English

The English Department at Aston aims to produce students who are confident and articulate in arguing for a point of view, enthusiastic and analytical in reading, and fluid and precise in writing. Students are taught the basis of these skills early in their time here, and encouraged to hone them through engagement with increasingly challenging texts and tasks as they progress through the school.

Staff Names and Roles

  • Mrs Long – Head of Department
  • Mrs Searles – Teacher of English and Assistant Head of Sixth Form
  • Mrs Heald – Teacher of English
  • Ms Toland – Teacher of English
  • Ms Davidson – Teacher of English

Useful Websites to support your son’s learning

Opportunities outside of lessons

Theatre trips, Study Days and competitions will be announced to eligible students as they arise. The Department holds an annual Public Speaking Competition in the Spring Term of every year.

Course information

BACK

YEAR 7

Your son will cover a variety of topics which are related to the assessment schedule. This will include: writing for different audiences and purposes, an introduction to Shakespeare, Literary study and the development of analytical skills and drama work.

How will your son be assessed during year 7?

Common Assessment Tasks for Year 7:

  1. Reading booklet comprehension test
  2. Non-fiction writing
  3. Descriptive writing
  4. Public Speaking
  5. Literary Essay
  6. Speaking and Listening: Presentation
How could you support your son to learn during year 7?

Reading widely and often is very important for your son’s English studies. In KS3, all students have one lesson a fortnight dedicated to reading, where they go to the library, read and respond to books. They will also be set homework which involves reading. It would be very helpful if you could encourage your son to find regular time for reading at home. It is also very useful for students to develop a formal, academic style of writing by reading opinion pieces in broadsheet newspapers (The Independent, The Guardian, The Telegraph, the Times and the Financial Times). These pieces can be on sport or the environment as well as politics.

BACK

YEAR 8

Your son will cover a variety of topics which are related to the assessment schedule. This will include: writing for different audiences and purposes, an introduction to poetry, Literary study and the development of analytical skills and drama work.

How will your son be assessed during year 8?

Common Assessment Tasks for Year 8:

  1. Non-fiction writing
  2. Literary Essay: Fiction
  3. Narrative writing
  4. Public Speaking
  5. Literary Essay: Poetry
  6. Speaking and Listening: Group discussion
How could you support your son to learn during year 8?

See Year 7 information

BACK

YEAR 9

In Year 9, students continue with the type of studies they have undertaken in Years 7 and 8; however, the Year 9 curriculum is increasingly slanted towards the type of tasks students will encounter at GCSE level. Your son will cover: short stories, war poetry, a novel, spoken language study and writing for different purposes and audiences.

How will your son be assessed during year 9?

Common Assessment Tasks for Year 8:

  1. Narrative writing: creating character
  2. Literary Essay: Poetry comparison
  3. Media studies
  4. Public Speaking
  5. Creative writing
  6. Spoken Language Study
How could you support your son to learn during year 9?

As with Years 7&8, encouraging your son to read widely is very useful for his English studies. It would be good for him to start to tackle more challenging texts at this time. Your son should use the questions discussed in Reading lessons to help him develop his critical response to texts.

BACK

GCSE YEAR 10 & 11

Your son will gain two separate GCSEs from his English studies: English Language and English Literature. There is a lot of overlap in the courses, so we teach them in blocks as appropriate rather than two distinct subjects. The weblinks are as follows:

English Language:

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse/english-language-8700

English Literature:

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse/english-literature-8702

 

How will your son be assessed at GCSE?

Students will sit four exams at the end of Year 11:

1. English Language Paper 1
This is a written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes. It is worth 50% of the English Language GCSE.
Section A involves reading one literature fiction text and answering four questions on this text.
Section B involves writing one extended descriptive or narrative writing piece. Spelling, punctuation and grammar will be marked.

2. English Language Paper 2
This is a written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes. It is worth 50% of the English Language GCSE.
Section A involves reading one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text. Pupils will then answer four questions on these texts.
Section B involves writing one extended writing piece which tests the ability to write to present a viewpoint. Spelling, punctuation and grammar will be marked.

3. English Literature Paper 1
This is a written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes. It is worth 40% of the English Literature GCSE.
Section A – Shakespeare: students will answer one question on the play they have studied in class. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.
Section B – The 19th-century novel: students will answer one question on the novel they have studied in class. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.

4. English Literature Paper 2
This is a written exam: 2 hours 15 minutes. It is worth 60% of the English Literature GCSE.
Section A – Modern texts: students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on their studied modern prose or drama text.
Section B – Poetry: students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.
Section C – Unseen poetry: students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.

There is also a non-examination assessment of students ability to use Standard English, present, and respond to questions and feedback. This will be assessed throughout the year by the student’s teacher. It does not count towards either GCSE; there will be a separate endorsement.

How could you support your son to learn during year 10 & 11?

Encourage your son to read increasingly challenging literature, and to take an interest in Literary adaptations on TV as appropriate. Your son will be given guidance on how to prepare for each task and the end-of-course papers. GCSE bitesize provides some appropriate revision activities, but is not always targeted at A/A* grades: your son will need to make and revise detailed notes on the texts covered during the course for the highest grades.

BACK

A LEVEL YEAR 12 & 13

Students will study the A-Level course only. All exams are at the end of Year 13.

For Paper 1, students will study three Tragic texts: one Shakespeare text; a second drama text and one further text, of which one must be written pre-1900.

For Paper 2, students will study either Elements of Crime Writing or Elements of Political and Social Protest Writing. This will involve studying three texts: one post-2000 prose text; one poetry and one further text, one of which must be written pre-1900. The examination will include an unseen passage.

The specification can be found at the following link:

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/as-and-a-level/english-literature-b-7716-7717/spec-at-a-glance

How will your son be assessed at A level? 

Paper 1 –Aspects of Tragedy
Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
Closed book
40% of A-level

Questions
Section A: One passage-based question on set Shakespeare text
Section B: One essay question on set Shakespeare text
Section C: One essay question linking two texts

Paper 2 – Elements of Crime Writing or Elements of Political and Social Protest Writing
Written exam: 3 hours
open book
40% of A-level

Questions
Section A: One compulsory question on an unseen passage
Section B: One essay question on set text
Section C: One essay question which connects two texts

Non-Exam Assessment: Theory and Independence
20% of A-level: assessed by teachers and moderated by AQA
This module involves the study of two texts: one poetry and one prose text, informed by the study of a Critical Anthology provided by the exam board.
Students will write two essays of 1250 -1500 words, each responding to a different text and linking to a different aspect of the Critical Anthology
One essay can be re-creative. The re-creative piece must be accompanied by a commentary

How could you support your son to learn during year 12&13?

Encourage your son to make detailed notes on the texts he studies and urge him to keep them organised; this new linear course will require learning a vast amount of knowledge and without well-organised, comprehensive notes to revise from, it will be extremely difficult to prepare for the exams at the end of Year 13.

  • YEAR 7
  • YEAR 8
  • YEAR 9
  • GCSE YEAR 10 & 11
  • A LEVEL YEAR 12 & 13