“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours” – The History Boys, Alan Bennett
The primary aim of the English department is to foster a love and curiosity within our students for studying and using the English language. For the majority of our students, English is their first language and our desire is to highlight the history and journey their language has been on over the past 2000 years whilst simultaneously resourcing them to continue that journey as the next generation. For students for whom English is an additional language, our aim remains the same albeit with more support and guidance required along the way.
As a department we strongly believe in the power of literature to captivate and inspire ourselves and our students. We also believe it exemplifies the best uses of English as a language which is why our teaching at all Key Stages centres around teaching English skills through the study of Literature in a ‘mastery curriculum’ approach.
A ‘mastery curriculum’ focuses on the teaching of skills, not content, and at Longsands we have designed our KS3 & KS4 English courses based on the nine core Assessment Objectives of the GCSE curriculum. We have labelled these ‘The Roots of English’ everything our students study and learn in English will revolve around at least one of these core skills; a PDF of the posters on display in every English classroom can be found in the documents linked below. As your child journeys through Years 7-11 (during which English is a compulsory core subject) they will develop their mastery of these core skills, ready for the national testing at GCSE level. More information on our Mastery Currlculum can be found on the KS3 Curriculum page and the Mastery Curriculum FAQs page.
English at KS3 aims to develop the work done by students at KS2, harnessing their knowledge of language techniques and terminology as we seek to widen the breadth of texts they read as we introduce them to more traditional English texts, develop their ability to write extended analytical essays and seek to unlock their creativity with the written word. By the end of KS3, all students will have read at least 2 Shakespeare plays, a range of poetry from the last 300 years, and at least 3 novels from the 19th and 20th Century. Our aim is for students to expand their awareness of the cultural impact of English Literature upon modern society and enjoy developing their independent reading and writing skills across these different genres and difficulties of text.
English is a compulsory ‘core subject’ at GCSE and all students are entered for both the English Language and English Literature GCSE qualifications. Students currently study the AQA specification for both papers which tests their independent reading skills of unseen texts from 19th-20th Centuries, their ability to write within a given brief, and their understanding of a range of Literature texts from the 16th-21st Centuries. As with KS3, our primary aim at KS4 is to foster a love of English and a confidence within it for all of our students.
We offer two separate courses at A-Level for students to choose to study: A-Level Language & Literature and A-Level Literature. Our Language & Literature enables students to combine their analytical reading skills of both fiction and non-fiction text with their writing skills to produce a creative piece of their own. A-Level Literature focuses solely upon the analysis and evaluation of Literature texts across the canon. Further information about both courses can be found on the KS5 Curricum page.