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Year 7

In Year 7, students begin the year with an introductory scheme of work which focuses on autobiographical writing. Subsequent schemes present students with links to their heritage, by looking at works from Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare. An opportunity to read modern fiction and produce a creative piece of writing is also offered through the ‘Looking at Prose’ and the ‘Be a Poet’ schemes. Some of the key skills focused upon are: reading for meaning; linking texts to their social and historical contexts; exploring writers’ use of language; writing imaginative and creative texts; and technical accuracy of sentences, punctuation and spelling.

Year 8

The Year 8 curriculum is designed to develop the skills and knowledge gained from year 7, through an exciting mix of modern fiction, story writing and drama performance. Students have the opportunity to practise writing their own non-fiction texts, as well as putting together a World War Two scrapbook. ‘Learning through talk’ also provides youngsters the chance to share knowledge and debate ideas amongst their peers. Collaborative presentations and display work provide a vibrant and colourful learning environment. Skills developed include: organising and paragraphing texts; varying sentence types for effect and making selective vocabulary choices; exploring plays in performance; selecting evidence for analysis and interpreting texts.

Year 9, 10 and 11

Key Stage 4 English at Plympton Academy aims to motivate, inspire and challenge all students.  We firmly believe that through high quality and engaging teaching, we can inspire students to achieve their full potential in these key qualifications.  Students’ experience of English at KS4 is characterised by a sense of purpose but also of enjoyment as we support them in making a high level of progress in this subject.

Students begin studying for their GCSEs in English Language and English Literature at the start of Year 9.  They begin with an introductory module to help them with the transition from KS3 to the higher demands of KS4.  This module introduces students to the key skills they will need in order to be successful in their exams and prepares them for the rigor of GCSE studies.  We then begin the preparation for their English Language exams which are taken at the end of Year 10.  Students spend Year 11 preparing for their Literature exams which they sit at the end of the year.

Students follow the AQA syllabus for both qualifications.

The qualification is structured as follows:

English Language

Paper 1: Explorations in creative reading and writing

  • 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 50% of overall grade
  • Reading section requires students to respond to a piece of fiction
  • Writing section offers the students to demonstrate their creative writing skills through a narrative or descriptive task.

Paper 2: Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives

  • 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 50% of overall grade
  • Reading section asks students to respond to two texts, one of which could be from 19th
  • Writing section requires students to write an extended piece developing their own viewpoint.

Spoken Language

  • All students will be assessed on their spoken language skills which will be accredited separately.

English Literature

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-Century novel

  • 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 40% of the overall grade
  • One question on a Shakespeare play which students will have studied in class
  • One question on a 19th-Century novel which students will have studied in class
  • Currently the chosen play and novel are: ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘The Sign of Four’ or ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry

  • 2 hours 15 minutes
  • 60% of the overall grade
  • One question on a modern prose text or play
  • One question comparing two poems, one of which students will have studied in class
  • One question on an unseen poem
  • Currently the chosen text is ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time’ (play) and the chosen poetry cluster from the AQA anthology is ‘Power and Conflict’. These choices are subject to change.

Current Year 11 Students

Current Year 11 students are following legacy specifications in GCSE Language and Literature. They are following the CIE IGCSE specifications. The ‘I’ means ‘international’, meaning these qualifications are studied by students in other countries as well as in the UK.

IGCSE English Language

  • 40% written exam (2hrs)
  • 40% written coursework (3 pieces of 500-800 words each)
  • 20% Speaking & Listening exam (10 mins, on a topic of the student’s choice)

IGCSE English Literature

  • 25% written coursework (2 pieces on 2 different texts, including ‘Of Mice and Men’)
  • 75% written exam (2 exams, totalling 2hrs 15mins. Texts studied include ‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, and a collection of poetry called ‘Deep and Dangerous’)

Meet the staff

  • Ms Sarah Glover – Assistant Principal / Head of English and Literacy
  • Ms Heidi Barber – Head of Key Stage 4
  • Ms Hayley Dann – Head of Key Stage 3
  • Mrs Laura Wills – English Teacher
  • Mr Jason Ryder – English Teacher/Assistant Headteacher
  • Ms Harriet Turner -  English teacher, i/c Y12/13 English, Literacy
  • Mrs Debra Clifft – School Librarian
  • Mrs Julie McGlinchey – School Librarian