The Ferrers School Aspire, Achieve, Acclaim


    Curriculum Leader: Mrs C McLauchlan

    We aim to provide our students with the accuracy, knowledge and enthusiasm that allow them to engage fully with their language and culture.   We hope that students view the subject as not only one that provides them with the necessary skills to have a successful working life, but also one that allows them to appreciate ideas, opinions and some of the greatest literature published on earth!

    English study is the basis of all communication and effective learning in school, in wider society and internationally.  Literature in English is varied and influential, presenting the ideas, concerns and beliefs of people from a range of eras, backgrounds and cultures.  By studying English, students develop skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing.  English enables students to express themselves effectively and to develop skills of analysis and of empathy.

    It is crucial to gain GCSEs in English as they are essential qualifications for the future.  The skills acquired form the foundations of further and higher education in all subjects as well as employment and lifelong learning.  All students study English and will gain two valuable GCSEs.

    “English helps me to communicate effectively in a range of situations.”  Chris, Year 11

    Key terms

    English Language:  Development of literacy and communication skills across all modes: reading, writing and speaking & listening.

     English Literature: Students study a variety of texts across time and culture in order to develop understanding of meaning.  Students consider how writers are influenced by social, political and moral contexts and explore how this affects interpretation.

    Controlled assessment: Ultimately, students will be assessed in formal examinations.  To help them cope with the demands of exams, each unit of work will involve an assessment that is completed in controlled conditions.


    Curriculum map

    Comprehensive information about the English curriculum is available here.


    English at Key Stage 3 covers three elements: reading, writing, and speaking and listening.  Throughout the Key Stage, students will study poetry, pre-1914 literature, contemporary novels, non-fiction and drama texts.  They will also be taught spelling, punctuation and grammar skills.  Students are assessed on a range of reading and writing tasks, as well as on speaking and listening.

    Year 7

    Students complete a transition unit based on autobiographical and imaginative writing.  A selection of non-fiction,  contemporary poetry and literary heritage poetry is studied.  Examples of fiction texts may include "Cirque du Freak", "The Book of Dead Days" or "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas".

    Drama texts could include "Scary Play", "Collision Course", as well as Shakespeare.  Students will also develop their media studies skills by analysing a film.

    One lesson a week is spent developing spelling and grammar skills as well as introducing the students to the Learning Resource Centre.

    Year 8

    Year 8 builds upon the foundations laid in Year 7.  We develop the students’ poetry skills by studying a selection of poetry from other cultures - a unit of work that has filtered down from GCSE.   Further analysis of non-fiction continues during this year.  Examples of fiction texts may include "Holes", "Animal Farm" and "Great Expectations".   Drama texts could include "Coram Boy" and "The Roses of Eyam", as well as Shakespeare.

    Year 9

    In Year 9 we consolidate the skills taught in Years 7 and 8 and fine tune more of the skills required at GCSE. Students study poetry from past GCSE Literature papers.  Short stories are studied so that students can develop their own imaginative writing skills.  Non-fiction study continues, as this is a feature of the GCSE exam, and we hope that students are effective readers and writers of a variety of text types.

    Examples of fiction texts may include "The Hunger Games", "Of Mice and Men" or "To Kill a Mockingbird".  Students study a Shakespeare play alongside poetry as these form an important component of the GCSE Literature course.

    At the end of three years we hope that students have developed a confident understanding of the English skills necessary to help them achieve their potential at GCSE.

     Subject Champion 2016-17: Sam Nason

    "English Literature and Language encourages independent learning and teaches how to identify motivation, interpretation and meaning across a wide spectrum of texts.  The work is extremely interesting and the creative pursuits of language balance out the more critical theory and analysis of literature.  Not only this, open debate is encouraged, which helps us further our knowledge and learn to communicate clearly with a like-minded class."



    Year 10

    All Year 10 students will be taking both English Language and English Literature.  The examination is now untiered and students are able to gain Grade 1 through to Grade 9 in the same paper.   Our current exam board is EDUQAS.  One big change from legacy examinations is the removal of all weighted classroom based assessment; there now being no coursework or controlled assessments.  Below are the components and their various weightings.

    English Language

    Component 1: 20th Century Literature Reading and Creative Prose Writing (40% of the qualification)

    Component 2: 19th and 21st Century Non-Fiction Reading and Transactional/Persuasive Writing (60% of qualification)

    Component 3: Spoken Language (unweighted)

    English Literature

    GCSE in English Literature provides an accurate assessment of student abilities and will help students develop the skills, knowledge and understanding they will need for further study and to take a general pleasure in reading.

    Component 1: Shakespeare and Poetry (40% of the qualification)

    Component 2: Post-1914 Prose/Drama, 19th Century Prose and Unseen Poetry (60% of qualification)

    Year 11

    All Year 11 students follow WJEC specifications in GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature and are examined at foundation or higher tier. Students entered at foundation tier can achieve grades B-G and students entered at higher tier are aiming at grades A*-D.

    All student currently study GCSE English Literature. This course requires students to produce one piece of Controlled Assessment exploring a Shakespeare play and a text from the English Literary Heritage, worth 25%. Students will also prepare for two examinations in English Literature. Unit 1 requires students to analyse a novel from another culture and unseen poetry. Unit 2 is based on the study of a modern novel and a literary play. Examinations are worth 35% and 40% respectively.

    Our Year 11 students will study for GCSE English Language which will require students to submit three Controlled Assessment tasks worth 40% of their final grade. Tasks cover creative writing and extended reading. In addition, they will complete a variety of Speaking and Listening activities including presenting, role playing and discussing. The written examinations for English Language will be taken at the end of the course in the summer of Year 11. Unit 1 assesses reading skills in literary, media and non-fiction texts worth 30%, and Unit 2 assesses writing skills similarly worth 30%.

    Subject Champion 2016-17: Rosie North

     “English is an all-round subject that universities and employers look for.  I chose English Literature as you learn to construct a valid argument and how to interpret ambiguous ideas.  Although it is an academic subject, there are still creative aspects: for example debating other ideas in class, discussing critical points of a text and comparing poems.  All these things are what makes the learning more enjoyable.”




    Students at The Ferrers School have the opportunity to study either A Level English Literature or the combined Language and Literature course.  Both of these qualifications are taught across the consortium, so students may study for their A Level English course in their ‘home’ base at The Ferrers or may select an option block where they could study at Huxlow or Rushden. The schools work together to ensure that all students experience the same high quality teaching and assessment, regardless of where their English class is based.

    We expect students to have achieved at least B grade in English Language and Literature GCSE in order to access the materials studied at A Level. The course demands that students are effective independent workers have an analytical mind and are keen readers of challenging texts!

    English Literature (OCR exam board)

    AS Level

    There are two examined components and no non-examined assessment at AS Level. The first examined component focuses on Shakespeare and poetry pre-1900 and the second component explores literature post-1900, both drama and prose, enabling candidates to explore individual works of literature, relationships between texts and significant cultural and contextual influences.

     A Level

    There are two examined components and one non-exam assessment component. The two exams are equally weighted and offer opportunities for candidates to provide extended exploratory responses.

    The first exam component, ‘Drama and poetry pre-1900’, offers candidates the opportunity to engage in close reading and pay attention to Shakespeare’s use of language.  In section 1, candidates will answer a two-part question: the first part will focus on an extract from their chosen Shakespeare play (enabling us to elicit close textual analysis despite this being a closed text exam) and the second part will be an essay question which will assess their wider knowledge of the play as a whole.  In the second section of this exam, we ask candidates to apply a combination of one drama text and one poetry text to a set of non-text-specific but literary questions.

    The second exam component, ‘Comparative and contextual study’, will consist of a close reading (unseen) exercise and a comparative essay.  The paper will be split into different topic areas.  Chosen topics include: American Literature 1880–1940, The Gothic, Dystopia, Women in Literature and The Immigrant Experience. Students will have free choice of texts (from a list of core set texts and suggested set texts) from within their chosen topic area, which gives a greater degree of flexibility.  For the first part of this exam, students will approach an unseen prose extract from within their chosen topic area.  The inclusion of this ‘supported unseen’ helps promote wider reading throughout the course because the more familiar a candidate is with literature from within their topic area, the more confident they will be about approaching the unseen text in the examination. The second part of the exam will offer students a choice of three questions of which they must answer one question on the set texts they have studied in their chosen topic area.

    The non-exam assessment component requires candidates to study three texts from across the genres of poetry, drama and prose.  Task one offers a choice between a critical piece or a recreative piece with a commentary and task two is a ‘linked texts’ essay focusing on connections between two texts.

    English Language and Literature  (OCR exam board)

    AS Level

    There are two examined components.

    The first component focuses on the OCR/EMC anthology of non-fiction spoken and written texts.  Students compare two extracts from the anthology in the exam. This enables co-teachability with the A Level.  Students then write a piece of original non-fiction from a choice of three tasks.

    This is good preparation for those students who go on to produce non-fiction non-examined assessment component in the full A Level.

    The second component focuses on the same prose fiction texts and poetry texts as for A Level.  In the AS exam, students respond to a question about an extract from their prose text, focusing on how the story is told.  They then compare two poems from their collection, focusing on linguistic and literary techniques.

    A Level

    There are three examined components and one non-exam assessment component.

    The first component focuses on non-fiction spoken and written texts from an OCR/EMC anthology.  Students will compare an anthology text with a short unseen text which is clearly linked by, for example, theme, purpose or mode.

    The second component explores poetry and drama.  There are six poetry texts and six drama texts to choose from, and students study one of each.  The questions encourage a linguistic and literary approach to analysing texts, which is clearly exemplified in all of our supporting materials.

    The third component involves the study of narrative fiction, from a choice of six prose texts.  Students explore narrative methods and techniques in their chosen text, and then apply their knowledge and understanding in the production of their own opening to a narrative.  A supportive structure, giving the ‘bare bones’ of an outline story for students to work with, is provided in the exam.

    Non-exam assessment (Component 04) comprises two tasks – an analytical essay comparing a non-fiction text with a free choice text from any genre and the production of a non-fiction original writing piece.


    The English Faculty runs a number of clubs during the year, such as the Reading Group.  Students are invited to submit pieces for “Ferrers News” – our regular school newsletter to parents (now available via the school website).  We also run a number of local and national competitions – for poetry, short stories and journalism.  

    Each year, we support Readathon – a sponsored reading event which raises money for The Roald Dahl Foundation (for young people with blood disorders and brain injuries) and CLIC Sargent (for children with cancer.)

    Students are offered opportunities for theatre trips or poetry events wherever possible. Revision sessions are offered during the lead up to exams.



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