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Davenant Foundation School, Chester Road, Loughton, Essex, IG10 2LD
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English

English is the primary means by which we communicate, and in the English classroom, our focus is on reading, writing, speaking and listening.  To understand the rules of spelling, punctuation & grammar, and to construct an effective sentence on a page takes time, study and patience but once mastered these skills will enable you to become a strong communicator and will help you as you study subjects across the curriculum. Employers say that one of the most valuable things they look for in the people who work for them is good communication skills and this means writing and presentation as well as talking.

Such skills prepare us to become confident and successful in society, enable us to listen to others, and to have our own voices heard. However, English is about more than developing competence in these key areas; it is about fostering critical thinking skills and an understanding of the world around us that equip us to make sense of what we encounter in everyday life.

‘Getting better at English has made me a more confident person outside school as well as inside’

KEY STAGE 3 

During Years 7-9 the following topics are taught:

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

The Novel

An introduction to the analytical study of a whole novel, focusing on how to trace character development.

Shakespeare

An introduction to the world of Shakespeare, including understanding the social, historical and cultural influences of Shakespeare’s plays, and theatrical methods.

Poetry

An exploration of the ways poets discuss place and identity.

Creative & Non Fiction Writing

Exploring the effective use of genre conventions, literary techniques and grammar to create meaningful texts.

The Novel

Analytical study of a whole novel, focusing on the ways events are structured to create effect.

Shakespeare

An introduction to Shakespeare’s comedy plays, with an exploration of key scenes in one text of study.

Poetry

An exploration of the variety of poetic voices and styles that shape meaning in poetry.

Creative & Non Fiction Writing

Exploring the effective use of genre conventions, literary techniques and grammar to create meaningful texts.

The Novel

Analytical study of a whole novel, focusing on how to trace theme development.

Shakespeare

An introduction to Shakespeare’s tragedy plays, with an exploration of key scenes in Macbeth.

Poetry

An exploration of war poetry, with particular focus on power and conflict, and attitudes to war.

Creative & Non Fiction Writing

Exploring the effective use of genre conventions, literary techniques and grammar to create meaningful texts.

KEY STAGE 4 

Students studying the subject at GCSE follow the AQA English Language and AQA English Literature specification. During the course, the following topics are covered:

Year 10

Year 11

GCSE English Literature

Paper One

Nineteenth century novel: A Christmas Carol

Paper Two

Modern text: An Inspector Calls

Past and Present poetry anthology: Power and Conflict poems

GCSE English Language

Paper One

Reading and writing fiction

Paper Two

Writing with a viewpoint

Spoken Language Assessment

GCSE English Literature

Paper One

Shakespeare: Macbeth

Nineteenth century novel: A Christmas Carol

GCSE English Language

Paper Two

Reading non-fiction

For more detailed information about the course content and assessment requirements, please refer to the examination board website: 

GCSE English Language

GCSE English Literature

A LEVEL – ENGLISH LANGAUGE AND LITERAURE 

Students studying the subject at A Level follow the AQA  specification.  During the course the following topics are covered.

Students studying the subject at A Level follow the AQA specification which draws on the academic field of Stylistics in order to create an integrated English Language and Literature course bringing together literary and non-literary discourses. During the course the following topics are covered:

Paper 1 -Telling Stories

The aim of this part of the subject content is to allow students to learn about how and why stories of different kinds are told. The term ‘telling’ in the title is deliberately chosen to reflect the twin aspects of how stories are told, and why stories are ‘telling’, or valuable, within societies.

Remembered Places

Students study the AQA Anthology: Paris. The anthology includes a wide range of text types with a particular emphasis on non-fiction and non-literary material.

In this part of the subject content, students explore speech and other genres. They study a wide range of linguistic and generic features, as well as related issues around questions of representation and viewpoint in texts taken from a range of time periods. The anthology offers opportunities for detailed exploration of the ubiquitous nature of narrative and systematic study of the representation of place.

Imagined Worlds

In this part of the subject content, students explore the imagined worlds of Mary Shelley’s  Frankenstein which is characterised by unusual narratives, narrators and events. Students also consider key aspects of the texts which place them in particular contexts of production and reception. Students analyse the language choices made by writers in order to study the following:

  • point of view
  • characterisation
  • presentation of time and space/placenarrative structure.

Poetic Voices

Students study poems from one of four poets within the AQA Poetic Voices Anthology:

  • John Donne
  • Robert Browning
  • Carol Ann Duffy
  • Seamus Heaney

This part of the subject content is concerned with the nature and function of poetic voice in the telling of events and the presentation of people. In studying the role of language in the construction of perspective, students explore and analyse:

• the presentation of time: understanding the past, reviewing past experiences, the manipulation of time

• the importance of place: locations and memories, the ways in which these are captured in voice(s), and their effect on individuals how people and their relationships are realised through point of view, attitude, specific registers, physical descriptions, speech and thought

• the presentation of events through the poet’s selection of material, the use of narrative frames and other poetic techniques.

Paper 2 – Exploring Conflict

This part of the subject content focuses on how language choices help to construct ideas of conflict between people, and between people and their societies. Drawing both on their everyday experiences of interaction in different modes and on published texts, students learn about how the language choices writers make are used to express relationships, drive narrative, and construct views about the nature of different societies. They apply their knowledge to the study of texts about individuals in situations of conflict.

Writing about Society

In this part of the subject content, students study ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini

Students explore the ways that writers:

  • present people, their points of view and their relationships with others
  • shape the narrative structure and present events/time/places
  • reveal the speech and thought processes of the characters and narrator(s)
  • use situations of conflict to express ideas about societies and their values.

In addition, students develop the skills to adapt and shape the original material (the base text) to respond to different re-creative tasks.

Drawing on their studies in 'Writing about Society', students learn how to write a critical commentary to evaluate their writing. They explain their own language choices and analyse their intentions in reshaping the writer’s original material.

For more detailed information about the course content and assessment requirements, please refer to the examination board website.

A LEVEL ENGLISH LITERATURE 

Students studying the subject, English Literature, at A Level follow the AQA Literature B specification.  During the course the following topics are covered.

Paper 1 - Aspects of tragedy

Students study the following texts for this paper: Othello by William Shakespeare, Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.

At the core of all the set texts is a tragic hero or heroine who is flawed in some way, who suffers and causes suffering to others and in all texts there is an interplay between what might be seen as villains and victims. Some tragic features will be more in evidence in some texts than in others and students will need to understand how particular aspects of the tragic genre are used and how they work in the three chosen texts. The absence of an ‘aspect’ can be as significant as its presence. There can be no exhaustive list of the ‘aspects’ of tragedy but areas that can usefully be explored include:

  • the type of the tragic text itself, whether it is classical and about public figures, like Lear, or domestic and about representations of ordinary people, like Tess

  • the settings for the tragedy, both places and times

  • the journey towards death of the protagonists, their flaws, pride and folly, their blindness and insight, their discovery and learning, their being a mix of good and evil

  • the role of the tragic villain or opponent, who directly affects the fortune of the hero, who engages in a contest of power and is partly responsible for the hero’s demise

  • the presence of fate, how the hero’s end is inevitable

  • how the behaviour of the hero affects the world around him, creating chaos and affecting the lives of others

  • the significance of violence and revenge, humour and moments of happiness

  • the structural pattern of the text as it moves through complication to catastrophe, from order to disorder, through climax to resolution, from the prosperity and happiness of the hero to the tragic end

  • the use of plots and sub-plots

  • the way that language is used to heighten the tragedy

  • ultimately how the tragedy affects the audience, acting as a commentary on the real world, moving the audience through pity and fear to an understanding of the human condition.

Paper 2 -  Elements of political and social protest writing

Students study the following texts for this paper: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake.

Students also respond to an unseen passage in this exam. The unseen extract can come from any of the genres of poetry, prose or drama and can include literary non-fiction.

Although it could be claimed that all texts are political, what defines the texts here is that they have issues of power and powerlessness at their core, with political and social protest issues central to each text’s structure. The political and social protest genre covers representations of both public and private settings.

All set texts foreground oppression and domination and they all look at the cultures we live in and have lived in over time. A crucial word in the title of this option is ‘Elements’ and students need to consider the specific elements that exist in each of their texts. The elements that might be explored, depending on each individual text, include:

  • the type of the text itself, whether it is a post-modern novel, science fiction, satirical poetry, historical and political drama

  • the settings that are created as backdrops for political and social action and the power struggles that are played out on them. Both places (real and imagined) and time settings will also be significant here

  • the specific nature of the power struggle, the behaviours of those with power and those without, those who have their hands on the levers of power

  • the pursuit of power itself, rebellion against those with power, warfare

  • the workings of the ruling political classes

  • corruption, conspiracy, control

  • the connection of the smaller world to the larger world

  • the focus on human organisation: domestically, in the work place, in local and national governments

  • gender politics and issues of social class

  • the structural patterning of the text, how political tensions are heightened and perhaps resolved

  • the way that language is used in the worlds that are created

  • the way that political and social protest writing is used to comment on society, particularly the representation of society at particular historical periods

  • ultimately how political and social protest writing affects audiences and readers, inviting reflection on our own world.

Non-Exam Assessment -  Theory and Independence

This component is designed to allow students to read widely, to choose their own texts (if appropriate) and to understand that contemporary study of literature needs to be informed by the fact that different theoretical and critical methods can be applied to the subject. This area of the course provides a challenging and wide-ranging opportunity for an introduction to different ways of reading texts and for independent study. The title 'Theory and independence' highlights the important idea that, within a literature course, students should have the opportunity to work as independently as possible.

This process is supported by the AQA Critical anthology, which has accessible extracts on the following critical methods and ideas:

  • narrative theory

  • feminist theory

  • Marxist theory

  • eco-critical theory

  • post-colonial theory

  • literary value and the canon.

In this component, students write about two different literary texts. One of the texts must be a poetry text and the other must be prose. Each text must be linked to a different section of the Critical anthology. Having explored their chosen text in the light of some critical ideas, students then demonstrate their understanding through their written work, comprising of two pieces of writing, one on each of the chosen texts. Students produce two essays of 1250-1500 words.

For more detailed information about the course content and assessment requirements, please refer to the examination board website.

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