Most Able in English Faculty
English Language and Literature
Students are set according to ability from the start of year 7, which allows the most able students in this subject to experience a high level of challenge in top sets across KS3 and KS4. An ethos of academic excellence, a positive climate for learning and a passion for the subject is nurtured in these sets and expectations are set at the very highest standard. Theatre trips are organised across all key stages and most able students are particularly encouraged to attend.
At KS3, texts are differentiated and most able students study texts that are more challenging; trips to see dramatic performances of these are organised which allow the students to broaden both their knowledge of the text and their cultural experiences. The English faculty works closely with the librarian who organises fortnightly reading lessons, which develop skills in comprehension and, for the most able students, vital analytical skills. During these lessons, students take quizzes, which help the librarian to monitor progress and ensure that students are reading books at the correct level of challenge for their ability. In addition to these books, most able students are encouraged to read more widely and are guided by their English teacher towards the more challenging texts on the suggested reading lists.
At KS4, most able students are encouraged to ensure that they are reading enough challenging material. Wider reading around the subject is expected and additional homework for most able students will often involve reading high level, critical analysis of texts and relevant articles to broaden social, historical and cultural awareness of key texts, writers’ intentions and contemporary issues. .Students continue with DEAR time once a week in their English lessons and this allows the teachers of the most able students to monitor the choices of material for reading for pleasure. Students are encouraged to read other works by the writers studied at GCSE
For spoken language presentations at GCSE, most able students are taught to use a sophisticated repertoire of rhetorical devices and are expected to use these when they present their ideas. They are guided towards challenging topics to research and are encouraged to speak about complex issues which have moral, ethical and political implications.
As well as theatre trips for most able students at KS4, a member of the faculty organises an inspirational trip to Emmanuel College, Cambridge every year. Students tour the college and participate in English based workshops which develop skills in debating and rhetoric.
At KS5, most able students are expected to complete a significant amount of independent study outside of formal lesson time. A wide range of extra reading is encouraged and teachers differentiate suggested reading material. Students are also encouraged to take part in the tutoring and reading schemes in school to assist younger students with their English studies. Oxbridge (and other Russell Group) students, who are studying English or Linguistics at degree level, visit A level classes to inform most able students about the courses, university life and hopefully encourage them to pursue their studies.
As an optional GCSE subject, Media can be chosen by year 9 students going into year 10. As a result, the classes for Media are of mixed ability, dependent on their other subject choices. This allows for a varied and diverse calibre of Media pupils.
To support and drive our most able students, we employ and implement a range of strategies throughout the KS4 and KS5 courses to ensure that those students are challenged and remain focused.
For instance, in lessons students are grouped and paired together to enable them to share ideas and promote further thinking, as well as working independently. All class activities are set with extension tasks and ‘challenges’, which most able students are reminded to complete as a way of developing their understanding of the key concept being studied.
Students in Media all have access to ICT during lessons, which encourages most able students to log and research relevant articles independently, broadening their social, historical and cultural awareness of key media texts.
Students are given 20 minutes a week in lessons to engage with the media, particularly current affairs, moulding and shaping their views and attitudes towards the world. This also allows them to engage in debates with contemporary issues, which is especially beneficial for most able students. Most able students are encouraged to engage in class discussions and become a tool to spark extensive debates.
For homework, most able students are encouraged to continue widening their range of reading as additional work- they can access recommended articles on the idrive. This has helped to develop students’ critical analysis of texts and draws thoughtful evaluations of representation.
Faculty contact: Miss J Weatherley