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. Years 7-9
In the English Department we are passionate about Key Stage 3 as we work on a strong foundation for successful English students. We work hard to combine our development of students’ belief in the validity of their personal response with the tools they will need to make these responses compelling and convincing.
In Year 7, students learn how to approach fiction through a diverse poetry anthology exploring special people and places, the class novel Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry and a new short story unit entitled Perspectives which looks at how we all experience the world and communicate our view of it. They also study A Midsummer Night’s Dream and World Myths, where they work on their creative writing skills. Year 7 also includes a non-fiction unit called Writing Relationships, closely linked to our work in PSHE.
In Year 8, students continue developing their skills in creative writing as they create their own short story. They explore literature of the Gothic genre, a second Shakespeare play and a unit focusing on Speeches and Debates where they develop their work on Perspectives in Year 7 as they focus again on how people use words to convey their points of view as persuasively as possible. 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 start the year with the high dramatic tension provided by a play by Arthur Miller. This year also includes study of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and a return to our important study of the concise expression of powerful emotion through poetry. Our non-fiction unit in Year 9 changes annually as it is focused on significant current affairs.
Key Stage 4 GCSE. Years 10-11
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.
Key Stage 5 A Level. Years 12-13
Examination Board: OCR
Drama and poetry pre-1900 (H472/01)
Comparative and contextual study (H472/02)
Literature post-1900 (H472/03)
Link to Specification: Click here.
Drama and poetry pre-1900 (H472/01):
Learners are required to study one play by Shakespeare from a list of set plays. In addition, learners are required to study one pre-1900 drama text and one pre-1900 poetry text from a setlist. Assessment is in the form of a 2 1/2 -hour closed-text exam. The texts are chosen by your teacher.
Comparative and contextual study (H472/02):
There is a choice of five topics (your teacher will choose which you study) as follows:
- American Literature 1880–1940
- The Gothic
- Women in Literature
- The Immigrant Experience.
Learners study at least two whole texts in their chosen topic area, at least one of which must be from the core set text list.
For the second text, learners may choose to study the other core set text or they may choose another text, from the same topic area, from the list of suggested set texts. Assessment is in the form of a 2 1/2 -hour closed-text exam.
Literature post-1900 (H472/03):
The aim of this internally assessed component is to encourage individual study, interest and enjoyment of modern literature and for learners to develop:
- an appreciation of how writers shape meanings in texts through the use of language, imagery, form and structure
- an understanding of texts informed by an appreciation of different interpretations
- an ability to explore connections across texts, such as stylistic, thematic or contextual.
OCR will approve that the text(s) chosen to meet the criteria for this component which state that:
- learners are required to study three literary texts (one text for Task 1 and two texts for Task 2)
- the three texts must include one prose text, one poetry text and one drama text
- the texts must have been first published or performed in 1900 or later
- at least one of these texts must have been first published or performed in 2000 or later.
Skills Gained from Taking this Course
This English Literature specification will encourage learners to be inspired, motivated and challenged by reading widely across a range of texts and developing their independent study skills. By A level, learners are cultivating their own critical responses and engaging with the richness of literature.
This qualification will enable learners to:
- explore and understand a wide range of texts
- develop the valuable transferable skills of sustained research and composition
- have freedom of choice with regards to texts for study in the non examined assessment component
- choose to write creatively if they wish.
St Marylebone Entry Requirements
To gain entry into the sixth form at St Marylebone School, students must gain a minimum of five 9-6 grades at GCSE and a 5 grade in English and Maths GCSE.
Subject Specific Entry Requirements
Grade 6 in English Language GCSE and English Literature GCSE.
If you love reading, analysing texts, class discussions and developing arguments in essays, then English is the subject for you.
Students who wish to study English at A level need to be well-read; they must have read widely exploring works of many different genres and periods. They need to be able to read quickly and be prepared to read texts that are not just studied on the course. Essay writing is much more advanced than GCSE and students need to be prepared to spend time editing and redrafting work before handing it in.
If you are made an offer, you will be expected to complete the following before your first lesson in September:
Preparing for Yr 12 –
Resources Needed for this Course:
You will need to purchase around eight books over the course of the two years; these usually cost between £7 and £10. Your teacher will inform you of what to buy and when.
A useful introductory book to get from a library or buy is ‘Doing English’ by Robert Eaglestone.