English

Course ID
A Level (English Language, English Literature) and IGCSE (English Language, English Literature)

Introduction to the English Department

Are you interested in why certain people speak like they do? Have you ever noticed how men and women  speak differently? Do you know what makes a good  communicator? Are you sure you know your nouns from  your verbs and if you hate being told what to think, enjoy winning arguments and reading then the work of this Department is for you.

English complements all other subjects. Its analytical nature means it would also suit students
who are more scientifically minded and are interested in the fundamentals of language that we use everyday.

The English Department is located in the Merridale Building at  Wolverhampton Grammar School. The department also utilises the Hutton  Theatre and the Jenyns and Sixth Form Libraries.

The department believes in challenge by deliberately choosing specifications that offer our students the maximum scope to cover as wide a range of material as possible. This enables students to study modern texts in tandem with the classics.

The following full time staff support the teaching of English across the school:

  • Mark Benfield (Head of English)
  • Jonathan Hall
  • Mark Payne
  • Rhiannon Platt

English and Theatre Studies are also taught by:

  • Ian Tyler (Director of Drama)
  • Jonathan Wood
  • Steve Clancy
  • Robert Mason

The department encourages all students to gain belief in the power of words and literature, imagination and creativity, that a keen mind and a strong grasp of language is empowering. Students are developed to appreciate the importance of academic rigour and a belief in the question, why?

The department provides the skills and opportunity for students to:

  • Learn to read perceptively and with acuity.
  • Learn to write fluently, accurately, succinctly and with purpose.
  • Learn to speak confidently, fluently, and with purpose.
  • Learn to listen thoughtfully, attentively and critically.
  • Learn to understand the centrality of text – in word or image, literary and non-literary.
  • Learn to understand the ways in which text works

As students progress through the curriculum they are introduced to a wide range of traditional and modern literature, poetry, and drama. They learn research techniques, analysis of the written and spoken language, and in sixth form language teaching includes such topics as child language acquisition and the language of power, gender and identity.

Literature covers a wide range of novels, poetry and drama as well as coursework. We aim to ensure that new texts and authors are part of the curriculum as well as the traditional canon.

Students also undertake several theatre trips and visits as well as academic lectures. The department also supports the production of plays throughout the school, including a main school play and a Middle School/Junior production each year.

Introduction to the Course

English Language is the study of how to communicate in everyday life through speaking, reading and writing. This course does not include the study of any literature: this is reserved for the separate IGCSE English Literature course. There is a strong element of coursework involving extensive research. The dominant idea in the qualification is how to interpret and understand implied, below the surface meanings.

What the student will learn

  • How to read and understand texts, selecting and utilising material appropriate to purpose, collating from different sources and making comparisons and cross-references as appropriate.
  • How to develop and sustain interpretations of writers’ ideas and perspectives and to explain and evaluate how writers use linguistic, grammatical, structural and presentational features to achieve effects and engage and influence the reader.
  • To speak and communicate clearly and purposefully; structure and sustain talk, adapting it to different situations and audiences; use standard English and a variety of techniques as appropriate as well as listen and respond to speakers’ ideas, perspectives and how they construct and express their meanings.
  • To interact with others, shaping meanings through suggestions, comments and questions and drawing ideas together.

How the student will be assessed

Assessment

Paper 1

Literary Non-Fiction

Time

2 hours

About

  • One prose passage to study closely and a series of questions to answer.
  • A choice of three writing tasks.
  • 50 marks.
  • 50% of total marks.
Coursework 
  • A filmed extended presentation followed by a Q&A session.
  • A project where you will research around a chosen topic.
  • 94 marks.
  • 50% of total marks.

Introduction to the Course

The course involves the study of the three main literary genres, prose (novels), poetry and drama. The study of a Shakespeare play will be part of the course. The nature of study looks at issues such as character, theme, form and structure, as well as some investigation of the context in which literary texts were written. For instance, what were the historical and social influences at play in society that may have influenced an author in his or her writing?

What will the student learn?

  • How to respond to texts critically and imaginatively, select and evaluate relevant textual detail to illustrate and support interpretations.
  • How language, structure and form contribute to writers’ presentation of ideas, themes and settings.
  • How to make comparisons and explain links between texts, evaluating writers’ different ways of expressing meaning and achieving effects.
  • How to relate texts to their social, cultural and historical contexts, explain how texts have been influential and significant to self and other readers in different contexts and at different times.

How the student will be assessed

Assessment 

Paper 1

Time

1 hour and 30 minutes

 

About

  • 75 marks.
  • 60% of total marks.
  • Unseen poetry (30%).
  • Set text (30%).

Coursework

 

 
  • 50 marks.
  • 40% of total marks.
  • One extended essay that compares two thematically linked texts.

The English Department offers two distinct A levels, English Literature and English Language. Historically, when people have said they are doing ‘English’ at A level, it is almost certain that what they meant was English Literature. English Language is now an option also. You may not study both A levels to A2 – because universities would regard them as being too similar (even though the overlap between them is quite small).

English Language

A Level English Language is an ideal option for those who already have a passion and interest in English but would also be an interesting and valuable area of study if you are more science focussed. It is an extremely well regarded qualification at leading universities across the world. The
subject offers flexibility in terms of what you decide to study for coursework options in particular, enabling you to focus on your strengths and topics which particularly interest you.

This subject would complement any other at A Level (with the exception of English Literature). Its analytical nature means it would also suit students who are more scientifically minded and are interested in the nuts and bolts of the language we use everyday. In that sense it is quite a technical A level. This is the study of English at its most modern and cutting edge.

To view the syllabus, visit: www.ocr.org.uk

Assessment

  • Exploring language (01) 80 marks, 2 hours 30 minutes written paper. 40% of total A level.
  • Dimensions of linguistic variation (02) 80 marks, 2 hours 30 minutes written paper. 40% of total A level.
  • Independent language research (03) 40 marks, non-examined assessment. 20% of total A level.

The English Department offers two distinct A levels, English Literature and English Language. Historically, when people have said they are doing ‘English’ at A level, it is almost certain that what they meant was English Literature. English Language is now an option also. You may not study both A levels to A2 – because universities would regard them as being too similar (even though the overlap between them is quite small).

English Literature

If you hate being told what to think, enjoy winning arguments and reading, then this is the A Level subject for you.

English Literature is not only for those who already enjoy and want to deepen their reading; it is also for those who want to delve into deeper knowledge and thinking. English Literature allows you to explore learning about narrative, structure and extended metaphor – but you will also explore subjects as diverse as love, death, ambition, hatred, fear, sex, childhood, politics and iconography – in fact, all of human life is here!

At GCSE you often read texts in isolation, at A Level, you will be encouraged to make connections between texts that were written many years apart and see how those texts are representing the era in which they were written. You will explore how various writers (and artists) have further developed core ideas and the onus is very much on you to engage and foster new critical perspectives – perfect preparation for university and your career ahead.

After two years with Wolverhampton Grammar Sixth Form, you will be able to read with forensic attention to detail, and be able to explore the psychological and emotional subtleties of texts. You will be able to write well and think sharply: probably the most important skills any employer will want. Small classes at School will allow for intense discussion and argument. From the very start, you will be expected to take part in challenging perceived wisdom, you will be challenged about your views and your teacher will expect you to challenge theirs too.

Assessment

Drama and poetry pre-1900 (01)

  1. Written paper 60 marks
  2. Closed text 2 hours 30 minutes
  3. 40% of total A level

Comparative and contextual study (02)

  1. Written paper 60 marks
  2. Closed text 2 hours 30 minutes
  3. 40% of total A level

Literature post-1900 (03)

  1. 40 marks
  2. Non examined assessment
  3. 20% of total A level

Course Downloads:

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