teachable with GCSE English Language. Entry Level students who choose to study both will benefit from the transferable skills developed across the two specifications. The assessment objectives (AOs) are based on the GCSE English Language objectives; Entry Level descriptors of achievement have been matched to these, giving threads of learning running right through Entry Levels 1, 2 and 3 to GCSE. This allows you to focus your teaching on the same AOs with both Entry Level and GCSE students.
Functional Skills English-Entry Levels
Entry Level 2 and 3 Functional Skills English will provide students with the opportunity to start to develop their skimming and scanning techniques when completing reading comprehension questions. Students will also start to learn how to identify some of the key features in a text. They will also learn how to produce a structured formal and informal email, and how to produce a range of structured simple sentences. There will also be a focus on using basic punctuation accurately on a consistent basis in their writing. Teachers will work closely with students to prepare them for their Entry Level speaking and listening assessments.
Functional Skills English-Level 1 and Level 2
Level 1 and Level 2 Functional Skills English will provide students with the opportunity to develop advanced skimming and scanning techniques when completing reading comprehension questions relating to a wide range of different text types. These will include for example online articles, adverts and blogs. Students will also learn how to identify and differentiate between a wide range of key features found in different types of texts. They will also learn how to produce a structured formal letter, itinerary for an organised event, an online article and an advert. Students will learn how to broaden the range of vocabulary they use in their writing, and will start to produce some structured complex sentences within written tasks. There will also be a focus on using a wide range of punctuation accurately on a consistent basis in their writing. Teachers will work closely with students to prepare them for their Level 1 and Level 2 speaking and listening assessments.
The 3 key components of Functional Skills English at Entry Level and Levels 1 and 2 are as follows:
- a reading comprehension Exam
- a writing Exam
- speaking and listening Assessments
Reading and writing exams at Entry Level 2 and Entry Level 3 are paper-based, and reading and writing exams at Level 1 and Level 2 are online examinations.