Curriculum Leader: Mrs R Baroni

The book to read is not the one that thinks for you, but the one which makes you think – Harper Lee

Reading is at the heart of students’ experience of English at Fulford School. As a department, we strive to foster our students’ appreciation of literature and to develop their personal tastes in reading. The curriculum we offer is broad and enriching, designed to develop an appreciation for and enjoyment of the power of language.

The English Department is ambitious, high achieving and creative, staffed by thirteen experienced teachers. It is our aim to promote learning in a lively and engaging way that combines fun with academic rigor. We are well resourced, with eleven classrooms and two drama studios and we work closely with the well-stocked Resource Centre to offer students access to up-to-date reading texts.

The delivery of the curriculum is closely linked with drama and offers students the opportunity to develop their performance and presentation skills. To further develop students’ passion for English, the department offers a range of extra-curricular activities and students are encouraged to take part in competitions, both local and national. We also work closely with the Universities of York and York St John to provide enrichment opportunities.

The creation by word-power of something out of nothing – what is that but magic? And, may I add, what is that but literature? – Aldous Huxley

At Key Stage 3, students are taught English in six one-hour lessons a fortnight in Year 7, and five one-hour lessons a fortnight in Year 8. In studying English at Key Stage 3, our students successfully make the transition from Primary to Secondary-level study, building on the foundations from Key Stage 2. Our curriculum is designed to enable students to progress in their mastery of reading, writing and speaking and we continue to value spelling, punctuation and grammar knowledge as key skills in English.

Each scheme of work includes a range of different and challenging literature texts in each year of study in order to encourage students to become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama as well as non-fiction and media texts. Through this exciting breadth of texts, students gain access to the world of knowledge that reading offers, consequently becoming informed critical and sensitive thinkers. We are always interested in what students think and regularly ask them to evaluate the schemes as well as the studied texts.

  Year 7 Year 8
Autumn term Me, myself and I: auto- and biographical forms of writing Gothic writing: including reading of key works such as ‘The Raven’ and ‘Frankenstein’
Outsiders in Literature: including texts such as ‘Refugee Boy’, ‘Silas Marner’. Poetry over time: including poetry by Blake, Keats and Shakespeare.
Spring term Protest and Persuasion: persuasive and polemic speech making Shakespeare and Stagecraft: ‘A Merchant of Venice’
Powerful Poetry: including poetry by Hughes, Motion, Zephaniah, Dahl. Travel writing: creative approaches to writing in the travel genre
Summer term Making Meaning: moving image and film analysis Crime Fiction: ‘A study in Scarlet’
The Canterbury Tales: drama/speaking and listening skills Laughter: presentations on humour and how it can be created through language

Year 9

In Year 9, the curriculum has been carefully designed to create a transition into Key Stage 4 study, culminating in an end-of-year GCSE-style examination. Our schemes of work in Year 9 require students to analyse a range of both fiction and non-fiction texts, therefore providing a sound basis for GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. Pupils enjoy analysing a range of more challenging literature as well as a range of non-fiction texts. We continue to emphasise the creative aspects of English, as students develop their writing skills and are offered opportunities to write for a range of different purposes. To enrich their learning, students benefit from a visit from a professional theatre company, to give a performance of a Shakespeare play and take part in a trip to Yorkshire Sculpture Park, as a stimulus for their creative writing.

Year 9 schemes of work:

  • Introduction to the modern novel: ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell
  • Introduction to creative writing
  • Introduction to Shakespeare: ‘Romeo and Juliet’
  • Introduction to social and political writing
  • Introduction to literary non-fiction
  • Introduction to the poetry of power and conflict

At Key Stage 4, students are entered for GCSEs in English Language and English Literature GCSE.

We follow the AQA Specification (links below). Final assessment of these GCSEs will take place at the end of Year 11, in the form of four separate examinations. In preparation for these examinations, students study a range of texts, including modern novels and plays such as ‘An Inspector Calls’ and ‘Sign of the Four’, Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and a range of poetry from the Power and Conflict cluster of the AQA Anthology. Students are also expected to develop their speaking and listening abilities, including a formal assessment of their presentation skills.

Over the course of the two years, students will be assessed regularly and their progress tracked. Formal mock examinations take place at the end of Year 10 and in the autumn term of Year 11. In order to extend students’ learning, we offer a range of extra-curricular activities including theatre trips and visits from professional theatre companies. In the spring term of Year 11, students are provided with an extensive revision programme in preparation for their final exams, which take place at the end of Year 11.

AQA GCSE English Language specification from June 2017

AQA GCSE English Literature specification from June 2017

We also offer the ‘Step Up to English’ Entry Level qualification to support students where necessary.

The popularity of the English department can be seen with large numbers of Sixth Form students opting to study English Language and English Literature. Through varied and creative teaching methods, within a supportive academic environment, students are encouraged to become independent, evaluative learners, studying English to the highest levels.

Academic study is complemented by a number of extra-curricular enrichment opportunities, which aim to broaden and develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the subject in different contexts. Recent opportunities have included London theatre visits and Shakespeare workshops; an English Language workshop to prepare students for their coursework assignments and visits to York University Library. We regularly welcome visiting speakers to provide enrichment for our students.

The following A Levels are offered:

  • English Literature (AQA Specification B)
  • English Language (AQA Specification B)

Man reading should be a man intensely alive. The book should be as ball of light in one’s hand – Ezra Pound.