English at Garratt Park School is exciting and enriching, allowing students the opportunity to engage with different characters and settings through reading and drama. Students also explore different formats of writing from letters and speeches to creative stories and more formal essays. Students read widely, from short stories and novels to the plays of Shakespeare and poetry. They also learn Functional aspects of English to support independent living. This includes reading timetables and maps and writing shopping lists and emails.
In year 7, students study English through various themes and projects which include The Battle of Hastings and Castles and seasonal events including Christmas and other world celebrations. Students read in groups, using the Rapid Read programme, and complete comprehension activities to develop their reading and understanding. They learn and practice high frequency spellings and are introduced to new vocabulary through exciting and engaging computer programmes. Once a week, they practice reading and spelling through personalised phonics programmes such as Read Write Inc. Students work on their independent writing skills using Clicker 6 and Write Online to develop the use of vocabulary, sentence structure and punctuation.
Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3, Students consider the relationships within different stories and plays and how characters feel about each other as well as developing recalling tasks: putting events in sequence, ordering facts about characters and their relationships. For more able students, they are encouraged to justify their answers, for example, by finding quotations to use as evidence. Students are also encouraged to focus on the writers’ choice of language and inference skills. Alongside the various topics, students also practice their handwriting to increase motor control and legibility. To support their writing, students complete a range of units looking at the style and content of speeches, letters, articles and diaries which are based on many of the stories they have read.
Key Stage 4
In Key Stage 4 and as part of the AQA English Language accreditation, students study a wide range of fiction and non-fiction extracts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Students are assessed on their ability to select and retrieve implicit and explicit information, their ability to analyse language and structure and their effect on the reader and their ability to identify and explain opinions. Students are also assessed on their ability to write fluently and creatively to describe and narrate, or to express ideas and opinions for different audiences. The course is assessed by 100% examinations at the end of Year 11.
For more able students in Key Stage 4, as part of the Literature course, students also study a 19th century novel such as ‘Great Expectations’ or ‘Frankenstein’ or ‘A Christmas Carol’. They also have the opportunity to study a play from Shakespeare and a modern play such as ‘Blood Brothers’ or ‘An Inspector Calls’. Students study a wide range of classic and modern poetry and identify links and themes between them where they will have the opportunity to compare and contrast. The accreditation is assessed by 100% examination at the end of Year 11.
In Key Stage 4, students also have the opportunity to study the Step up to English accreditation which supports students working below GCSE level and helps students build basic and relevant literacy skills. The Step up to English accreditation is a nationally recognised qualification that gives students the opportunity to achieve a certified award. The assessments are designed to inspire and motivate students, providing appropriate stretch and challenge whilst ensuring the assessment and texts are accessible to all students.
The accreditation will encourage students to develop the skills they need to read and understand a range of texts as well as to write clearly, coherently and accurately using a range of vocabulary and sentence structures. The qualification can be tailored to students' needs through either Silver Step or Gold Step. Silver Step is aimed at Entry 1 and Entry 2 students and Gold Step is for Entry 3 students looking to progress to GCSE.
Key Stage 5
In Key Stage 5, students have the option of working towards the Entry Level Functional Skills English accreditation Levels 1 to 3. These accreditations allow students to demonstrate the fundamental applied skills in English that help them to gain the most from life, learning and work. Students will be entered for the accreditation when they can demonstrate all the skills standards outlined at
the appropriate level. These accreditations have been developed with Reading, Writing and Speaking, Listening and Communication being assessed
in separate tasks. This means that candidates can take the components in different
examination series or all in the same series. There are unlimited re-sit opportunities for candidates who do not achieve the required level at the first attempt.
AQA’s tests and tasks are based on a range of real life contexts and scenarios in a skills based approach and they include Household Management, Health and Fitness and Arranging a Party.