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English Department



As a compulsory subject up until the end of KS4, English has an essential place in helping young people find and understand their identity and place in the modern world. This begins in their very first English lesson at Lancaster Girls’ Grammar with the topic of language and identity and continues all the way through into KS5 where students explore complex and sensitive contemporary issues, acknowledging the power of words as a representational force. In order to do so, they are given opportunities to delve into both our rich literary heritage and to explore modern contemporary fiction and non-fiction. In lessons, they are encouraged to trust their own interpretations and ideas: English is a subject where, technical accuracy excepted, there is no right answer. All viewpoints, opinions and perspectives are acknowledged for their individual merit– and equally respected within the classroom. Communicating effectively with others is an essential life skill; knowing that your view can be heard and is valued is a fundamental human right. In English, students’ skills in the former are developed and nurtured through providing a safe space in the classroom for the latter.

The three strands to the English curriculum (reading, writing and communicating) offer opportunities for students to play to their own strengths. Not everyone is confident in speaking in front of 29 of their peers during a class discussion, although these students may excel in absorbing the views of others, assimilating these ideas with their own to produce a comprehensive literary analysis of either prose, poetry or drama. Others may find the analysis of Shakespeare’s use of language and structure difficult - or less enticing - yet can manipulate both to great effect within their own original writing. Context is vital in a subject like English and, again, from early in their studies, students are encouraged to recognise and appreciate the ways in which it contributes to the creation of meaning.

Acknowledging the positive contribution reading can have on a young person’s mental health and well-being, Year 9 students have participated annually in the judging of the Lancashire Book of the Year (LBOY) since 2016. Eager to raise the profile of reading for pleasure, and to facilitate additional extra-curricular opportunities in the Spring Term, Year 9 students will be shadowing the judging process for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, enabling Year 8 to do the same with LBOY.

There is no subject in the school curriculum quite like English. It is a subject where anyone, irrespective of gender, age, ethnicity or academic ability, can engage in discussion on a diverse range of topics. In their literary studies, students must learn to have conviction in their own interpretations and be able to express them in a coherent and logical manner. They must assimilate the writing styles and techniques of a range of different authors and genres in order to create a distinctive authorial voice of their own.

The overarching aim of the KS3 English Curriculum is to prepare students for the rigorous demands of AQA’s English Language (8700) and English Literature (8702) specifications, whilst simultaneously instilling within them an appreciation of their language and literary heritage. The taught skills echo those of GCSE in Year 7 and 8, before segueing into AQA’s assessment objectives in year 9. Whilst the core reading and writing skills are fundamentally the same, the curriculum content is staggered in degrees of difficulty. Year 7 students will study a novel featuring a strong female protagonist. In Year 8, a greater emphasis is given to literary context with the study of a novel set in a specific historical period. With each new topic or unit of work across the key stage, students are encouraged to reflect on its relation to their prior learning, with the long-term aim of enabling them to analyse an unseen literary fiction or non-fiction extract with precision and insight, and to consciously shape their writing to fulfil the criteria of a specific brief.

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GCSE Exam Board AQA English Language: Specification 8700

AQA English Literature: Specification 8702

English Language A-level

English Literature A-level

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