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English

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr Seuss, I can read with my eyes shut!

Our Philosophy

The English department at Langley Park School for Girls prides itself on offering a rich and varied curriculum which sparks intellectual curiosity and develops students as life-long learners. While we understand that literacy is the key that opens all the other doors in education, we also believe that encouraging our students’ creative potential will enable them in becoming imaginative, informed and independent thinkers and learners. While our lessons are fun-filled, engaging and enjoyable, they also challenge and encourage high levels of accomplishment.

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” Albert Einstein

We believe that the right book has the power to take a student on an emotionally rich journey, transport them in that moment beyond their own world and change forever how they see themselves and others. Across the age range, we explore a wealth of fiction, drama, poetry and non-fiction including literature from the literary canon and world literature and non-literary texts such as newspaper articles and speeches. Our aim is to develop students understanding of universal themes and ideas and to promote an appreciation of literary traditions.

"My father still reads the dictionary every day. He says your life depends on your power to master words." Arthur Scargill

We want our students to value the spoken word as much as the written word, and much of our teaching involves students talking about their learning and developing understanding through discussion. Speaking and listening are a fundamental part of learning in all curriculum areas, and in English, we teach our students the art of delivering an interesting and engaging presentation, a persuasive speech and how to debate. We also understand the importance of drama and many of our schemes of learning enable students to build on the skills they have learned in their drama lessons.

 

What we expect from our students

“It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.” Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man

We encourage confident self-expression in our students, in both their written and oral work and we promote tolerance, recognising and valuing the opinion of others and students awareness and understanding of the world around them. We promote critical thinking throughout our teaching and actively encourage students to challenge established and traditional readings of texts, even the established traditional readings of their teachers!

“There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.” Frank Serafini

We expect our students to read; there has been significant research in the benefits of children reading for pleasure, including both educational and personal benefits and there is a positive relationship between reading frequency, reading enjoyment and attainment. Our schemes of learning give our students opportunities to discover the joys of reading in the classroom, but it is our hope that they then take this beyond school and read at home.

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours” Alan Bennett, The History Boys

 

Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3, students are taught a variety of skills and topics in the areas of Language, Literature, Media and Drama. In each year, students study at least one play, novel, poet and media text. Shakespeare is studied in Year 7 and Year 9. Our Schemes of Learning are designed to develop students’ reading and writing skills, while at the same time engaging students and exposing them to a wide variety of different texts. We encourage students to be creative and imaginative in their own work. Speaking and Listening skills, through the mediums of presentations, role play and group discussions, are also practiced and assessed throughout the three years.

The English department is active in organising and running extra-curricular activities. We often have authors come to give talks about how they became authors and give readings from their books. Over the last few years we have had such varied and popular writers as Cathy Cassidy, Mary Hooper, Ally Carter, Lauren Kate and Maggie Stiefvater.

We also run the Jack Petchey Speak Up Speak Out programme with Year 9 and Year 10 students. An outside trainer comes to help the students improve their Speaking and Listening skills and the internal winners go to an external final with several other schools.

Weekly creative writing clubs, debating clubs and reading groups are run by English teachers throughout the year.

 

Assessment at Key Stage 3

Students will complete three formal assessments in a year. These assessments will take place during lesson time, in controlled conditions. Students will be prepared in advance by their teacher. The work will be completed on lined paper and stuck into students’ books once marked by their teacher.

A range of formative assessment will be visible in books throughout the year, including self-assessment, peer-assessment, APP and teacher assessment. Books are taken in twice in a half term.

In preparation for the rigors of GCSE assessment, students will be assessed on previously studied work in the summer examinations. They will need to learn quotations from these texts and take responsibility for revising close to the exam.

The assessed literature texts will be:

  • Year 7: Wonder and Poetry
  • Year 8: A Christmas Carol, poetry and Richard III
  • Year 9: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, poetry, Romeo and Juliet and a pre C20th novel

 

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Key Stage 4

English is timetabled at Key Stage 4 as a single subject, taught in four periods over one week. Students study a broad, challenging and exciting range of material that, for most, leads to the acquisition of two qualifications; GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. The exam specifications are WJEC and OCR.

The courses are varied and allow students to make productive use of the foundational skills built through the teaching in Years 7-9. A range of units are taught over the two separate qualifications yet the skills acquired in every unit are of use to another. The texts and topics chosen within these units extend and stretch more able students while remaining accessible to all students.

The key to success in English are accurate writing, wide reading and an excellent attendance record.

Accurate Writing

Understanding is the first step to completing planning effectively. Without proof reading, careless technical errors will mean students lose marks for easily corrected spellings, capital letters and punctuation. We encourage students to read their work aloud which will help to spot any mistakes.

It is important to remember that SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) is worth 20% of the English Language qualification and 5% of English Literature.

Handwriting is important in examinations. Students are encouraged to check that capital case and lower case rules are followed (eg. G g H h D d) They should also be careful to size their lettering correctly and to join up their handwriting. Recent educational research shows that, for girls, a failure to join up correctly is associated with an average drop of a whole grade in GCSE English 1. This will also help them to write quickly and to avoid losing marks for technical inaccuracy because it is unclear to the assessor if they are using capital letters correctly. 1(David Barnett, Jane Galbraith, Caroline Roaf, & Sue Rutherford, Ford Williams School, Oxford Road, Thame, Oxon OX9 2QA)  

Wide Reading

It is important for students to develop their taste in reading in Key Stage 4 by reading many different kinds of text. Some girls let their private reading drop under pressure of homework but it is important to recognise the wealth of benefits that reading for pleasure brings to students’ literacy and communication skills. Please continue to encourage your daughter to read novels, poems, magazines and newspapers. Although plays can be read, watching in a theatre or on screen is a more enjoyable and engaging way to experience drama. Please keep sharing the books you enjoy with your daughter, talking about what she reads and watches and reminding her to visit a public library. The library at LPGS was recently voted one of the top ten secondary school libraries in England; there is an excellent selection of appropriate fiction and non-fiction available. Our librarians can recommend books to your daughter. A suggested reading list is also distributed by English teachers to Year 10 classes.

One examination set text is provided in Year 10 which students may keep. It is the OCR Anthology ‘Towards a World Unknown’. Other examination and assessment texts should be purchased when required. Having their own copy of a text will enable students to annotate and underline passages, which will in turn, support them during revision.

Subject Final Examination
English Language WJEC

Paper 1: 1hr 45mins 20th Century Literature Reading and Creative Prose Writing

Paper 2: 2hr 19th and 21st Century Non-fiction Reading and Transaction/Persuasive Writing

English Literature OCR

Paper 1: 2hr Exploring Modern and Literary Heritage Text

Paper 2: 2hr Exploring Poetry and Shakespeare

 

All exam papers for English and English Language are now closed book examinations.

Students will be expected to use quotation and references to their studied text in their answers.

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Key Stage 5 - English Literature

A-level English Literature is an exciting and challenging course where students are invited to explore texts alongside their social, cultural and historical background. This course encourages students to use facilities outside the classroom to further engage their interest in the subject. Langley Park School for Girls’ is located in an ideal area. With only a thirty-minute train journey into central London, students are privileged with the wealth of resources available to them. A recent visit to The Barbican to see Lyndsey Turner’s production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, starring Benedict Cumberbatch was the perfect way to support students’ study of the play.

Changes

For many A-level courses the structure and assessment method has changed. For A-level English Literature at LPGS this means that all students take an exam at the end of Year 12. However these marks do not contribute towards the overall A-level. In Year 13 all material from the two years of study is assessed in an examination in the summer, marking the end of the course. There is also a coursework opportunity in Year 13 however; the weighting of this has been reduced.

Year 12

This year students will be studying for an AS in English Literature with two examinations totalling 100% of your final grade. The marks from their AS will not be brought forward next year. The AS is separate from the A-level studied for in Year 13. However, the texts studied this year will be studied alongside others for the A-level in Year 13. In Year 12 students will have two teachers and study for two examinations. A two hour exam on Poetry and Drama consists of the study of Poems of the Decade: An Anthology of the Forward Books of Poetry and Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. Across the three text genres students are invited to explore these texts from a variety of critical perspectives. Lessons involve a combination of collaborative and independent work; both of which require a personal and evaluative voice.

Year 13

During Year 13 students will be assessed on the texts they studied in Year 12. Alongside these, they will study a Shakespearian tragedy and some pre-1900 poetry (Metaphysical). There is a coursework opportunity for the A Level English literature, worth 20%. Students are required to plan and write a 2,000 word essay comparing two prose texts. The coursework will commence during the summer term of Year 12 with a view to complete a draft over the summer holidays.

Key Stage 5 - English Language and English Literature

English Language and Literature is a popular option at LPGS, offering the combination of literary studies and language and linguistic application. This course is for students who enjoy reading but also want to develop their creative writing and written communication. During this two year course students are invited to read and produce a variety of texts across genres.

Changes

For many A-level courses the structure and assessment method has changed. For A-level English Literature at LPGS this means that all students take an exam at the end of Year 12. However these marks do not contribute towards the overall A-level. In Year 13 all material from the two years of study is assessed in an examination in the summer, marking the end of the course. There is also a coursework opportunity in Year 13 however; the weighting of this has been reduced.

Year 12

During Year 12 students study two exciting literary texts:  the poetry of Emily Dickinson and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Students will explore how the writers’ use language to present their works whilst developing comparative, analysis and evaluation skills.

Alongside the study of the above literary texts, students will work towards an examination on non-fiction and how written and spoken texts are produced. This will involve exploring an anthology of non-fiction across contexts. Whether it is Samuel Pepys’ 1666 diary or Caitlin Moran’s Twitter feed, there is a range of texts to satisfy the students interests.

Students will also explore and develop a range of writing styles applicable to a variety of genres.

Year 13

Students are examined on the texts studied in Year 12 (both literary and non-fiction). There is a coursework opportunity worth 20% of the A-level. Students will begin this during the summer term of Year 12. The coursework offers students a chance to work independently, choosing from a range of fiction and non-fiction texts to compare. A drama text (A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams) is also introduced in Year 13 alongside the units ‘Reading as a Writer’ and ‘Writing as a Reader’. A-level English Language and Literature is perfect for students who desire to develop their writing skills whilst analysing a writer’s craft.

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