Key Stage 3
Students study thematic units that encompass writing from a diverse range of formal and informal genres and look at texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st century and different cultures. They begin to learn how to analyse film and web pages, as well as poetry, plays and novels. During Key Stage 3 students develop the skills they will need for success at GCSE.
Key Stage 4
Currently, we study for the English Language GCSE with the Cambridge board. This GCSE gives students the flexibility to produce three pieces of coursework focusing on different text types and is worth 40% of their GCSE. Complementing this is an individual speaking and listening presentation worth 20% and one GCSE examination in the summer term worth 40% of the final grade. This course of study will end this year (2015/16) and the Academy will then move to the AQA linear programme of study which involves two terminal examinations at the end of Year 11. These examinations test students’ ability to deconstruct texts and analyse the intended effects of language and writer’s techniques. Students are also asked to write from specific viewpoints. This course of study has a very heavy emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar (20% of the GCSE).
The second GCSE that students sit is for English Literature and this is with the AQA examination board. This GCSE was first introduced in 2010 and signalled an end to coursework. Assessment is now a mixture of controlled assessments which take place in classrooms under supervised conditions (25% of the GCSE), and two separate examinations (held during the summer term) counting towards 75% of the GCSE. This will be the last year this format of exam is utilised by AQA and in 2017 students will sit two terminal exams that are closed book and have more emphasis on ‘academic’ literature. Students will study Macbeth, A Christmas Carol, An Inspector Calls and a series of poetry under the theme of Conflict and Power for these examinations.
Key Stage 4 Media
Students in Years 10 and 11 have the opportunity to study Media Studies with the AQA examination board. By studying this subject students become aware of how they, and others in society, are represented by different media institutions, and how the media has the power to shape the way we view the world. In Year 10 students complete coursework that ranges from film analysis to magazine creation, while in Year 11 they focus on advertising and examination preparation. The AQA exam is based on a set of pre-released materials that give students time to research and prepare for the unseen exam question.
Key Stage 5 English and Media
Students in the Sixth Form can study AS and A2 English Literature and Media Studies. In English they study a mix of modern and traditional texts and in Media Studies they have the opportunity to produce media texts of their own – music magazines at AS level and short films at A2.