English at Gordonstoun is lively, creative and rooted in the real world. Students studying with us will not only develop the core communication, comprehension and empathetic skills so essential to life, but also develop a real concern for their world and a lasting love of literature.
The Year 9 English course outline allows students to experience many different areas of the curriculum in English and is a solid grounding on which to build further studies at GCSE. Regular assessment points ensure that students progress throughout this programme of study.
Over the course of the year, students explore a range of texts, travel writing and a range of poetry drawn from diverse cultures and distinct eras from plays to poetry. In addition, students examine fiction more closely through a novel study and work to develop the skills necessary to tackle literature at GCSE level. Along the way, each student is introduced to some of the basics of media in preparation for GCSE courses and options.
ENGLISH LITERATURE AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE (EDEXCEL)
At GCSE level, our priorities in the English department are to ensure that students develop enquiring minds, hone their skills in being able to criticise and discuss a range of different texts, and to expose students to a diverse and engaging range of narratives.
All students follow a common scheme of work for the first term in Year 10, before decisions are made as to which pathway is most suitable for them. There are a number of different routes which can be taken at GCSE level and students are offered a course which is specifically tailored to them. Most students complete two GCSEs in English Language and Literature; for others, combining GCSE English Language with GCSE Media Studies may be more appropriate. The final path is a single GSCE in English Language. Both Language and Literature options offer a rigorous programme of reading and writing; in addition, spoken language skills will continue to be practised.
Both Language and Literature courses are assessed through terminal exams at the end of Year 11. GCSE English Language students will sit two external exams testing a variety of skills including the analysis and comparison of non-fiction texts, analysis of unseen prose literature, and creative and transactional writing skills.
Those students who opt for GCSE English Literature will similarly be assessed through two additional external examinations. Over the two year course, students study a range of different literary texts from different genres and eras: a Shakespearean play, a nineteenth century novel, a twentieth century novel or play and an anthology of poetry. Students are examined on their understanding and analysis of the writers’ craft across all three genres: poetry, drama and prose.
Some students may opt to complement their GCSE English Language study by pursuing GCSE Media Studies. This combination allows students the opportunity to further develop both media literacy and written and spoken communication skills in a field which fully complements the English Language course. In addition, students will explore media theory across a range of platforms, putting this into practice by completing three Controlled Assessments worth 60% of the total marks available. Students will also sit an exam at the end of the two year course worth 40% of this GCSE.
The English Language course takes students into the world of linguistic analysis. Students study both written and spoken texts and consider how and why we communicate as we do.
Students intending to join this course should have an active interest in spoken and written language. It is necessary to have a GCSE qualification in English, and students need to be prepared to study concepts and frameworks for the study of language. Speaking and writing skills will also be developed further.
The course is examined by two external examinations and one coursework unit.
Students will engage in the linguistic analysis of real-world texts, and produce original writing on topical language issues which we face today as modern speakers of English. (40%, external exam). They will also analyse how children acquire language, examine the use of language in the media and consider how language changes and develops over time (40%, external exam).
Students will also have the opportunity to conduct a language investigation into an area of their own choice (20%, coursework).
The English Literature course is designed to develop students’ critical perception and powers of analysis through the exploration of a range of classic and modern texts. Students intending to join this course should enjoy reading and should have had some success in studying literature at GCSE (grade 6-9) or at National 5 level.
Successful students will be expected to read more widely than the set books prescribed for the specification.
Over the two year course, students will analyse and compare a range of post-2000 poetry, before broadening their experience by considering Chaucer’s medieval Canterbury Tales (30%, external exam). Students will also engage in a thematic study of prose texts, including one novel from the 18th or 19th century (20%, external exam). Drama is also an integral part of the course, as students will study two plays, including a Shakespearean comedy or tragedy (30%, external exam).
A-Level students are expected to produce an independently researched piece of coursework, amounting to 20% of the total qualification.
For information about texts studied please refer to the department website at http://gstounenglish.wordpress.com/