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At The Fernwood School we are passionate about reading. Our school library is a hub of activity before school, during break and lunch time, as well as after school. It is also the home of our much beloved shadowing group for The Brilliant Book Award, and Year 8 are also invited to shadow The Carnegie Award – these clubs are well attended and the pupils enjoy having their thoughts about new literature heard and appreciated. We feel that reading is the key to success for all students for all ages; our students are supported to develop their reading confidence through regular library and reading lessons throughout KS3. We also work alongside literacy specialists to plan and embed helpful strategies into our reading work in class – all children are encouraged and nurtured in their reading journey.
At KS3 we follow a broad curriculum, in line with the National Curriculum, that is designed to prepare students well for GCSE. Across Years 7, 8 and 9 we study literature texts (including Shakespeare, poetry and a modern play script) and develop key writing and communication skills. In year 7 and 8, students have 5 classroom-based lessons and one library and reading lesson per fortnight. In year 9, lesson time increases to 4 hours per week – 3 of curriculum time and 1 dedicated to either reading or literacy. Students follow a ‘bookopoly’ reading challenge which encourages them to read a range of literary genres. Core reading and writing skills are assessed termly, the results of which are used to support pupils’ development and progress in English. Students will typically be asked to complete 1 homework task per week which may be involve learning key vocabulary, spellings and/or a writing task, in addition to the expected 1 hour reading per week.
At KS4 the pupils study for either 2 separate English Language and English Literature GCSE qualifications or a single English Language GCSE, following the AQA specifications (links to each of these courses can be found below). These courses provide students with varied and interesting programmes of study that not only provide students with interesting lessons, but also encourage a love for Literature and reading. Pupils completing the Literature qualification will study the three main literary forms: prose, poetry and drama (plays). Pupils study a collection of 15 modern and classic poems from the Power and Conflict cluster, Macbeth, An Inspector Calls, OR Lord of the Flies, A Christmas Carol OR Jekyll and Hyde. Pupils have either 4 or 5 lessons a week depending on the whole school pathway they are following. Closer to the exam period, there are also extra-curricular revision sessions provided for students, covering all areas of the exams, to ensure that they are fully prepared and as confident as possible. Students are expected to complete 1 substantial homework task per week, to further consolidate their learning.
Pupils are encouraged to purchase the exam texts through school via ParentPay to ensure they have good quality editions of the texts.
The English faculty recommend the following revision resources for English Language and Literature:
BBC Bitesize website
Spark Notes online
Mr Bruff videos
CGP guide (print guide)
York Notes (print guide)