Students are given the chance to study a huge range of different texts at KS3. In Year 7, students learn about Shakespeare and read ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ while also studying non-fiction texts and reading an exciting novel like ‘Millions' or ‘Feather Boy’. In Year 8, they get the chance to study texts from other cultures, read another novel with the classic, ‘A Private Peaceful’ or 'Boy In The Striped Pyjamas' and continue their Shakespeare appreciation with ‘The Tempest’ or 'Twelfth Night'.
Students in Year 9 are provided with a GCSE Skills year, in which they are able to learn and practice all the skills that are needed for their GCSE year. Students study a novel such as 'Frankenstein','Lord of the Flies' or '1984', undertake a Spoken Language project and also study the Shakespeare play, 'Macbeth'. In addition, students are able to perfect their Speaking and Listening skills and practice writing for different audiences and purposes.
In Years 10 and 11, students study both GCSE English and English Literature with the WJEC examination board. They must complete a total of six pieces of written coursework to assess their Reading and Writing. English has two 2 hour final exams while English Literature has one 2 and a half hour final exam.
The first, the study of a play by Shakespeare such as 'The Merchant of Venice', Romeo and Juliet' or 'Othello', teaches them how to analyse language in detail, to understand character relationships and motivation as well as giving them a knowledge of stage craft and the art of the playwright.
Secondly, students will read a pre-1914 novel from the English Literary Heritage, for example, the thrilling ‘The War of the Worlds’ by HG Wells or the creepy ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson, and create an assignment that analyses language use and meaning, considers plotting and structure, and compares and contrasts characters.
Next, students will complete two assignments on a range of poetry. The first will look at poetry from different cultures, poetry by Seamus Heaney, Grace Nichols or Lawrence Ferlinghetti for instance. The second piece will ask them to compare poetry from the 19th Century with poetry from the 20th by such poets as Robert Browning, Ben Jonson or Simon Armitage.
Finally, students are required to complete two pieces to demonstrate their skill in writing. The first piece asks them to write a short story, possibly in the gothic tradition, while the second, done in timed, classroom conditions, asks them to write a review, usually of a film.
In addition, they must also complete three Speaking and Listening assignments, working individually, in a pair and in a group on presentations to the class, drama productions, and discussion and debate.