The world is built of words. Whether our students are Tweeting, emailing, reading Dickens or writing letters in high flying jobs, we want them to leave the English Department sensitive to the power of words. We want them to be readers; readers who experiment, who are not frightened of poems, or confused by newspapers. We want them to enjoy reading, but also be to technically skilled, and able to write essays which get to the heart of texts and explain their ideas clearly to examiners. We want them to be writers; powerful writers who can make their emotions leap off the page and manipulate their reader’s feelings with their words, writers who can express complicated ideas in professional, clear English, ready for the modern job market, and, most of all, students who can see the life-long power of being a good writer who enjoys experimenting with words. As part of this challenge, we have built a rigorous, challenging and supportive curriculum to help them take the next steps on their learning journey. We believe all students should take Language and Literature at GCSE and we want our younger years to build the foundations of success from the moment each child enters our doors in Year Seven.
In Year 7, English is delivered through the L4L curriculum where pupils develop skills in reading, writing and oracy as part of their thematic study.
The English curriculum is designed to immerse pupils in a four-year programme of study, each year building on the knowledge and skills learnt and developed during the previous. In Year 8, pupils study the following units:
- Autumn: ‘Dickens’ World’ – An introduction to Victorian literature
- Spring: ‘Stereotypes and Archetypes’ – A study of gender in Shakespeare’s theatre
- Summer: ‘The World at War’ – An exploration of conflict poetry and the representation of conflict in the media
In Year 9, pupils continue to develop their knowledge of both language and literature, focussing on furthering their understanding of key concepts, texts, vocabulary and communication. Units of study are:
- Autumn: ‘The Modern World’ – An exploration of how issues affecting modern society are portrayed in literature.
- Spring: ‘Gothic, Horror and The Macabre’ – A study of gothic literature.
- Summer: ‘Power and Rhetoric’ – Using Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ and a selection of ‘power’ poetry as their core texts, pupils explore how political discourse is used as stimulus for writers and poets.
All pupils are entered for both English Language and English Literature GCSE. During KS4 they will study an interleaved curriculum with a focus on the core texts during Year 10, and the development of exam skills during Year 11. Our core texts are:
- Shakespeare: ‘Macbeth’
- 19th Century Novel: ‘The Sign of Four’
- Modern Text: ‘An Inspector Calls’
- Poetry Anthology: ‘Power and Conflict’
Mr T Pell
Mr Pell studied firstly at Staffordshire University and later Newman University after swapping journalism for education. As a former Thorns student, he is passionate about teaching students from the local area, and has led the English Department since September 2021.