English

English at Da Vinci Academy is a thriving subject area that aims to interest and engage all students. We provide every student with opportunities to make excellent progress, to develop in self-confidence and to find excitement in learning. The texts we study are varied and tasks are challenging. All students focus on the core skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening with regular assessments throughout KS3, resulting in GCSE qualifications in KS4. The English Department staff are a motivated and inspiring team who bring a wide range of skills and interests to the department. A lot of focus is put on ensuring that students are adequately supported in English where required, but also that they are challenged and that they have high expectations of themselves. We aim to do this in a supportive atmosphere that enforces high standards at all times.

Key Stage 3

At key stage 3 students study a wide range of topics in English; these ensure that all students study a broad range of texts including poetry, Shakespeare, pre-19th century literature and non-fiction texts. KS3 is vital in English as it builds the blocks to ensure students are successful at GCSE. Students are taught at KS3 through thematic units that include fiction reading, writing for purpose and audience, drama, poetry, non-fiction texts and spoken language. To support with this, students are assessed continuously through KS3; this includes a mixture of both short, timed assessments, longer and more detailed pieces of work, and end of term and end of year examinations. Once a week students will have a “challenge lesson” that allows them to visit the library to change their books and do some independent reading. After this they will return to classes where they will be explicitly taught new vocabulary each week and then complete a challenge writing task to build their resilience and writing stamina. Please see below the topics explored in each year group, and a selection of the texts that are studied.

Year 7

Year 7 is a key year for our students and helps to introduce them to the study of English as an academic discipline. Students start the year with an introductory unit to English studies. The students will read and study a novel, the history of rhetoric and will also receive some focused literacy support in some of their lessons. In the second term of Year 7, students move on to look at literature of Love. In this unit students go back to much earlier in the literature canon and study Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, alongside love poetry from across time. Students finish the year with a term focusing on ideas around conflict, redemption and judgement. In this unit of work students will study Private Peaceful, alongside extracts from The Diary of Anne Frank and other non-fiction texts; will also study WW1 poetry and other poetry linked to the themes mentioned.

Year 8

Year 8 students will further develop the skills introduced in Year 7. All students start Year 8 by looking at the 19th century, including a full study of Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde. Alongside this core text, students will also study 19th century poetry and non-fiction, developing a clear knowledge and understanding of this period in history and how it shaped and influenced literature. Year 8s will then move on to study literature from other cultures and traditions which will include the study of Of Mice and Men and an anthology of other cultures poetry. The students will consider non-fiction speech writing, learning about some of the great speakers of our time, including Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. As the year draws to an end, the Year 8 students will explore dystopia literature through texts such as 1984, Animal Farm and Uglies. As part of this students will also be given the opportunity to study topical issues around social media use and the use of CCTV and will finish the year with a film study based around the ideas raised in the texts studied.

Year 9

Year 9 is a key year in English as it is a bridging year for students to prepare for the rigour of GCSE. Students start the year with a unit on the gothic genre and students will study texts including The Woman in Black, Frankenstein or Dracula. Students will have knowledge of the genre and this knowledge is key to their study of gothic literature at GCSE. Students will then move on to studying a modern play and develop their understanding of dramatic devices and the theme of class and society and how it is presented in texts. Students will also have the opportunity to study extracts from some key Shakespeare texts that deal with this theme and use these to build a clear understanding of the development of theatre in English Literature. The students will end the year with a unit based around the idea of “coming of age” and will study texts such as Lord of the Flies or Catcher in the Rye, alongside non-fiction texts based on this theme.

Facilities and resources

The department has its own suite of classrooms that are equipped for the teaching of English. Students also use the ICT facilities around school at times to enrich their English education. The students also have access to an excellent library.  

 

GCSE

All students study AQA English Language and English Literature. This means that the students achieve two GCSEs in English at the end of Year 11. The course includes the study of the following texts:

  • B Priestley: An Inspector Calls
  • Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol
  • William Shakespeare: Macbeth

Alongside these, students’ study 16 poems based around a central theme, as well as a selection of other poems in preparation for an “unseen” element of the exam. The students have four GCSE examinations, two for English Language and two for English Literature. There is no coursework or controlled assessment and so the entire qualification is assessed by examination only.

 

 

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Year 11

AUTUMN

Introduction to Year 7

The 19th Century

The Gothic

A Christmas Carol

English Language Paper 1

Macbeth

Preparation for mock examinations

SPRING

Literature of love & tragedy

Literature from different cultures and traditions

Class and Society

Power & Conflict Poetry

English Language Paper 2

Revision of Year 10 Literature texts and English Language content

SUMMER

Conflict, redemption and judgement

Fractured Worlds and Dystopia

Coming of Age

An Inspector Calls

Revision of English Language examinations