The English Department changes lives through learning. We strive to inspire a love of reading and a thirst for knowledge in our students, developing them as independent and enquiring learners, equipped to succeed in the world outside our academy.
During their time at the academy, students study a wide range of engaging texts and follow a programme of personal reading to help them develop into insightful and perceptive readers. There is an emphasis on reading fiction with every student studying at least one fiction text per term as part of their class work, as well as reading fiction during their independent reading time. During English lessons, students participate in a wide range of learning experiences, developing them as effective communicators and active learners.
All of our students progress to study English at GCSE and the majority also follow the GCSE Literature course. A large number of students choose to continue to study English subjects at ‘A’ level.
The department runs a variety of book and creative writing clubs, and work closely with the PEXA Department to organise theatre trips. Students in the department run the academy newspaper, and our Gifted and Talented students work as learning ambassadors, helping students in other year groups to achieve their full potential.
Head of English & Associate Principal: Mrs Deeks
Second in English & KS5 Coordinator: Miss Relph
KS4 Expert: Mrs McConnell
Literacy Coordinator: Mrs Ross
Schools Direct & ITT Lead: Miss Capstick
Academy G&T Coordinator: Miss Graham
Interventions& Enrichments Coordinator & Pupil Premium Link: Mrs Freestone
SPaG Champion: Miss MacLeod
Governor Link: Miss Savage
iPad Champion: Miss Stoddart
Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3, students develop their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills through a range of core units which cover many different types of text including poetry, drama, non-fiction and fiction. All students are enrolled on the Accelerated Reader scheme to help develop them as fluent and independent readers. Students have four English lessons a week.
English classes are set by ability and extra support is available for those who have weak literacy skills or need further help with reading. Gifted and Talented students are encouraged to involve themselves in the many enrichment activities offered by the department.
The English department runs a number of extra-curricular activities for Key Stage 3 students including visits to Wordsworth's Museum in Ambleside and various theatre trips. There are also several different Reading Clubs that the department runs over the course of the school year, including the Booked Up Club for students in Year 7, the Teenage Booktrust Shadowing Group for students in Years 8 and 9 and the Carnegie Children's Literature Award Shadowing Group which is open to all Key Stage 3 students.
Key Stage 4
English at Key Stage 4 offers all students a lively and varied course, which develops their language and analysis skills through speaking and listening, reading and writing. Students work towards one or two GCSEs – either English Language and English Literature, or English (a combined course which covers elements of both English language and English literature). All courses comprise of 40% controlled assessment and 60% external examination. KS4 students have five English lessons a week. They are also encouraged to attend after school revision and study sessions.
“I think it’s a genuinely interesting subject which brings together so many different skills that came in handy across all of my A-Levels. We have studied four topics over the two years so we have never been doing the same thing day in day out. But the best part of Sixth Form English at West Lakes Academy? The enthusiasm of our teachers, debating and discussing things with them… the lessons weren’t just about learning to pass an exam but understanding a topic because we wanted to know more.”
A student's view on Sixth Form English provision at WLA (Thomas, Year 13 student)
At KS5, the English department offers AS/A2 English Language and AS/A2 English Literature provided by AQA. Both of these are successful courses with a 100% A* - D grades in 2014.
Both courses attract a high number of students. We currently have around 90 students studying English Language and/or English Literature in our Sixth Form.
English Language at KS5 offers students the opportunity to study language use in context and allows students to develop their creative writing skills. Students also study how children acquire language and how language has developed over time.
English Literature at KS5 offers students the opportunity to study the dramatic genre of comedy and also to look at narratives in a selection of poetry and a number of novels. Students also study elements of pastoral literature during Year 13.
Many students have moved on to Degree level courses in English or other related areas and have used this course to launch their own careers.
Promoting and supporting “Reading for Pleasure”
The department runs several different Kindle reading clubs that shadow awards over the course of the school year, including the Roald Dahl Funny Award for students in Year 7, the Carnegie Children's Literature Award for Key Stage 3 students and the Man Booker for students in Key Stage 5.
Sixth form students are invited to apply to be reading ambassadors for students of year 7 and 8. Paired reading meetings take place once a week during tutor time where the Key Stage 3 students read to the Key Stage 5 students and discuss the book they are currently reading.
The department also runs the academy’s “Shelfie” in the Library. Each week, a member of staff displays their top ten favourite books and comments on why others should read them.
English Prefects and English Ambassadors
Some students in Year 10 are given the opportunity to become English Ambassadors. They lead our student voice and help support younger students with their English studies.
We also have Year 12 English Language and English Literature Prefects. In this role, students support younger students in their English lessons and promote English and a love for reading across the academy.
The English department arrange a number of extra-curricular activities for students including educational visits and visiting speakers. We work closely with Dove Cottage in Grasmere and the University of Cumbria to provide students with sessions that will extend their learning/knowledge and enrich them. We also host Film Club. This held after school once a week in the English area where students of all ages are invited to watch and discuss movies.
Relevant Links• BBC Bitesize - GCSE English
• SAM Learning
• Spell Anywhere
• BBC Skills Wise