We seek to enthuse, inspire and instil a passion for, and continuing interest in, English – both in terms of literature (be it poetry, fiction or non-fiction), the study of language and the creative aspects of English writing – with the hope of opening our students’ minds to the significance of the subject in the wider world.
We encourage students to embrace their creativity and imagination, as well as to learn, embed and practise the analytical skills necessary to be successful in the subject.
Key Stage 3
We read and study a range of texts across Key Stage 3, from The Tempest and Private Peaceful in Year 7, to A Christmas Carol and The Merchant of Venice in Year 8, until we reach Of Mice and Men and Romeo and Juliet in Year 9. All years also participate in public speaking, crafting a speech on a topic of their choice. We cover a range of poetry, prose, drama, and non-fiction to ensure that students are well prepared for the demands of GCSE by the end of Year 9.
Each half term, students complete an assessment to showcase their understanding of the unit that will test their reading, writing, or speaking and listening skills.
Home learning is typically set once a week and is designed to prepare students for the lesson or to review content from a series of lessons.
Key Stage 4
All students are taught Language alongside Literature and learn to explore writers’ meanings and intentions, analyse the effects of specific devices, explore possible layers of meaning and consider alternative interpretations, amongst other skills.
In the first year of the course, we typically study all three core GCSE Literature texts, including:
Jekyll and Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
Macbeth – William Shakespeare
An Inspector Calls – J. B. Priestley
Language Paper 1 skills are also introduced.
In the second year, we typically study:
Poetry Anthology – Conflict poetry
Language Paper 2 skills
Revision of all three Literature texts and Language Paper 1
Students’ analytical skills are tested frequently throughout the course, both in their written assessments and verbal contributions in class. They will complete one timed formative assessment per text completed in class, in exam conditions, per half term, as well as regular summative practice essay questions alongside the teaching of the key texts.
Students are often asked to complete preparation or research-based tasks, preceding the study of a text; given questions at answer to review or revise their understanding/knowledge of the programme of study, post text; and, at times, practice extract/essay questions – so that they can apply and explore their ideas outside of lessons.
Key Stage 5
We study the OCR English Literature course which is linear with a terminal examination at the end of two years. Students study a variety of different texts including Shakespeare and the Gothic novel. They have to study plays, poetry and novels and two of the examinations require extensive comparison. There is a 20% coursework element to the text which includes close language analysis of World War One poetry and extensive exploration of a novel and a play.
We set at least two formative assessments per half term alongside other research and independent learning. We encourage students to engage with articles such as e-magazine and English Review – all these are available online in the library.
Home learning is set regularly. This ranges from essays written in order to explore key ideas and themes to reading activities based around key texts, critical interpretation or historical and social context.
Year 7 – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory/The School of Rock (tbc)
Year 8 – Gothic Tales, A Christmas Carol (Visiting Theatre Companies)
Year 9 – Romeo and Juliet (Visiting Theatre companies)
Year 10/11 – An Inspector Calls/Macbeth (Visiting Theatre Company)
Year 12/13 – We regularly arrange trips to the theatre and to relevant seminars. This year we took the whole of Year 12 and Year 13 to see The Tempest, in previous years we have been to see Macbeth and Frankenstein.
Stretch & Challenge
We stretch and challenge our students in a number of ways. In-built to every lesson are a variety tasks and teaching strategies to provide the class with a variety of opportunities to challenge their thinking. The department encourages stepped questioning, differentiated tasks, extension tasks, and recommended reading challenges.
An example of enriching the English curriculum is the magazine View from the Mont, which is written by students from Years 7 – 13. It features original poems and writing by the students as well as book reviews from the Beaumont Book Club. The latest edition can be downloaded here.
Where can English take you?
The sky is the limit! Popular employment destinations include: Journalism, Theatre, Editing, Proofreading, Publishing, Law, Management…teaching, and many others.
Past alumni have gone on to study English Literature, Linguistics, or English Literature dual honours with other subjects such as History, Media, American Studies.
How parents can support their child’s learning?
Read with them – lead by example; encourage wider learning; encourage an interest in current affairs, history, culture and society; check homework, discuss their progress with them.