In English, our key focus is to improve literacy levels and promote and encourage a love of reading. We strive to prepare students to succeed both in their GCSE assessments and life outside of school.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3 we encourage our students to build on their skills acquired at Key Stage 2, while preparing students for the range of skills that they need to succeed at Key Stage 4.
We have a strong focus on embedding and reinforcing literacy skills in all of our lessons. We strongly believe in the importance of written accuracy and the impact that this can have, not only on their GCSE assessments, but also in life outside school.
Our students at Key Stage 3 continue to develop their reading skills to prepare them for their GCSEs and life outside of school. All KS3 students visit the school library once a week, in one of their English lessons, to follow the successful Accelerated Reading programme.
In English, we celebrate and promote reading books and teach a range of popular texts at KS3, including:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
In Year 7 and Year 8 our students develop their creative and transactional writing skills and learn the key features and conventions of a range of text types including stories, descriptions, letters, articles, speeches, leaflets, reports and reviews.
We have a strong focus on developing Literacy skills at Outwood Academy Carlton. There are four main strategies we employ to encourage students to improve their written accuracy, including:
• Explicit literacy teaching
• The First Five and Next Five (most common grammatical errors)
• The Dirty Thirty (most common spelling errors)
• Personal spelling lists
Each year group has a specific literacy focus each half term, which is frequently embedded and reinforced in our English lessons.
Key Stage 4
GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature
All of our students begin their GCSE studies in Year 9 and work towards two GCSE qualifications: English Language and English Literature.
Students who are currently in Year 11 are sitting controlled assessments which are worth 40% of the final grade in English Language and 25% of the final grade in English Literature. These assessments include narrative and descriptive writing, an essay analysing spoken language and two essays analysing a range of English Literature texts, including a novel, a play and poetry.
60% of the English Language qualification consists of two external examinations. Unit 1 is a non-fiction Reading paper, where students are required to respond to two texts, demonstrating a range of skills including, selection and retrieval, inference and language analysis. Unit 2 is a Writing paper, which involves two transactional writing tasks for different audiences and purposes. Both of these papers are worth 30% of the overall qualification.
In English Literature, students sit two external exams based on the texts they have studied. In Unit 1, students will be tested on their essay writing skills and knowledge and understanding of ‘Of Mice and Men’ and respond to unseen poetry. For Unit 2, students will be tested on their essay writing skills and their knowledge and understanding of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Blood Brothers’.
Students who are currently in Year 9 and Year 10 are following the new Eduqas GCSE specifications for English Language and English Literature. In English Language, students are developing their skills to read and answer questions on twentieth-century fiction and nineteenth and twenty-first century non-fiction. The writing tasks include narrative and transactional writing. For the English Literature specification, students will study a range of texts, including plays, novels and poetry.