English Curriculum

The English Department has been conducting an ongoing evaluation of GCSE syllabuses offered by the different examination boards, including IGCSE. From September 2012, we introduced two IGCSE courses for English Language and English Literature; all students will normally study for both qualifications with the Edexcel Examination Board.

IGCSE English Language
The following skills will be tested through a combination of coursework and examination at the end of the Fifth Year:
  • Reading and writing: coursework (20%) and examination (70%)
    • This will include written response to various forms of writing, including media texts; the expression of opinion; persuasive and creative writing.
  • Speaking and Listening: coursework (10%). 
    • This will include an assessed presentation, pair work and group discussion.

IGCSE English Literature
The candidates' skills in evaluating and responding to different literary texts will be tested through a combination of coursework (40%) and examination (60%) at the end of the Fifth Year. This will involve the study of:
i) A minimum of three texts, including drama (normally including Shakespeare), prose and poetry
Study will include comparative work and developing an understanding of the social, historical and cultural contexts of works studied.
Coursework (IGCSE) will initially be marked by a candidate's own teacher. All completed folders will then be internally moderated by the whole English Department and awarded an overall mark. The folders, or a sample of them, are then sent to the Examining Board to be moderated externally. This three-tier system ensures the greatest possible accuracy and consistency.
Classes will be setted according to ability and potential, where Set 1 aims to achieve A/A*, Set 2 aims for A/B. A third smaller Set 3 will aim to achieve a C grade for those who are most challenged in English skills.

A2 English Literature (Edexcel)
A2 level English literature will be offered for the final year of the current specification from Edexcel.  There are two units concerned:

A2 Unit 3: Interpretations of Prose and Poetry 60% of A2, 30% total GCE

  • Prose and poetry, including texts published after 1990
  • Three prescribed texts from a choice of six, including at least one text published after 1990 and both prose and poetry
  • Assessment by examination: 2 hrs 45 minutes
  • Section A: Unprepared prose or poetry
  • Section B: Analytical essay

A2 Unit 4: Reflections in literary Studies 40% of A2, 20 total GCE

  • Poetry, prose or drama for independent study
  • Free choice of texts
  • Assessment by coursework: 2500-3000 words
  • Either one extended study, or two shorter studies, or a creative response with a commentary

IB English Literature (Higher & Standard Level)
The study of English Literature is a compulsory component of the IB Diploma Programme for those for whom English is their native language.

Content

  • Works from different periods and different cultures are studied
  • Four genres (poetry, drama, prose: novel and short story, prose other than fiction) are compulsory
  • Higher Level students study thirteen works (where a “work” means a novel, play, collection of short stories, or collection of poetry).

How the course is taught

  • You will have one or two teachers for the two years of the course, studying literature for 8 periods per fortnight
  • SL classes usually have 8 or more students; HL classes usually have 4 or more students
  • Emphasis is placed on student participation, presentation, research and independent learning. The School Library and the English Department are well resourced for all courses. Students are supervised through the process of completing their Internal Assessment
  • Teaching typically proceeds through discussion of the works that are read by the students ahead of the lessons, involving identification of themes, symbols, character, structure, and analysis and understanding of form and literary technique. The focus is on reading, discussion and presentations, rather than on writing lots of essays
  • The study of literature normally opens easily into discussion of Theory of Knowledge issues, and assimilates widely to cross-curricular aspects of philosophy, sociology, psychology, history, and even scientific endeavour.

Expectations/Homework
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up to date and to read both the set texts and more widely in other works to support their independent learning.  IB Diploma students are expected to be resourceful and committed to intellectual enquiry. 

The Extended Essay
Higher Level pupils may wish to consider English as the focus for their Extended Essay, particularly if they intend to study English or a related discipline at university. An Extended Essay in Literature provides students with an opportunity to study a literary topic in-depth and engage in independent literary criticism. The essay must be completed within 4000 words. Up to five hours of staff supervision are available to assist with the planning, research and execution of the Extended Essay.

Preparatory Work
Students should enter the subject with a wide range of personal reading.  Summer work is set prior to the beginning of the course that builds on the skills in literary analysis acquired at GCSE or IGCSE.

A Level English Literature

Content
The A Level in English Literature will consist of units of study leading to 2 or 3 terminal exams comprising 80% of the total assessment, and a unit of coursework comprising 20%.

Study focuses exclusively on written texts, aiming at the academic understanding of the works in their cultural context, and how they are received both in their own time, and subsequently.  Links and connections between texts and their place in cultural and historical moments are explored through discussion and in written assessment during the course and in the final exams.

Texts studied will include:

  • A play by Shakespeare, and another drama from the same period or later
  • Fiction from before 1900
  • Poetry from before 1900
  • Poetry, prose or drama post 2000.

How the course is taught

  • You will have two teachers for each of the Lower and Upper Sixth years of the course
  • Each A Level English class is likely to have 10 or more students
  • Emphasis is placed on student participation, presentation, research and independent learning. The School Library and the English Department is well resourced for all courses.  Students are supervised through the process of completing their Internal Assessment
  • Teaching typically proceeds through discussion of the works that are read by the students ahead of the lessons, involving identification of themes, symbols, character, structure, and analysis and understanding of form and literary technique
  • The study of literature normally opens easily into discussion of cross-curricular aspects of philosophy, sociology, psychology, history, and even scientific endeavour.

Expectations/Homework
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up to date and to read both the set texts and other works widely in order to support their independent learning. IB students are expected to be resourceful and committed to intellectual enquiry. 

The Extended Essay
Students choosing to apply for English for Higher Education may wish to consider English as the focus for their Extended Essay. Students are free to select any topic that lends itself to an enquiry focus, requires assessment of conflicting evidence and has a holistic worth. The essay must be completed within 4000 words. Up to five hours of staff supervision are available to assist with the planning, research and execution of the Extended Essay.

Preparatory Work
Students should enter the subject with a wide range of personal reading.  Summer work is set prior to the beginning of the course that builds on the skills in literary analysis acquired at GCSE or IGCSE.