The English Department at St Marylebone School aims to teach in a way that will develop a life-long love of the English language and its literature in all students. By exploring a rich and varied range of poetry, drama and novels, students will experience the deep, complex and challenging pleasure involved in studying literature. We also encourage our students to develop the skills necessary to respond critically to the information that will be presented to them throughout their lives. Through careful teaching, we want them to have confidence in their ability to communicate effectively and convincingly through both the spoken and the written word.
Key Stage 3
At St Marylebone we are passionate about developing a Key Stage 3 curriculum which builds the knowledge, skills and experiences needed by successful English students. We work hard to develop students’ belief in the importance of their personal response, combined with a strong understanding of how texts and language work in order to make their responses compelling and convincing. We also strive to share the pleasure of reading as something with a life-long benefit to wellbeing.
In Year 7, students begin by celebrating and starting to develop their understanding of their own reading habits, to enable them to make the most of the curriculum time dedicated to private reading. They then explore a diverse poetry anthology exploring special people and places, including a day of performance poetry with a visiting poet. Year 7 then study two novels back to back, as the comparison of the two enriches their understanding of the novel form and this widens their experience of literature. These novels are currently Ghost Boys and When Life Gives You Mangoes which both explore young protagonists coming to terms with elements of their lives, emotions and surroundings. The next unit, Perspectives, looks at how everyone experiences the world differently, how important it is to see through the eyes of others and the different ways a range of authors communicate their perspective. Year 7 wraps up with a non-fiction unit called Writing Relationships, closely linked to PSHE, an exploration of relationships in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and a creative writing unit inspired by World Myths.
In Year 8, students explore literature of the Gothic and detective genres through studying The Hound of the Baskervilles and a companion crime novel of their choice. Their creative writing develops in terms of structure through a short story writing unit, and they also write speeches and take part in formal debates. Study of The Merchant of Venice develops their understanding of changing emotional responses to characters. The students then develop their independent reading by reading Rebecca in their own time and then study Du Maurier’s methods in class from a whole-text perspective. The year ends with The Village, a student favourite, where the class create their own fictional town. They all adopt a role and complete various real-life writing tasks as their chosen character.
In Year 9, students increase their independence in dealing with literature, and also develop their understanding of the place of their English work in the wider world. They start the year with the high dramatic tension provided by A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller. A non fiction unit focused on current affairs affecting London follows, involving debate and formal writing. This year also includes study of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which follows neatly on from their study of the Russian Revolution in History, enabling them to evaluate the success of a novel attempting to warn humans of the dangers of tyranny. We then return to and develop our important study of the concise expression of powerful emotion through poetry, focusing on the expression of identity. The year ends with creative writing on the topic of animals, inspired by a trip to London Zoo, and an exploration of the controversial issues in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Key Stage 4
All students study English Language and English Literature GCSE in Years 10 and 11.
GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature involve the study of how writers communicate their ideas about the world, and how readers might respond to those ideas. The course aims to develop a critical understanding of the ways in which texts are a reflection of, and exploration of, the human condition, the study of which develops empathic understanding of human nature. GCSE English Language and Literature aims to enable students to appreciate these qualities, developing and presenting informed, critical responses to the ideas in a range of texts and the ways writers present these ideas. We aim to enable students to make links between a variety of written texts and between the text and the context within which it was shaped.
Paper One: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing (1 hour 45 minutes) 50%
- Section A: Reading – One unseen literature fiction text from the 20th or 21st century with four questions: (one short form 4 mark question, two longer form 8 mark questions and one extended 20 mark question)
- Section B: Writing – Descriptive or narrative writing (one extended writing question with 24 marks for content and 16 marks for technical accuracy)
Paper Two: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives (1 hour 45 minutes) 50%
- Section A: One non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text from the 19th and 20th / 21st century with four questions: (one short form 4 mark question, two longer form 8 mark questions and one extended 20 mark question)
- Section B: Writing to present a viewpoint (one extended writing question with 24 marks for content and 16 marks for technical accuracy)
This is an internally assessed component, externally moderated, and leading to a separate endorsement, focused on the development of speaking and listening skills.
Paper One: Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel (1 hour 45 minutes) 40%
- Section A: One essay question on a Shakespeare play (pre-taught)
- Section B: One extract question on a 19th Century novel and one question comparing the extract to the play as a whole (pre-taught)
Paper Two: Modern Texts and Poetry (2 hours 15 minutes) 60%
- Section A: One essay question on a modern novel or drama text (pre-taught)
- Section B: One comparative essay question on two poems from the Anthology, one named on the paper and one chosen by the candidate (pre-taught)
- Section C: One question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this to another unseen poem
Exam Board : AQA
Final Grade – Grades 1-9
English Language GCSE
Structure of Assessment
50% of the final GCSE grade – Paper One: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing
50% of the final GCSE grade – Paper Two: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives
English Literature GCSE
Structure of Assessment
40% of the final GCSE grade – Paper One: Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel
60% of the final GCSE grade – Paper Two: Modern Texts and Poetry
Key Stage 4 Reading List – we encourage students to read widely, beyond the texts listed on the specification.