The English Department aims to deliver a diverse curriculum which provides students with an engaging and comprehensive experience of English study in all its forms. Literacy and oracy are at the heart of what we do and we actively work to develop these skills with students across all year groups. Ultimately, we aim to create critical thinkers who can confidently express themselves both creatively and academically, whilst expanding their knowledge of different cultures and world views.
Key Stage 3
Our Key Stage 3 curriculum offers a solid introduction to the study of English at secondary school, introducing vital skills and building on students’ existing knowledge. All students in KS3 study at least one novel, one play and a collection of poems each year allowing for a broad understanding of different types of fiction writing and their conventions. During Year 7 and 8, students begin to look at the big ideas that are presented in literature: morality, inequality, gender expectations, social responsibility, prejudice and many more, including the historical factors that shape a writer’s work. Students in Key Stage 3 also learn about different types of non-fiction texts, refining their ability to write for specific purposes and audiences and learning how to use a variety of descriptive and persuasive techniques. Additionally, to help students become confident speakers, we include opportunities for students to develop their verbal communication skills across all key stages.
Key Stage 4
At Matthew Arnold we offer a three year Key Stage 4 programme beginning in Year 9. In Key Stage 4 we begin to develop the skills introduced in Years 7 and 8, exposing students to more challenging texts and helping them to cultivate a critical approach to their English studies. KS4 students study a broad range of literature from Shakespearian tragedy and the Victorian novel right through to post-war drama and contemporary poetry. Furthermore, students examine how non-fiction texts, such as articles and letters, are used to communicate viewpoints and perspectives, helping students to identify a writer’s intention and convey their own opinions convincingly through both written and spoken means. Students are assessed at GCSE on their reading, writing and spoken English skills, which, due to our extended Key Stage 4 provision, means they are provided with ample time to develop these skills in depth.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/examspecs/zcbchv4 GCSE English Language
https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/examspecs/zxqncwx GCSE English Literature