Our intent is to share our wealth of knowledge and experience, to imbue our students with a genuine passion for the study of language and literature and to teach them to explore how the subject reflects and captures the world around us. In doing so, students will develop their skills in reading, writing and oracy and be able to communicate effectively for different purposes and audiences and in different contexts.
Our students will develop into critical and evaluative readers who are able to explore texts in detail and justify their ideas with accuracy and coherence. They will mature into confident writers who are able to write with fluency, flair and sophistication. They will also be able to use standard English to express complex ideas and engage in detailed discussions ranging from debates to presentations.
We will also provide students with a strong foundation of literacy skills which will enable them to access the wider curriculum across our school. These skills will enable them to access the wide range of academic and vocational pathways leading to their future careers. Additionally, we aim to allow all students to develop essential life skills and career aspirations that will allow for outstanding personal development and ensure they make a significant contribution to whole-school improvement and British/global society.
Our KS3 offer is fully compliant with the National Curriculum. We are continually developing and refining a challenging and ambitious curriculum that enables students to acquire a broad range of skills, concepts and knowledge from the study of language and literature. In doing so, we ensure that students have access to topics of contemporary relevance as well as traditional classical stimulus.
In delivering the curriculum, the English team will use a wide range of innovative and imaginative teaching and learning strategies to stimulate curiosity, discussion and reflection within our students. The department also uses knowledge organisers, reading homework and promotes independent study to encourage our students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the wider curriculum beyond the classroom.
We use a wide range of interesting classical and contemporary literature texts to foster passion and enthusiasm in our students for the subject. This enables them to understand and appreciate the profound impact of English Literature on the world around us. We also use a diverse range of fiction and non-fiction language texts which enable students to make links with other curriculum areas and help them to understand the relevance of English and literacy in the local and wider communities.
The English curriculum is a challenging seven-year pathway that prepares and develops knowledge and skills requisite for success in GCSE and A-Level examinations. It includes enrichment activities that allow all students a clear progression pathway between KS3 to KS5 and prepare them effectively for Post-18 career choices – in line with whole school CEIAG strategy. In support of this, we implement regular formative and summative assessment tasks to ensure that students understand their learning and we intervene to ensure that no child is left behind. Assessments at all key stages reflect the content delivered in schemes of learning and ensure that progress is measured, continual and scaffolded effectively.
We strive to deliver a curriculum that allows our students to make outstanding progress relative to their starting points on entry to Rainford. We believe that the English curriculum will enhance our students’ knowledge and understanding of the subject, thereby enabling them to achieve high standards of progress and attainment in their GCSE and A-Level examinations.
Students will leave the English department with strong literacy skills in reading, writing and oracy that will equip them for further education and employment. They will successfully use their knowledge and experience of the curriculum to develop social skills in empathy and compassion and mature into responsible young adults that make effective and worthwhile contributions to the local and wider communities. All students will progress to the next stage of their education with the personal development, life-skills and careers guidance that make them employable within a global economy and will allow them to make a significant contribution to British and Global society; this is in line with whole school Personal Development and CEIAG strategies and the whole-school ethos. Indeed, once our Alumni students have embarked on university or apprenticeship courses, we want them to realise that they have gained a ‘head start’ in comparison to their peers and look back with great pride on their experiences within English at Rainford High.
Possible careers and opportunities:
English underpins every subject in the curriculum and is therefore central to every possible career. Those who study English will find careers in management, public relations, the media, publishing and – of course – in teaching.
The English Department is located in the East Block of the school and boasts nine generously sized classrooms. Each classroom contains an interactive whiteboard and a visualiser to enhance the learning experience for our students. There is a range of fiction and non-fiction texts in each classroom and literacy resources are always available to assist students in completing and developing the quality of their work.
Intervention sessions are available for selected students from every year group. We also offer lunch time and after-school revision sessions for our GCSE and A-Level students throughout the school year.
We offer a range of extra-curricular activities including poet and author visits to celebrate National Poetry Day and World Book Day. We also invite theatre groups into school to perform the set texts studied at all key stages such as Blood Brothers, A Christmas Carol, An Inspector Calls and Romeo and Juliet. We have also established links with The University of Liverpool and we are delighted that esteemed academics from the institution have delivered GCSE workshops to our Year 10 and 11 students. At KS5, we have strong links with Edge Hill University and there are opportunities to visit the institution for English Language and English Literature seminars and workshops.
- Year 7 Curriculum:
Autumn 1 & Autumn 2 – Modern Novel Study
Our Year 7 students are welcomed into the English Department through the study of Neil Gaiman’s wonderful novel The Graveyard Book. This includes a focus on a range of inference reading skills and assessment is through two detailed reading comprehension tasks. To conclude the study of the novel, we will write a book review for a specific purpose and audience. All responses are entered into a competition and the most impressive response will be selected for a prize.
Autumn 2 & Spring 1 – Pre-1914 Novel Study
To build on the understanding of the modern novel, our students will also read and study the classic science-fiction novel The Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne. The reading assessments will focus on a comprehension task and an analysis of a character in a specific extract from the text. The final assessment will develop understanding of the conventions of fiction writing: a third-person narrative writing task based on a scene from the text.
Spring 2 – Gothic Literature
Our students will continue with their exploration of different genres by focusing on a wide range of Gothic Literature poems and short stories. These include The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, The Monkey’s Paw by W W Jacobs and The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell. The reading assessment is an evaluation task exploring how tension is created in an extract from The Monkey’s Paw. The writing assessment is a description of a gothic setting.
Summer 1 – Poems from Different Cultures
Departing from prose study, our students will also be given an opportunity to explore a range of innovative poems from diverse cultures from around the world. These texts include Blessing by Imtiaz Dharker, Two Scavengers in a Truck by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Island Man by Grace Nichols. The reading assessment is an analysis of one of these poems and the writing assessment has a non-fiction focus: students will explore contexts of the poems and use this knowledge to write a persuasive charity speech aimed at a specific audience.
Summer 2 – Shakespeare
To conclude the journey through Year 7, our students will study the full text of Macbeth and focus on a range of reading skills including the analysis of methods and linking this to contextual information. The reading assessment is a detailed character analysis of Lady Macbeth in an extract from the text. The writing assessment is an article writing task based on a theme from the text for a specific purpose and audience.
- Year 8 Curriculum:
Autumn 1/2 – Modern Novel Study
Our students are welcomed to the academic year through the study of the intriguing novel The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. We will explore a range of themes and contextual factors such as social class, gender roles and the treatment of women. The reading assessments are a character analysis in a specific extract and an exploration of how the writer creates tension and suspense in a pivotal scene from the novel. As with Year 7, the writing assessment is a book review but for a specialist publication with a clear focus on purpose and audience. There is also a competition for the most impressive response.
Autumn 2/Spring 1 – Pre-1914 Novel Study
The Year 8 pre-1914 novel is The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which has clear links to the study of Gothic Literature in Year 7 and The Woman in Black earlier in Year 8. Our students will develop a range of active reading skills and apply them to their study of the text which will enable them to understand context, language and themes. The reading assessment is an exploration of character development across the text. There are two writing assessments: a description of a scene from the novel and an article writing task using a key theme and contexts as stimulus.
Spring 2 – War Poetry
To build on our poetry study from Year 7, students will focus on the genre of war poetry and there are clear cross-curricular links with the Humanities Department. Students will explore the works of many celebrated poets including The Solider by Rupert Brooke, Dulce et Decorum est by Wilfred Owen, Suicide in the Trenches by Siegfried Sassoon, Who’s for the Game? by Jessie Pope, The Manhunt by Simon Armitage and After a Bad Dream by the forgotten German war poet Gerrit Engelke. The reading assessment is a comparison of viewpoints in two poems. The writing assessment is a persuasive speech based on a context linked to the theme of war for a specific audience and purpose.
Summer 1 – Science Fiction
Following on from War Poetry, our students will explore a collection of excellent short stories from the science fiction genre. These include A Sound of Thunder and The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury in addition to The Compassion Circuit by John Wyndham. In doing so, they will explore the conventions of the genre and complete two assessments. The reading assessment is an evaluation task based on an extract from A Sound of Thunder and the writing assessment is a third-person narrative science-fiction short story.
Summer 2 – Shakespeare
As with Year 7, we finish the journey through Year 8 with a full, detailed exploration of The Tempest by Shakespeare. Our students will develop a full range of reading skills, including the writer’s intentions, and they will explore specific contexts and themes such as power relationships, justice and the age of exploration. The reading assessment is an analysis of character development across the text. The writing assessment is a task in which students will transform a scene from the play into a first-person narrative.
- Year 9 Curriculum:
Autumn 1 – Modern Novel Study
Our students will begin their journey by exploring the classic twentieth century novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. They will focus on a full range of reading skills and the reading assessment is an analysis of a character and linked theme across the wider text. The writing assessment is a descriptive task and students will focus on how to organise and structure their writing to achieve specific effects. As with Year 7 and 8, there is also a competition for the most creative response.
Autumn 2 – Modern Drama
To add to the breadth and depth of full literary texts across the curriculum, our students will study Blood Brothers by Willy Russell and there is a clear cross-curricular link with the Drama Department as they study the performance of the text earlier in Year 9. In English lessons, our students will explore characterisation, setting, dramatic devices, audience effects and specific contextual information such as the effect of Thatcherism on the working-class communities of Liverpool in the 1980s. The first assessment is an article writing task based on the contexts of the play and this is intended for a broadsheet newspaper with a specific purpose and audience. The reading assessment will take place after the reading, performance and study of the full text and is an analysis of the theme of social class.
Spring 1 – Different Voices
In this thematic approach to English, students will explore different voices from across the globe through a range of poems such as Caged Bird by Maya Angelou and Half Caste by John Agard, and famous speeches from Martin Luther King and Malcom X. There is a clear topical focus on class, gender, race and ethnicity which ties in with recent societal and cultural events. The reading assessment has a clear non-fiction focus comparing how speakers use linguistic methods to convey their viewpoints on specific topics in their speeches. The writing assessment builds on this and is a persuasive speech on a topical issue for an audience of teenagers.
Spring 2 & Summer 1 – Pre-1914 Novel Study
The Year 9 pre-1914 novel study is Oliver Twist and our students will explore a full range of reading skills including analysis of methods, exploration of themes and linking to the contextual factors of Victorian England. There are two writing assessments: a formal letter writing task based on a specific context from the text with a clear purpose and audience, and a narrative writing task in which students will write in the style of Dickens. The reading assessment will focus on a wide range of critical and evaluative skills by exploring how a character is presented in an extract and then applying this understanding to the wider text.
Summer 1 & Summer 2 – Shakespeare
As with all years across KS3, we conclude our journey with the reading, performance and study of a Shakespeare play. Our students will explore the language, narrative and characters of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and they will explore specific themes and contexts such as love, relationships and the treatment of women. To complement these ideas, our students will also analyse and compare a range of classical and contemporary poems thematically linked to A Midsummer Night’s Dream such as A Married State by Katherine Philips and Anne Hathaway by Carol Anne Duffy. There are three assessments for this unit of work. The writing assessment is the transformation of a scene from the play into a first-person narrative. There are two reading assessments: the first is a comparison of two poems that link to the theme of the treatment of women; the second task will focus on a wide range of critical and evaluative skills by exploring a central theme in an extract and then applying this understanding to the wider text.