What is ENGLISH?

English is the study of literature, mainly comprising novels, poetry and drama. Nonfiction and literary non-fiction texts are also studied, including autobiographies, newspaper articles, travel writing and reviews. This study includes analysis, debate and critical theorising of published works of literature, both classic and contemporary. Alongside this, English language study focuses on engaging creatively and analytically with texts, as well as the creative production of students’ own pieces of fiction and non-fiction writing.

Why do we teach ENGLISH at Sunnydown?

The study of English is considered a core subject. At Sunnydown, our curriculum is built around our purpose of fostering a love of literature, reading, writing and the spoken word. We want students to relish the opportunity to read widely and by doing so, explore a range of cultures, experiences and opinions that stem from a wide range of social, cultural and political ideas. Through this, pupils will develop their empathy skills, as well as be able to form their own opinions based on their knowledge and experience of the world. Not only this, but through regular discussion and listening, students will develop a respect for others, their opinions, similarities and differences. Exposure to different types of texts from a range of cultural perspectives and contexts, means our students will feel inspired to build their knowledge of the world they live in, developing their cultural capital and experience.

How do we teach ENGLISH at Sunnydown?

At KS3, students have three, one hour English lessons. In one of those lessons, 30 minutes is assigned to an independent reading session. The KS3 curriculum has been created to engage, enthuse and motivate by giving our young men access to high quality literature to inspire them.

We have consciously designed a dynamic curriculum, with texts chosen /replaced regularly to reflect world events. It has also been designed as a sprial curriculum in order to provide opportunities for over-learning, a pedagogical approach suited to our cohort: the intention being to achieve a sense of mastery throughout KS3, and further, to enable greater success at KS4. Techniques for transactional/descriptive/narrative writing are taught in a progressively more complex way in preparation for the English Language exam; Macbeth is taught in Y9 to aid memory when it is studied for GCSE English Literature in Y11; poems from the AQA Poetry Anthology are taught to students in KS3. Retrieval of previous learning is embedded into the schemes of work to ensure learning is moved to pupils’ long-term memory.

Alongside our English lessons, our KS3 students have a separate weekly Communications lesson based on a reading book collectively chosen by the class. Students are encouraged to develop their spoken language skills, to listen to each other and contribute to discussions.

In every lesson, we guide our students to develop their thinking skills with a DTC - a Deep Thinking Challenge. This is in addition to the learning outcomes of the lessons and provides an opportunity to stretch and challenge their understanding around a topic - it might be philosophically challenging, or linked to careers.

How does ENGLISH change at KS4?

At the end of Y9, students are placed into pathways - Pathway 1 study for AQA English Language GCSE and have three, one hour lessons a week and also continue with 30 minutes of independent reading; Pathway 2 study for both English LIterature GCSE and English Language GCSE and have four, one hour lessons. In both pathways, students are also prepared for AQA English Functional Skills Level 1 and Level 2.

Which exam board syllabus do we study at KS4?

At Sunnydown, students have the opportunity to sit public exams in English (Functional SKills and GCSE English Language (and GCSE English Literature if in Pathway 2). Details of the specifications for the AQA exam board can be found here:



Curriculum Plans