Our department is focused on raising standards of achievement in school by delivering both English Language and English Literature to each year group. Students are grouped predominantly in ability groups from Year 7 however, we understand the need for creating a positive working environment for every individual and this is at the forefront of any decisions we make when setting pupils. We continually assess the accuracy of each set in order to provide a well-tailored education and ensure stretch and challenge for all. In years 7 and 8, smaller groups are also created to offer targeted support to pupils requiring additional provision. The department also offers targeted intervention, LRC lessons, Writing Competitions, Booster classes in Year 9 and exam revision and support sessions in Years 10 and 11. Years 7, 8 and 9 have six one hour teaching periods per fortnight whereas years 10 and 11 receive eight one hour teaching periods per fortnight.
Our department aims to ensure that all English lessons enable students to progress. In lessons our students have hard working and enjoyable learning experiences. We want all students to become confident communicators who gain profit and pleasure from literature.
Course Content Overview
Details on what curriculum is delivered throughout years 7-11 can be downloaded by clicking here.
How we Stretch and Challenge our students in English
All students are encouraged to challenge themselves within English, by enhancing their own knowledge, developing independent learning strategies, being a resilient learner and writing ambitiously and creatively.
Due to the demands of the new GCSE, students are challenged from the moment they join Burscough Priory in Year 7. We use ‘GCSE style’ assessment papers from Year 7 upwards to familiarise students with the key skills required at GCSE and also increase confidence with the format of the papers.
Students now work towards a 3 year GCSE course. In Year 9 students are stretched and challenged through the introduction and exploration of GCSE set texts and analysis of some of the poems within the GCSE poetry anthology. Year 7 and 8 students are also challenged with the introduction of many of the GCSE skills being taught as part of the KS3 schemes of work.
We use the students’ own work as exemplar responses for others to aim for or even try to exceed the standard of, and success criteria is a large part of most tasks to provide students with the ingredients for an outstanding piece of work. We also provide students with the tools and resources to help them improve their work. We use a ‘top-down’ differentiation approach and always ensure that the highest possible grades are attainable for all students within English.
Students are given homework tasks which aim to promote and further improve their independent learning skills. Students are given individual feedback on assessment tasks and key pieces of work which stretch and challenge existing knowledge and aim to improve their attainment even further. The review process following any assessment is a dedicated activity within all English classes.
How we support our students
At Burscough Priory we firmly believe that Every Child Matters and promote a culture of learning for all. The English department works closely with the ECM and with the pastoral teams to ensure that every child’s needs are catered for and that all students are happy and valued within the classroom.
Students are always given clear instructions and success criteria to work towards. Advice is given verbally to students throughout lessons and they are encouraged to ask questions, including how they can improve their work further.
Intervention, one-to-one support and revision classes are offered to students in all years and of all abilities, The aim is that support is personalised and targeted whenever and wherever it is needed to ensure that all pupils make maximum progress towards their targeted route.
How parents can support their children in English
Parents have a huge part to play in maximising the progress made by pupils in English. You can help at home by: asking them questions about the topics they are studying, helping them to revise the key terminology and encouraging revision of spelling and grammar activities. Every pupil is expected to have a pen, pencil, ruler and a highlighter. Parents can regularly check that pupils are producing their best work in their exercise books and ensure homework tasks are completed to a high standard.
Various local and national reading, writing and spelling competitions and clubs are run throughout the year. Details will be provided for each event as and when they are released.
In house writing competitions. See Mr Lawton (Room 11) for details.
Film club in room 14. See Miss Kilbey for the current lunchtime session available for your year group.
New to the English Department
One of our main aims within the department is to encourage independent learning. Over the last few years, we have used many strategies to promote this within the classroom, but many of our most exciting changes are only happening this year! We have recently developed a brand new ‘Independent Learning Area’ in the LRC which encourages our students to carry out research and investigation to facilitate their learning at KS4. We are also developing a new reading scheme for our KS3 students which we are hoping will be introduced in September 2017.
The new LRC area will include:
- Crib notes – detailed notes and analysis for the GCSE set texts
- Copies of all of our set texts for pupils to access as reference texts
- Revision material
- Reading activities for all
What do our students think about their English lessons?
“English is fun because every lesson is different. We always do a variety of activities like LRC, reading and research which keeps us interested”
Matthew Smith Y7
“The English teachers are always enthusiastic and happy which helps us to learn in a relaxing environment”
Chris Stratton Y7
“Always fun lessons and the topics are interesting. I am really enjoying studying ‘Boy in the Striped Pyjamas”
Abi Roby Y7
“I like English because we learn a lot but it doesn’t feel like hard work at the time. Our teachers always push us to do the best we can”
Ellie Shields Y7
Samples of Student Work
The start of the 2017 term saw the launch of our story writing competition with the theme of ‘Time’. We were enthralled reading the wide variety of entries from all year groups – we received so many entries we even had to enlist the support of our Year 11 prefects to act as judges.
Below are some of the best entries judged, which you may download and read.
Nathan Skinner – A Secular Genius (download)
Morwenna Wood – 24:00 (download)
Kieran Lucas – A Day In The Trenches (download)
As a department we value the cultural experience of attending theatre performances. Whenever possible we arrange theatre visits to enhance our students’ learning and present them with a visual representation of the set texts. Recent performances have included year 10 enjoying a performance of ‘An Inspector Calls’ and year 8 students attending the national tour of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’. Both of these spectacular performances were seen at The Lowry Theatre, Manchester.
We have also invited into school a touring theatre company called ManActCo. This is a specialised Theatre in Education Company that works specifically on securing and consolidating students’ knowledge of the set texts for GCSE. The three performances covered by this group are: A Christmas Carol, An Inspector Calls and Macbeth. Feedback from the students has always been positive and the Q+A session has always proven a valuable device for exploring characters and themes. The texts were brought to life for the whole of our KS4 cohort.
KS3 – Students will be formally assessed once every half term, however, progress is monitored regularly throughout the year through various learning activities and homework tasks. Baseline assessments are used so that class teachers gain a detailed understanding of any new pupil in their class and the AQA KS3 assessments are used as end of year assessments to formally assess progress over time.
KS4 – AQA Exam board students will sit the following written exams:
- Language Paper 1 – 50%
- Language Paper 2 – 50%
- Literature Paper 1 – 50%
- Literature Paper 2 – 50%
Students are also required to undertake a speaking and listening assessment which is moderated externally and reported as a separate grade on the students’ final examination certificate.
Year 10 and 11 pupils will also sit mock examinations at interim periods throughout KS4.
Director of English:
Miss V. Knapper
Assistant Director of English:
Miss C. Garrahan
Mrs A. Anglesea
Miss K. Brown
Miss R. Kilbey
Mr P. Lawton (Maternity Cover)
A letter was sent out to parents in June 2016 for students taking English GCSE, for advice on what books are appropriate for the course. The letter can be downloaded here.