At GA, we put real focus into developing every child’s ability to master English. A confidence with literacy almost guarantees academic progress in all other subjects. If a pupil cannot confidently read age-appropriate books and write with skill by the end of year 9, they will struggle at school in the GCSE years. Because of this, the school invests a great deal of resources (superb teachers, support from teaching assistants, pupil premium funding, full sets of reading books for each class in years 7, 8, and 9) to ensure that all children master literacy and develop a love of reading.
We expect our most able English students to be fully involved in writing assignments and essays of real quality, to publish poetry (as part of the Cheltenham Literature Festival), and be involved in our drama productions too. We want them to achieve the highest grades at GCSE and continue onto an A-level in English literature.
The unique year 7 New Basics curriculum, which includes many aspects of geography, history, oracy, thinking skills, and religious studies, is driven by literacy. One teacher leads this and follows each child’s progress for 40% of their timetable, and this teacher, who knows each of their students really well, brings high expectations and sets high standards of presentation, skill, and accuracy in their writing. Along with English lessons, this means that there is a high proportion of lessons with a literacy focus.
In KS3, we focus on challenging texts (Oliver Twist, Inspector Calls) and Shakespeare, developing skills with each text. A significant role of the English and New Basics teams is to help pupils to develop a love of reading. We invest in an accelerated reader scheme and a comprehensive Lexia programme. Our tutor time, which takes place each afternoon for 20 minutes for years 7, 8, and 9, is dedicated to joint reading and the list of texts is exciting and challenging.
Excellent Books for Pupils to Read by Year 8
We need your help as parents to support your child by having them read as many of these books as possible before they come to GA in September to build their confidence:
Holes – Louis Sachar
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne
Private Peaceful – Michael Morpugo
The Bad Beginning – Lemony Snicket
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
Candyfloss – Jacqueline Wilson
Stormbreaker – Antony Horowitz
The Recruit – Robert Muchamore
Cirque Du Freak – Darren Shan
The Suitcase Kid – Jacqueline Wilson
The Magician’s Nephew – C. S. Lewis
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Peter Pan – J. M. Barrie
Face – Benjamin Zephaniah
Select year group
Writing: Persuasive Leaflet
Skills: Analysis of language, form and structure, PAF, paragraphs/connectives.
Shakespeare Page to Stage: Heroes to Zeroes
Reading: Source-based Question
Skills: Inference and deduction, use of quotes, imaginative writing.
Different Cultures Poetry
Reading: Poetry Comparison
Skills: Context and comparison, vocabulary for effect, SPAG.
Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Writing: Newspaper Article
Skills: Analysis of language, structure and form, use of quotes, PAF.
Face – Benjamin Zephaniah & An Inspector Calls – JB Priestly
Reading: Source-based Question
Skills: Inference and deduction, SPAG, PAF.
War and Conflict
Writing: Persuasive Speech
Skills: Comparison of text, use of quotes, vocab for effect/meaning.
Skills: Inference & deduction, use of quotes, sentence structure for effect.
Writing: Informative Speech
Skills: Comparison of texts, PAF, SPAG.
Reading: Poetry Comparison
Skills: Context, analysis of language, structure and form, vocabulary for effect and meaning.
Romeo and Juliet
Skills: Inference and deduction, paragraphs/connectives, SPAG.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Reading: Source based Question
Skills: Context, use of quotes, imaginative writing.
Cycle 5: Exam Revision
Section A (20%) – Reading
Understanding of one prose extract (about 60-100 lines) of literature from the 20th century – structured questions.
Section B (20%) – Narrative Writing
One creative writing task selected from a choice of four titles.
Best Way to Revise: Use the English dept revision pack – Eduqas Component 1
Section A (30%) – Reading
Understanding of two extracts (about 900 to 1200 words in total) of high-quality non-fiction writing, one from the 19th century, the other from the 21st century – structured questions.
Section B (30%) – Writing
Two compulsory non-fiction writing tasks.￼￼￼￼￼￼
Best Way to Revise: Use the English dept revision pack – Eduqas Component 2
One Presentation/Speech – Including responses to questions and feedback.
Best Way to Revise: Attempt past paper questions, read at home, read short stories, learn grammatical terms, know and be able to identify writers’ techniques (see knowledge organisers in English homezone to help you).
Planning for Writing: Can you write detailed plans for different questions (e.g. The local council has decided it will build a new ...). Make sure that you make decisions as a writer based on genre, audience, and purpose.
(Students are NOT allowed to take texts into the exam – they MUST learn quotations).
Component 1: 2 Hours (40%)
Section A (20%) Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet
One extract question and one essay question.
Section B (20%) Poetry from 1789 to the Present Day
Two questions based on poems from the green poetry anthology.
Component 2: 2 Hours and 30 Minutes (60%)
Section A (20%) Post-1914 Prose/Drama Blood Brothers (Russell)
Section B (20%) 19th Century Prose – The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Stevenson)
Best Way to Revise: Learn quotes, characters, themes, context, key events, and the order in which they happen.
Section C (20%) Unseen Poetry from the 20th/21st Century
Two questions on unseen poems, one of which involves comparison.
Best Way to Revise: Use the revision pack which you have been given, read ‘new’ unseen poems (use ‘Poemhunter’ or ‘poetry archive’ online), use Mr Bruff’s website, watch Dominic Salles YouTube ‘how to’ clips, use GCSEPod, and Shmoop – Harvard University.
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The White Horse Federation
At the heart of The White Horse Federation is a belief in using collaboration to provide a first-class education to a wide range of children. This means that every child understands what they are capable of, and can collectively strive for excellence.