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The English Department
Head of Department: Mrs E Baxter-Smallwood
The English department consists of ten specialist teachers, all of whom have a passion for bringing English to life for the learners at Longdendale. The department has a shared vision of creating an engaging curriculum which ensures all learners achieve to the best of their ability in English.
Learners in all year groups are working towards sitting both English Language and English Literature GCSEs with the Edexcel exam board. To this end, all learners begin studying both subjects from the beginning of Year 7.
The curriculum is designed as a continuum; learners begin practising and developing the skills required for their GCSEs in Year 7 and return to these skill areas throughout each year of study at Longdendale. In this way, they are able to revise and refine their skills with more complex texts, extracts and tasks as they move through the curriculum.
There is a strong focus on using English to promote complex discussion, understanding and analysis through exploring thought-provoking issues such as Crime and Punishment, the Holocaust and Cultural Identity. Learning is built around exploring complex answers to 'Big Questions' to ensure learners are constantly relating their learning in English to the world around them.
In English, learners are assessed each half term with assessments mirroring exam conditions. Assessments for Years 7, 8 and 9 focus on the skills that learners have been practising throughout the topic of work and are assessed using 'I can' statements to indicate their progress. In Years 10 and 11, assessments are based on the GCSE exam papers, mark schemes and grade boundaries to ensure learners have a full understanding of the final examinations they are working towards, and that teachers have a thorough understanding of their learners’ attainment and progress.
Learners will be expected to complete a minimum of one home learning activity per week for English.
Miss Lambert-Thompson will be running a Creative Writing Club for Year 7 learners, promoting a love of story writing, poetry, script writing and other media. There will be a focus on working towards both internal and external competitions so that our learners remain driven and motivated with their creative writing.
Miss Wither is leading a modern take on the school newspaper with Year 9 learners, who will be reporting on school events, report on news and other issues affecting our learners. There will be a focus on both the writing and reporting of article, but also on using media and technology to bring these articles to life.
After school revision sessions are offered to Year 11 learners each week on a Thursday after school. Learners should speak to their class teachers for more information on what will be covered each week, but attendance is highly recommended.
Learners are offered various enrichment opportunities in English. Annually, we run a trip to London, where learners get the opportunity to see a West End theatre production, a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theatre and a Shakespeare theatre workshop. As well as this, learners experience other London attractions, such as the London Eye, a Thames river cruise and exploring Covent Garden.
Wherever possible, we try to offer as many enrichment opportunities as possible. Historically, this has included giving learners the opportunity to visit the world of Shakespeare, in a Stratford-Upon-Avon trip. Learners visit Shakespeare's house; take part in a practical workshop with the RSC, and then watch a Shakespeare production at the theatre. We ensure that all learners are offered at least one theatre trip to promote the reading and watching of literature for pleasure. In addition to this, learners are given various opportunities to attend more local theatre productions including, where possible, as many of the set GCSE texts as are available.
We aim to promote and celebrate literary events across the school, including inviting poets in to perform for National Poetry Day, celebrating literary events such as Banned Books Week or World Book Day as well as commemorating national events such as Black History Month, Holocaust Memorial Day and International Women's Day.