Farringtons’ English teachers – all subject specialists – recognise the great importance and significance of our duty and the enormous richness that every pupil has the potential to bring to our studies. The atmosphere in our department is therefore lively, intellectually challenging and constantly evolving.
We see English as an intellectual exchange providing a place to think, write and read in an explorative way; this can require great boldness and bravery and we always endeavour to create a safe, inclusive environment where our young people can test out ideas and be creative. Furthermore, English gives an opportunity for all to engage on an emotional level, ultimately resulting in the generation of young adults who are not just excellent communicators, but more thoughtful and empathetic individuals.
The English department provide many extracurricular outlets for excellence and general interest, including creative writing competitions, theatre trips, residential writing retreats and literary tours, reading for pleasure and Public Speaking and Debating.
Pupils will study a range of modern and literary heritage novels and poetry, drama texts, non-fiction and media texts throughout Key Stage 3; study at this stage focusses on the development of skills which is text-led. The Key Stage curriculum adapts features of the National Curriculum to suit the individual needs of each pupil. This helps to ensure that all are well equipped to undertake the rigours of GCSE study.
Pupils who require additional support in English and Literacy, usually those with specific learning needs, may be able to opt for literacy lessons during Key Stage 3 years.
Pupils have the opportunity to work on their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, as well as develop skills for effective study more generally. These take place within the timetable and are led by a specialist teacher.
Whilst supportive and inclusive, we have a rigorous academic approach towards English at Farringtons and each year a high percentage of students pass with A or A* in this subject. Within the department, up-to-date knowledge of and involvement in new syllabus development and IGCSE examining means that we are well placed to deliver the course very effectively.
Pupils are taught in ability groups and all prepared for both Edexcel IGCSE English Language A (First Language) and English Literature. Speaking and Listening is a constituent aspect of the current IGCSE English Language examination (this will change in the new syllabus to be taught from September 2016). Pupils will independently prepare coursework for both IGCSEs thus develop skills of concision and precision - essential preparation for pupils wishing to pursue their studies in English at A Level and for university study more generally.
Where students, whose first language is not English, join from overseas in Year 9 or 10 they may be entered for Edexcel IGCSE English Second Language, either instead of the dual award or, in some cases, in addition to this.
We follow the highly respected Edexcel English Literature syllabus.
This course enables students to become confident, reflective and independent readers and writers. They will be able to consider the content of works, themes, styles and techniques and the approaches of different authors, and confidently make considered original comparisons. Success at A Level depends very much on a student’s ability to work independently by reading, researching and writing, and these skills are developed throughout the course. Reluctant readers need not apply!
The development of transferable skills and critical thinking central to the course places students with AS and A Level English Literature much in demand. All employers value excellent communicators hence the course is a sound basis for most career options, with students well placed to enter careers such as law, the civil or diplomatic service, government and politics, journalism, media, social work and teaching.
From September 2015, following the curriculum changes introduced by the Department for Education, all AS courses in English will be linear, stand-alone qualifications as will the two year A Level course. These two courses are said to be co-teachable, however at Farringtons all students will sit the AS examination at the end of the Year 12. This will maintain flexibility and provide our students with a clear measure and indication of likely achievement in the A Level examination at the end of Year 13.