Our curriculum intent
The English Department at RCC wants to encourage and develop students who are both passionate about reading and able to communicate and express their own ideas and opinions confidently.
We see it as an essential life skill that students are able read with a critical eye, looking for layers of meaning in what they are presented with, as well as nurturing a love of reading for itself. Another essential skill is the ability to express their thoughts and ideas, that they have developed, through their own creative voice.
Our curriculum offers a range of literary texts from across many different sources in order to promote a rich and varied experience from which students are able to draw on, in their own everyday lives, as well as preparing them for later academic success.
Students study and explore a wide variety of texts from prose and poetry to plays and non-fiction, amongst others. This gives students the opportunity to explore topics and themes which come from many different viewpoints and contexts; helping to develop their own view of the world and their own place within it. We want our students to develop empathy and appreciation for others as well as having an objective view on many diverse topics.
In terms of links to careers and later academic success it is essential that students have a broad range of ideas and concepts to draw on and are able to articulate themselves fluently and effectively – this will ensure greater access to whichever career path or academic qualification they choose later in life.
What this looks like in practice
The English department offers students an exciting and enriching experience in English. In the classroom a variety of teaching methods ensure that each student’s learning style is catered for. The department believes in the value of experiences outside the classroom; all year groups benefit from a variety of extra-curricular activities. The activities include: Creative Writing Club; Scrabble Club; Reading Group and theatre visits/events that are directly related to a text being studied. This includes watching performances of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, A Christmas Carol and workshops at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. All students are encouraged to take part in competitions, including the annual Creative Writing competitions.
The students are expected to achieve their full potential, and if necessary lunch time/after school support is available. This is particularly relevant for Year 11 students who can take part in extra revision lessons weekly on a Tuesday and Wednesday.
English Literature and English Language are taught to all students across both Key Stages. Furthermore all of the students at Robertsbridge will sit both English Language and English Literature at GCSE. The students develop their skills in: critical reading for understanding; writing for different purposes and in a range of Speaking and Listening activities. Students are encouraged to show initiative and be creative in their studies.
- Years 7 and 8
Students study a range of texts including Pre-1914 short stories, Tiger Wars, The King of Shadows, The Prince of Mist, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado about Nothing and poetry to name a few. Students write in a variety of forms for different audiences and purposes, including letters; autobiographies; articles; reports; essays.
- Year 9
This transitional year will consolidate and develop the skills gained in Years 7 and 8 and prepare students for the GCSE course in Years 10 and 11. Students begin their GCSE courses in term 6 and are re-set accordingly.
- Years 10 and 11
Year 10 students follow the AQA specifications for English Language and Literature. This is a GCSE specification where the students are assessed only by examination.
At the end of the two years, students will sit examinations for each subject. The Literature course includes Shakespeare plays and Nineteenth Century novels by the likes of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Also studied are either a contemporary novel or play and a wide range of poetry, including the work of the Romantics. The texts that we have currently chosen are Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Priestley’s An Inspector Calls.
In Language, students respond to a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts and are expected to write in different forms, for different purposes and different audiences. In the examinations, students will be exposed to unseen material as well as studied texts; they will also be expected to make links across texts. The Language GCSE also has a Spoken Language element which encourages students’ communication skills.