Ralph Thoresby School

Ambition and Achievement for All

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English is the subject that enables learning across all subjects. Literacy skills are essential for all learning and for life beyond school. We develop reading and writing skills by teaching a wide range of fascinating fiction and non-fiction texts that are engaging, thought provoking and very challenging. We have said goodbye to so-called ‘kid-lit’. Our pupils enjoy the intellectual challenge of studying Orwell, Kafka, Miller and many more. Alongside those texts, pupils complete a range of original writing tasks for a variety of audiences and purposes. What makes our curriculum different is our selection of texts to develop pupils’ knowledge of the important issues that our society faces. Our Key Stage 3 schemes of work are all based on a key theme that is explored in great depth through the texts we read. These themes have been carefully chosen to give our pupils a true understanding of the world around them. This prepares our pupils for GCSE study but we also hope that understanding crucial issues such as political systems, gender, culture and conflict will make our pupils rounded human beings who understand the world around them and are prepared to enter that world as responsible, sensitive and thoughtful young adults.

Extracurricular Activities

The English department provides:

  • We also provide Creative Writing Club after school. This provides pupils with the opportunity to read a range of exciting texts beyond the prescribed curriculum and write creatively. The club enables pupils to read and write purely for the fun of it and to take control over the activities they would like to participate in.
  • On Mondays, we run Lexia catch-up club for pupils who need support with their reading skills. On Fridays, we run reading for pleasure club.

Assessment Summary

English Assessment Summary

At Key Stage 3, we give our pupils a percentage score for each assessment they complete (one per term). Between assessments, we also provide progress ratings on a five-point scale (Exceptional/Good/Variable/Low/None) based on classwork.

Key Stage 3 Assessment Skills Criteria – We consider pupils’ ability to use the following skills:
Reading assessments:
Make a valid point / identify a perspective on a given theme.
Identify and embed quotations that are useful for analysis.
Identify writers’ choices and methods.
Identify the effects those methods have on the reader.
Link your ideas to the context of the text.
Use the above skills to compare texts.

Writing assessments:
Punctuate accurately.
Use paragraphs to structure your work.
Use varied vocabulary and spell accurately.
Plan and present relevant ideas.
Develop your ideas with imagination and detail.
Proof read your work to avoid careless errors.

At Key Stage 4, we assess every aspect of the AQA English Language and English literature specifications. We use the exam board’s mark schemes to accurately assess and moderate pupils’ work. We have three experienced AQA examination markers on our team. The mark schemes that we use can be found below.
At Key Stage 5, we assess every aspect of the AQA English Literature A specification. We use the exam board’s mark schemes to accurately assess and moderate pupils’ work. Example mark schemes can be found using the links below.

Y9 Bridging Year

Years 7 and 8 provide pupils with the contextual knowledge and comprehension skills to access increasingly challenging texts.

Year 9 is the year in which we develop that at an even higher level. The contextual knowledge is developed through ever more challenging themes, which are more closely linked to those studied at GCSE. The texts studied are more numerous and even more challenging. They are not our chosen GCSE texts but, from a literary perspective, they are equally challenging. The themes and structures studied are intended to prepare for GCSE. For example, the tragic downfall of Julius Caesar will prepare pupils for that of Macbeth (our chosen GCSE text). The duality presented in Jekyll and Hyde is similar in ways to the duality of the character of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (our chosen GCSE text). Furthermore, we are pushing pupils to consider alternative interpretations. Some may argue that Scrooge is essentially two characters (good and evil) in the same body, like Jekyll and Hyde. Others may argue that Scrooge undergoes a forced transformation, much like that of Gregor in The Metamorphosis, which our pupils study in Year 9. Our aim is to have pupils fully consider the themes and messages of the literature they study and transfer that thinking to their GCSE texts when they reach Year 10.

We believe in interleaving and revising the curriculum to foster independence. In year 9, pupils study English Language and English Literature concurrently and the skills transferred across the two subjects. English Language and English Literature are studied simultaneously in each term, in order to continually develop their skills in both subjects. This means that both subjects continue to enjoy equal attention and are always current in pupils’ minds.

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