English

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English at St Edmund’s challenges students to analyse the ways which in which writers influence their readers; empowers them to utilise a range of techniques in their own writing and encourages them to form their own opinions.

Key Stage 3

In each year, students will study a novel, a collection of poetry and a Shakespeare play as well as analysing extracts and writing for a variety of purposes and audiences.

Key Stage 3 Home Learning

Girls in years 7, 8 and 9 will be set three key home learning challenges every week: to read 20 minutes every day; to learn the meaning and spelling of advanced vocabulary and to self-quiz on key knowledge.

Reading 20 minutes EVERY day

Aside from the pleasures and enjoyment many of us associate with the act of reading, research shows that reading 20 minutes a day can have a hugely positive impact on a student’s chance of success. We want girls to enjoy reading and for reading to be a habit; something which happens every day. Daily reading can be broken up into smaller blocks (e.g. two 10 minute blocks) and we’d actively encourage your daughter to read for longer than 20 minutes a day if she wants to.

As part of her homework, your daughter will be expected to complete a reading log once every week which can be accessed through ShowMyHomework. We’ll use this to see how often your daughter is reading but primarily as a prompt for discussing your daughter’s reading with her and guiding her reading.

How can you support your daughter with reading every day?

  • Set time aside for it to become routine. For example, encourage your daughter to read for 20 minutes: on her way to and from school on the bus; before or after dinner; as soon as she gets in from school or before she goes to sleep at night.
  • Read with your daughter – it’s great for girls to see their parents as reading role models. You don’t have to be reading the same book but being together and reading at the same time will encourage her to read.
  • Ask your daughter about what she’s reading. What’s been the best bit so far? What does she predict will happen next? What does she like or dislike about the main characters?
  • Make reading a habit by keeping books in accessible places e.g. the car or the bathroom.
  • Encourage your daughter to read whilst she’s waiting (whether that’s for the bus or for dinner to be ready or a friend to arrive).

Learning advanced vocabulary

Each year group has a set of 45 advanced words which we would like them to know the meaning and spelling of. Learning these words will enable your daughter to comprehend and express more complex ideas. We also know the feeling of empowerment that comes with knowing advanced vocabulary and we hope your daughter will feel encouraged to seek out new and impressive words of her own to add to her vocabulary.

Some of these words may seem very advanced, especially if you are a parent of a year 7 girl. Don’t worry. We don’t expect your daughter to know all 45 words immediately. We will encourage your daughter to focus on 5 words per week initially and we know it will take time for your daughter to know all of the meanings and spellings.

How can you support your daughter with learning advanced vocabulary?

  • Test your daughter on the advanced vocabulary verbally. Can she give you a better word for ‘sad’ or ‘mistaken’ or ‘lazy’?
  • You might have your daughter create flash cards with the word on one side and the meaning on the other. Can she tell you the advanced word from the meaning? Can she spell it correctly? (Quizlet is a good app for this)
  • Display the vocabulary list somewhere prominent at home.
  • Pick a word of the week and see how often your daughter can get it into conversation or in her written work at school.
  • Challenge your daughter to find examples or the word being used e.g. on the television, on the radio or in her book.
  • Praise your daughter for using these advanced words in conversations at home or in her written work in other subjects.
  • Encourage your daughter to download (and use) the free Quizlet app.

Self-quizzing on Key Knowledge

Your daughter will be given a Knowledge Organiser for each of her set texts and for other key areas of her English Language study. These outline the key knowledge that we want every student to learn about a topic we are studying in lessons. To support students with learning this knowledge, we ask that students self-quiz every week. This involves putting the Knowledge Organiser away and writing down everything they can remember. Students should then get the Knowledge Organiser back out and, in a different coloured pen, make corrections and add anything in that they didn’t manage to remember.

If students complete this self-quizzing every week, before long this key knowledge will be easy to recall and will support them to make great progress in lessons. We expect to see a page of self-quizzing every week with corrections in a different coloured pen.

The Knowledge Organisers are not exhaustive – we do not put a limit on the knowledge a student may acquire about a topic and we would hope that your daughter will be inspired to seek out additional information. However, the Knowledge Organiser specifies what we expect all students to know because it’s essential for full engagement with a topic.

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How can you support your daughter with learning advanced vocabulary?

  • Test your daughter on the knowledge organiser. Ask her to tell you what she knows about one of the characters or one of the themes, for example.
  •  Get into a routine of when your daughter will do her self-quizzing so that it becomes a habit.
  • Display the knowledge organisers somewhere prominent in the home or make them easily accessible – your daughter should be using them every week.
  • Check your daughter’s self-quizzing and praise when she’s getting more and more right.

Key Stage 4

Students in year 10 will prepare for their AQA English Language GCSE before moving on to prepare for their AQA English Literature GCSE in year 11.

Year 10 will sit two exams for the AQA English Language GCSE

Paper 1 (1 hour 45 minutes) – Explorations in creative reading and writing – 50%

  • Section A: Analysing Fiction
  • Section B: Descriptive or Narrative Writing

Paper 2 (1 hour 45 minutes) – Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives – 50%

  • Section A: Analysing Non-Fiction
  • Section B: Viewpoint Writing

Year 11 will sit two exams for the AQA English Literature GCSE

Paper 1 (1 hour 45 minutes) – Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel – 40%

  • Section A: Macbeth
  • Section B: Jekyll and Hyde

Paper 2 (2 hours 15 minutes) – Modern texts and poetry – 60%

  • Section A: An Inspector Calls
  • Section B: Poetry Anthology
  • Section C: Unseen Poetry