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. We have a real drive to make learning fun and to make our students love learning about English.
All of our students progress to study both English Language and English Literature at GCSE. 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 More Able students work as learning ambassadors, helping students in other year groups to achieve their full potential.
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. Both Year 7 and Year 8 students are enrolled on the Accelerated Reader scheme to help develop them as fluent and independent readers. Year 7 and Year 8 students have four English lessons a week, and Year 9 have five.
English classes are set by ability and target. Extra support is available for those who have weak literacy skills or need further help with reading. Most Able 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 Book Trust 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.
Year 9: The Transition from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4
In English, pupils remain in Key Stage 3 for their time in Year 9. This means that they continue to be taught following a key stage 3 curriculum, developing their love for English. However, in order to prepare pupils for the transition to Key Stage 4, pupils are assessed using GCSE criteria. The criteria can be found via the links in the Key Stage 4 section below. As such, pupils receive numerical GCSE grades for assessments from 1-9.
Key Stage 4
English at Key Stage 4 offers all students a lively and varied course, which develops the skills they need to read, understand and analyse a wide range of different texts and write clearly. Students work towards two GCSEs – English Language and English Literature. All courses are 100% linear external examination.
KS4 students have five English lessons a week. They are also encouraged to attend after school revision and study sessions.
Each half term, at KS4, each student shall be provided with a homework booklet in order to practise and revise key skills and knowledge needed as part of their GCSE English courses. The booklet contains the equivalent of one task per week and a task will be set on Edulink by the class teacher every week.
Year 10 homework booklets
Year 11 homework booklets
How students are assessed at Key Stage 4
English Language: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse/english-language-8700
English Literature: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse/english-literature-8702
Key Stage 5
At KS5, the English department offers A2 English Language and A2 English Literature provided by AQA.
Both courses attract a high number of students and we like to offer students various enrichment opportunities to support their studies. We currently have around 80 students studying English Language and/or English Literature in our Sixth Form.
Promoting and Supporting “Reading for Pleasure”
Reading is at the heart of everything we do here at West Lakes Academy. The department applied for ‘Reading School’ status from Scholastic earlier this year and we are thrilled to announce that this was approved. This is testament to all of the work the whole academy does in promoting reading for pleasure.
All students at KS3 have a reading record bookmark. As an academy, we are encouraging pupils to fill in the ‘new vocabulary’ section on the back when reading, whether it be when reading during tutor time, in the library or reading textbooks in lessons.
The department runs several different 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.
Some Sixth Form students are reading ambassadors for students of year 7 and 8 and they listen to students read during library time. They also take part in paired reading with Year 7 students, encouraging them to develop their reading skills and strategies. We also have 20 reading ambassadors across years 8 and 9. These students visit local primary schools to listen to younger students read and to promote their love for 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. In their tutor groups, students also contribute to our “Student Shelfie”.
English Prefects and Ambassadors
Some students in Year 10 are given the opportunity to become English Prefects. They lead our student voice and help support younger students with their English studies. They have also created our own YouTube channel and upload videos to help students with their SPaG skills.
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 our students are given the opportunity to gain an Arts Award in conjunction with them. Lecturers from the University of Cumbria visit the academy to provide students with sessions that will extend their learning/knowledge and enrich them. We regularly schedule trips to the cinema or hold in school live screenings of plays and adaptations which link to texts we are studying as part of the curriculum.
We provide our students with the opportunity to take part in national competitions, such as Poetry by Heart, and we have had students’ work published in a collection of creative writing stories alongside other schools. As part of being a Reading School, we host the Scholastic Book Fair to promote a love of reading throughout the academy.