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Key Stage 4 English

KS4 Overview

At Bourne Grammar School, students take both Edexcel English Literature and Edexcel English Language at GCSE as core subjects. Our department have designed a knowledge-rich, dynamic and rigorous curriculum for students, which focuses on a variety of different texts from non-fiction, poetry to Victorian Literature. Students are also taught imaginative writing skills, as well as transactional writing for varying audiences, purposes and formats.

For English Language, our lessons are targeted at meeting the following objectives:

  • Read a wide range of texts fluently and with good understanding
  • Read critically and use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing
  • Write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately
  • Use grammar correctly, punctuate and spell accurately
  • Acquire and apply a wide vocabulary alongside knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology, and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • Listen to and understand spoken language, and using spoken Standard English effectively

Spoken language will be reported as a separate grade on the student’s certificate.

For English Literature, our lessons are targeted at meeting the following objectives:

  • Read a wide range of classic literature fluently and with good understanding, and make connections across their reading
  • Read in depth, critically and evaluatively, so that they are able to discuss and explain their understanding and ideas
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often
  • Appreciate the depth and power of the English literary heritage
  • Write accurately, effectively and analytically about their reading, using Standard English
  • Acquire and use a wide vocabulary, including grammatical terminology, and other literary and linguistic terms they need to criticise and analyse what they read

English Language

Year 10

In Terms 1, 2 and 3, students are introduced to Edexcel English Language Paper 1, which focuses on analytical and evaluative approaches to exploring unseen 19th Century texts. Classes will be exposed to a wide range of Victorian fiction extracts, such as 'Frankenstein', 'Sherlock Holmes' and 'Pride and Prejudice' in order to familiarise the year group with the literary style of the 19th Century. Analysis of structure will be explicitly taught, as well as encouraging pupils to provide a critical overview of texts.

For Section B, students learn the skills to write a piece of imaginative writing. The course begins by focusing on the micro level of writing with a focus on vocabulary, punctuation and sentence structures, which then progresses in difficulty by encouraging pupils to attempt more challenging skills such as manipulating whole text structure, applying symbolism to narratives and subtly adapting tone to suit the style of writing.

Students then move into Terms 4, 5 and 6 to study Paper 2. Students focus on critical readings of non-fiction writing from a range of different genres, styles and periods and consolidate their critical reading skills from the previous term. Finally, students explore how to write non-fiction texts. Lessons are geared for pupils to explore various genres such as speeches, letters, reports, articles and reviews, and there is a focus on adapting this writing to manipulate tone, style and register to ensure it clearly matches the audience and purpose of the text. At this point in the curriculum we introduce students to their spoken language qualification, so that pupils apply their understanding of genre, audience and purpose to their own speech.

Year 11

As students have completed the Language course, they will be given the opportunity consolidate the skills acquired last year in order to strengthen analytical and evaluative skills, alongside sharpening their imaginative and transactional writing skills. Students will spend time revising and subsequently reflecting on their mock examination performance and will set targets for developing the skills that were involved in this: specifically, the analysis and comparison of non-fiction texts, as well as their own non-fiction, transactional writing. As well as this, students will revise the craft of imaginative writing, which is directly applicable to Paper 1 of the Edexcel English Language GCSE examinations, but with a focus on monologue writing to extend their stylistic choices for the upcoming examinations.

English Literature

Year 10

In Terms 1 and 2, students continue to explore Macbeth and embark on their GCSE studies with a focus on Edexcel English Literature Paper 1 Section A. Lessons focus on investigating language, form and structure, and how these stylistic choices have been crafted by Shakespeare to present key characters, events and themes, using context to inform their personal responses.

In Terms 3 and 4, our students will begin to explore a play written post-1900: either Tanika Gupta’s The Empress or J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls. Students will learn to identify themes and distinguish between themes; support a point of view by referring to evidence in the text; recognise the possibility of, and evaluate, different responses to a text; use understanding of writer’s social, historical and cultural contexts to inform evaluation; make an informed personal response that derives from analysis and evaluation of the text.

In Terms 5 and 6 students are introduced to the conflict cluster of poetry from the Edexcel Anthology and will be learning to compare and contrast texts studied, refer where relevant to theme, characterisation, context (where known), style and literary quality; compare two texts critically with respect to the above. Furthermore, they will be refining skills of critical reading, and will analyse and evaluate how language (including figurative language), structure, form and presentation contribute to quality and impact; use linguistic and literary terminology for such evaluation (such as, but not restricted to, phrase, metaphor, meter, irony and persona, synecdoche, pathetic fallacy).

Year 11

In English Literature, students have finished the poetry anthology and will learn the skills necessary for attempting an unseen poetry comparison. At this point, we will be consolidating their literary style to support students to write effectively about literature for a range of purposes such as: to describe, explain, summarise, argue, analyse and evaluate; discuss and maintain a point of view; select and emphasise key points; use relevant quotation and detailed textual references.

Students will then reflect on their mock examination performance and set targets for developing the skills that were involved in this: specifically, the analysis of key texts and the synthesis of ideas within a general essay for their contemporary novel. As well as this, students begin their study of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol or Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which is directly applicable to Paper 2 of the Edexcel English Literature GCSE examinations.