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English is vital for communicating with others in school and in the wider world, and is fundamental to learning in all curriculum subjects. In studying English, students develop skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing that they will need to participate in society and employment. Students learn to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate with others confidently and effectively. Literature in English is rich and influential. It reflects the experiences of people from many countries and times and contributes to our sense of cultural identity.

English at Braunton Academy is taught in six recently refurbished and well-resourced classrooms. Two classrooms are furnished with computers which are regularly used for research. We also maintain strong links with our Aspire library and teachers conduct regular library lessons, especially in KS3.   

It should be noted that English Language GCSE forms part of the English Baccalaureate.

Year 7

Students in Year 7 begin their journey by building on the knowledge, skills and understanding acquired at KS2. We are passionate about reading and start the year by launching our popular Accelerated Reader programme, in conjunction with the school library. Students quickly embrace the competitive element to the programme and those who already love to read can immerse themselves in the wide range of texts on offer. Year 7 is packed with engaging fiction, stimulating poetry and the progression to more challenging Shakespeare and non-fiction texts. We encourage creative responses and the application of knowledge through group work and presentations.

Year 8

In Year 8 students continue to progress and develop their confidence and independence in English. Many are competent and advanced readers by this stage and we aim to challenge our students by studying highly regarded authors such as Philip Pullman; students may study The Ruby in the Smoke or Northern Lights, for example. Each text studied is carefully chosen and learning activities are differentiated to suit the needs of students. Audio versions of the text or abridged graphic novels can be used in class to support students as required. In addition, students in Year 8 embed their ability to express opinions, explore the effects of language and consider the impact of the structure of texts on the reader.   

Year 9

Year 9 is both a culmination of KS3 and an introduction to KS4. By this stage students are able to tackle highly thought-provoking and seminal texts such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men. Teachers will encourage personal and perceptive responses from students through targeted questioning in the classroom, structured group discussions and exam style responses. Students in Year 9 will take part in a formal in-class debate and they will begin to study some of the poetry required for GCSE, making links and comparisons and deepening their knowledge of grammatical and poetic terminology. They will also study a full Shakespeare text in preparation for GCSE – something as tense as A Merchant of Venice or as humorous as Twelfth Night. By the end of this year students are more than ready and equipped to tackle the demands of GCSE English Language and Literature.

GCSE Courses

At KS4 all students study the AQA exam board for English Language and Literature, resulting in two GCSEs at the end of Y11, graded 9-1.

Both subjects consist of two exams each, as follows:

English Language Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing (1 hour and 45 minutes / 50% of GCSE)

What’s assessed?

Section A: Reading

*one literature fiction extract (pre or post 1900)

Section B: Writing

*descriptive or narrative writing

English Language Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives (1 hour and 45 minutes / 50% of GCSE)

What’s assessed?

Section A: Reading

*one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text (pre or post 1900)

Section B: Writing

*Writing to present a viewpoint.


English Literature Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel (1 hour and 45 minutes / 40% of GCSE)

What’s assessed?

*Shakespeare play (currently Macbeth)

*The 19th-century novel (currently either A Christmas Carol or Great Expectations depending on teaching group)

English Literature Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry (2 hours and 15 minutes / 60% of GCSE)

What’s assessed?

*Modern prose or drama texts (currently An Inspector Calls)

*The poetry anthology

*Unseen poetry


Homework / Independent Learning

Years 7-8 follow the Accelerated Reader programme. We encourage students to read for at least 20 minutes a day, five days a week and then quiz on each book they complete. Years 7-9 also follow CGP’s Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation programme and students will be issued with their own texts to study at home in preparation for fortnightly testing in class. Individual teachers set this work every two weeks.

Years 9-11 will be set homework by individual teachers in preparation for assessments and GCSE exams. This may include: reading set texts, revision note-making, exam practice and spoken language speech preparation. Year 10s will be given the opportunity to purchase revision guides at a reduced cost via the school’s ParentMail system and we strongly encourage this. We contact parents/carers at the appropriate time regarding this. 

Extra-curricular and Enrichment Opportunities

*Carnegie book award shadowing

*Readathon in Years 7 and 8

*BBC School Report

*North Devon Journal news writing day

*Competitions wall on the English corridor

*Annual Kindle draw for word-millionaires

*Enrichment and activity days


Useful Links

For students in Years 7-9 we recommend KS3English Bitesize

To enhance literacy, all students will benefit from using BBC Skillswise

The following websites are very useful for revision for both Y10 and 11 English:

BBC bitesize GCSE


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