In the English Department at John Spence our aim is to enable students to be reflective readers, skilled writers, confident speakers and creative thinkers. We work as a team to plan courses that are stimulating and enjoyable with activities that enable students to investigate texts and explore the ways in which meaning is communicated. We have a clear focus on the development of students’ literacy skills and use regular key assessments to provide precise targets that will allow students to make progress and have a sense of direction for future learning.
Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 courses are designed to engage and interest students through using a variety of teaching and learning techniques and through a consistent and rigorous focus on assessment for learning. Our curriculum is designed to cover a wide range of texts from different genres, periods and cultures.
At Key Stage 3, students will study novels, drama (including Shakespeare), poetry, non-fiction and media texts. Within each unit of study all assessment objectives are covered and courses are structured around common assignments that allow us to monitor progress effectively. In our lessons, we also provide a close focus upon word-level and sentence-level literacy skills. In Year 7 and Year 8, students will spend one lesson each fortnight in the Learning Resource Centre where they are given opportunities to develop reading skills, use and develop ICT skills and, in Year 9, students will refine skills that will enable an effective preparation for GCSE study.
At Key Stage 4, students will be organised into ability groupings after evaluation of results from Year 9 assessment pieces. Some students will pursue the OCR GCSE English Course (one GCSE) and some students will follow OCR GCSE English Language + GCSE English Literature (two GCSEs). Decisions about the most suitable courses for individual students will be refined based upon their results in Controlled Assessments and examination practice pieces. In the English/English Language examination, students will be assessed on their abilities to analyse and compare aspects of non-fiction; they will also produce responses to two tasks assessing their ability to produce engaging writing - appropriate to genre, audience and purpose. Controlled Assessment pieces will include: a study of Spoken Language; creative writing; responses to Of Mice and Men, a Shakespeare play and a literary heritage text. In addition, students will be formally assessed on their Speaking and Listening skills.