The English Department

The English department at Woodrush strives to provide students with not only the knowledge and rigour required to succeed in their examinations, but the opportunities to become confident speakers, readers, and writers; skills which will equip your child to be confident and creative communicators, whatever their chosen career path.
In Key Stage 3, all students receive four lessons of English a week. Students are taught in sets according to their ability, ensuring that all students are appropriately supported yet challenged, with an extra hour allocated to those of our year 7 students who require the most support. The curriculum has been recently redesigned in order to expose students to an increasingly varied and enjoyable range of fiction and non-fiction texts, ensuring preparedness for the demands of the Key Stage 4 curriculum. Students will study a wide range of topics and texts, including: reading and writing of biographies; crime fiction; Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; reading and performance of modern drama; poetry from around the world; travel writing; and a range of both modern and 19th century fiction. In addition to close coverage of literacy skills each lesson, one lesson per week will also be dedicated to Accelerated Reader, where students can visit our exciting public library and choose from a considerable range of books – our programme even means that students can read, and be tested on, books from home. Teachers will closely monitor your child’s reading progress, with opportunities for rewards and prizes throughout the year. Not only do we aim to ensure your child has the required reading competence to access all areas of the school curriculum, but we encourage reading to be enjoyed, with the intention of fostering a lifelong love of reading.
In Key Stage 4, commencing in Year 9, students study for their GCSEs in AQA English Language and English Literature. Students will be taught in ability sets and, where possible, the same teacher will teach them for the duration of the course. The nature of the new specification means that the content is especially rigorous and we therefore aim to continue exposing students to a range of high quality fiction and non-fiction material whilst encouraging independent and peer learning wherever possible in lessons. Homework will also be set to ensure students consolidate their classroom learning. The topics studied for both courses include: 19th Century fiction; An Inspector Calls for the modern drama component; Shakespeare’s Macbeth; Power and Conflict poetry; unseen poetry skills; fiction and non-fiction reading and writing; and a speaking and listening assessment on a topic of your child’s choice.
Courses offered at A Level are English Literature, English Language and Literature, and Film Studies. All subjects have seen excellent outcomes for students since the new specification launches, and many of our students go on to study English based courses at University.
To further extend our curriculum, we also offer a range of enrichment opportunities. All students are invited to enter regular writing and literacy competitions throughout the year. We have also offered a range of trips including theatre visits, a Victorian themed visit to Ironbridge, and a trip to London with a tour of the Globe theatre, a visit to Harry Potter World, and a West End production! We have also been lucky to host a number of author visits in conjunction with our library and have an annual involvement in the Carnegie Medal and Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate. Our dedicated literacy leader students are also around school designing and promoting literacy events and sharing ideas with staff on how to ensure literacy is visible in all lessons around the school.
In Film Studies, students study a range of films across different time periods and countries to give them an appreciation of the medium. Through close analysis of film form and a study of social, historical and industrial contexts, students can effectively dissect and evaluate what is shown to them on the silver screen.
In Key Stage 4, students examine films from both inside and outside of Hollywood to expose them to films they may not be familiar with. In addition to this, topics will include non-English language films to further broaden students’ experiences. The rigorous new specification means that students need a strong knowledge of key scenes from their chosen films as well as a good grasp of the context in which they were made. Alongside the films studied for examinations, students have the opportunity to secure 30% of their overall grade through two controlled assessments: a screenplay for a section of an original film idea and an evaluative analysis of the screenplay they produce.
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