At the Nottingham Academy we believe that the English departments play an essential role in the progress of our pupils and provides valuable life opportunities. English allows pupils to develop key literacy and communication skills enabling them to succeed in further education or employment. Moreover, English lessons provide our pupils with a platform to discuss important issues, broaden their perspectives, and a safe learning environment to listen and respond to the viewpoints of others.
English is accepted as a fundamentally important area of study. As a department, we encourage our pupils to recognise the crucial impact of communication, written or spoken, through focused, innovative and inspiring teaching.
The aims of our English curriculum are:
- To inspire pupils to express themselves imaginatively and appropriately; encouraging them to consider the effects of language and to develop an appreciation of alternative perspectives through a vast range of texts.
- To ensure that all pupils leaving the academy will have the required English skills to achieve and flourish in their further studies or the career of their choice.
- To instil in pupils a sense of ownership of the English language and to develop their own voice through the study of a wide range of writers from a broad range of social and ethnic backgrounds.
- To ensure pupils have an understanding of different genres and which authors have significantly contributed to the English literary heritage.
- To encourage pupils to develop a keen interest in English, and to fully understand the role the subject plays in the modern world across a broad range of mediums.
All pupils take English at Key Stage three and study a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts. This develops their extended writing skills in preparation for the new GCSE course. Pupils also have the chance to practice speaking and listening and to further develop their literacy skills through the ‘VCOP’ and ‘Big Write’ initiatives which are part of the Academy’s ‘Middle Years’ programme.
By studying English at Key stage 3, pupils learn to become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poems and plays as well as non-fiction and media texts.
Programmes of study broadly follow the National Curriculum and ensure the development of the English skills necessary to achieve and progress in the further study of English.
Regular assessment and formative feedback helps pupils to recognise what they are doing well and where they can further improve their skills.
At Key Stage 4, the department follows AQA exam board specifications. There are three main qualifications available to pupils:
- English Language GCSE
- English Literature GCSE (Literature is studied alongside Language)
- English GCSE (which combines elements of both Literature and Language)
This choice of GCSE specification allows flexibility and for staff to cater for the individual learning needs of pupils. All courses give pupils the opportunity to cultivate their own original writing styles and creative talents.
Formal Assessment is made through written Controlled Assessments (40%) and examinations taken at the end of the course (60%).
Controlled Assessments require the study of plays, poems, short stories, novels and non-fiction texts. These are usually completed during Year 10.
Students also have the option to continue their study of English at AS and A2-level.
The AQA Literature and Language courses give students the opportunity to further develop English skills and to consider the role of spoken language in life and in literature. Students study seminal Literature from a wide range of genres, periods and cultures. Students are encouraged to explore the impact of these discourses, how they reflect society, human nature and how students can entwine them into their own creative voice. The courses are made up of both written assignments and examinations at the end of the AS and A2 course.