At Ormiston Victory Academy, we want our students to see the connections between the stories we tell each other – so whether it’s a play by William Shakespeare or a short story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, we will explore the big questions about what it means to be human, and the many ways writers explore and present those ideas. The development of technical skills is no less important – students must be able to master the full range of language skills in reading, writing and speaking & listening. We therefore use the study of literary texts to grow students’ technical skills in these three areas of literacy, within a challenging and supportive classroom environment with high expectations for all.
In order to provide a solid foundation of core knowledge and key skills that students need to excel, we organise our curriculum around eight core topics which we return to every year at increasing levels of challenge from Year 7 through to Year 9. We choose high-quality texts which will challenge and engage, and we aim to provide our students with the opportunity to engage with a diverse variety of writer’s experiences and viewpoints. The eight core topics are:
19th century texts
The GCSE syllabus students go on to study in Years 10 & 11 relies on the core subject knowledge and key skills taught over the preceding three years, and therefore a sturdy foundation of understanding and knowledge at KS3 is the key to success at GCSE. Students who follow the Functional Skills course alongside the GCSE Language / Literature examination are provided with a differentiated curriculum which supports their literacy whilst remaining committed to using high-quality literature as a stimulus for writing, and to engage with the big ideas that form the basis of all story telling.
Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3 we follow the National Curriculum for English.
In Year 7, students begin their study of English with a bridging unit to consolidate what they learnt at KS2 and to develop the new skills and knowledge necessary to be able to access English at KS3. The Bridging Unit is focused around the theme of islands. Towards the end of this term we build on their emerging KS3 reading skills, through an introduction to the gothic genre.
After the October half term, we study a whole-class novel: Animal Farm or Underground to Canada. We practise the skills of comprehension, inference and analysis and introduce the importance of reading a whole text in the light of its historical and social context. We introduce essay writing skills, through exploring how the writer presents a character across the text.
In the Spring term, students are introduced to a range of poetry from the 20th and 21st century. We cluster the poems thematically and analyse the poets’ use of language and structure to create meaning. Essay writing skills are consolidated from the Autumn term.
After the February half term we move on to analyse non-fiction texts and to produce non-fiction or “transactional” writing, with a focus on the GCSE format of letters and magazine articles. The unit is developed around the theme of justice.
In the Summer term, students study the play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare. We focus on the importance of understanding the text in the light of the social context, and we explore how this is reflected through the presentation of female characters in the play. Essay writing skills are further developed and refined.
After the May half term, students develop their narrative writing skills through a story writing unit.
In Year 8, students return to the study of the modern novel through a whole-class text: either Lord of the Flies or Freak the Mighty. We consolidate and refine our analytical essay writing skills, moving from the exploration of character to how the writer presents a given theme.
After the October half term in Year 8, students study their second play by Shakespeare: “Romeo and Juliet”. The play is studied in the light of its social context and the final essay requires students to combine a discussion of context with an analysis of language, exploring how masculinity is presented in the play.
In the Spring term, students consolidate and develop their analytical skills through the study of non-fiction, and develop comparative skills by comparing writers’ attitudes and perspectives across different texts. They develop their transactional writing skills from Year 7, with a focus on the GCSE formats of leaflets and speeches. This unit focuses on the theme of the environment.
After the February half term, students study a range of poetry from the 19th and 20th centuries around the theme of war. Students compare the presentation of war in different poems, analysing the effects of language and structure through a discussion of the writers’ intentions. Comparative skills are developed through the essay format.
In the summer term, students study the 19th century novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. We focus on the importance of understanding the author’s intentions in the light of the play’s social and historical context. The skills and knowledge learnt at KS3 enable students to approach this 19th century text with confidence and they bring together their skills to write about the author’s intentions and writer’s methods in a final essay.
Years 7 & 8
A discreet weekly lesson (or fortnightly double lesson) developing creative writing skills, is delivered throughout the Spring and Summer terms in Years 7 and 8.
Throughout KS3, students are encouraged to read for pleasure and are rewarded for their independent reading through the Accelerated Reader programme.
Throughout Year 7 and Year 8, students are explicitly taught the skills as well as core knowledge required to succeed at KS3 and prepare for KS4. They are expected to revise for weekly and end-of-unit core knowledge quizzes by using the relevant half-termly Knowledge Organiser for the unit being studied.
At KS3 we use mastery statements to assess our students.
Key Stage 4
Year 9 forms a bridging year between KS3 and KS4.
Mastery statements are used in our assessment of students, and we start the year studying a modern novel (Boys Don’t Cry) followed by the study of contextual factors in Victorian Literature.
After Christmas, we move on to an initial reading of the set text Macbeth by William Shakespeare before proceeding to six of the fifteen ‘Power & Conflict’ anthology poems set for the AQA Literature GCSE. Throughout Year 9, students also have a weekly Language lesson in which they practise the skills required for the GCSE Language exam.
Year 10 & 11
In Years 10 and 11 students study towards two GCSEs: English Language and English Literature.
By the end of Year 10 students have studied their set texts for Literature, and Year 11 is used to revise and consolidate / extend understanding. The examination board is AQA.
English Language GCSE
An English Language GCSE equips students with essential communication skills, preparing them for continued education, training and future employment. This qualification allows students to develop skills in analysing language and writing skills for imaginative and practical tasks, as well as speaking and listening skills. As a linear GCSE, the course is assessed through 100% final examinations in Year 11.
Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing (50%): Response to unseen extract from a twentieth or twenty-first century novel or short story. Write your own short story or description. Exam: 1 hour 45 mins
Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives (50%): Response to two unseen nineteenth / twentieth century non-fiction texts e.g. leaflet & article. Write your own transactional text e.g. letter or article. Exam: 1 hour 45 mins
English Literature GCSE
An English Literature GCSE allows students to explore our vast literary heritage, studying a range of texts, including drama, poetry, prose and texts from other cultures. The main skills learnt are analytical reading skills. We aim to develop students with enquiring minds, who can apply their skills to literary texts and to the world around them. As a linear GCSE the course is assessed through 100% final examinations in Year 11. The exams are ‘closed book’ (i.e. no texts are allowed in the examination).
Paper 1: Shakespeare & the 19th-century novel (50%): Response to a question on an extract as well as the rest of the Shakespeare set text. Response to a question on an extract as well as the rest of the 19th Century set text. Exam: 1 hour 45 mins
At OVA we study the play Macbeth and the novella Jekyll & Hyde.
Paper 2: Modern Texts and Poetry (50%) : Response to an essay question on the set twentieth century prose or drama text. Essay question comparing two poems from the anthology. Response to an unseen poem. Exam: 2 hours 15 mins
At OVA we study the modern text DNA and the Power & Conflict cluster of poems from the AQA anthology.
Key Stage 5
A Level English Literature
Exam Board Edexcel
A Level English Literature includes the study of drama, poetry and prose, including texts from 1800 to the modern-day. Through this course students develop the skills to think critically and analytically about literature and the world around them. Although the focus for formal assessments will always be on analysis of literature students are still given opportunities in lesson time to develop a range of wider skills including debating, presenting and creative writing. Students are actively encouraged to pursue their own literary interests and read widely throughout the course.
All exams are open book.
Current course outline:
Paper 1 Drama 30%
Section A) Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Section B) A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Paper 2: Prose 20%
One comparative essay on the following texts:
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (Current Year 13 are studying Beloved by Toni Morrison instead)
Paper 3: Poetry 30%
Section A) 21st Century poetry.
Comparison of one studied poem from the anthology Poems of the Decade with an unseen poem.
Section B) Study of a named poet or movement: John Keats
Non-examined assessment: Comparative Essay 20%
Students are given the opportunity and freedom to explore their own literary interests through the study of one core text and then a free choice of a second text to compare it to.
For more information, please see the A Level Literature Student Handbook.
|Miss Maxwell-Hunt||Mr Connell||Miss Hannant||Mr Todd||Miss Catchpole|
|Director of English||Deputy Director of English||Deputy Director of English||Deputy Director of English and HPA Leader||Teacher of English|
|Mr Cole||Miss Eadie||Mr Gleed||Miss Read||Ms Reader|
|Assistant Principal for Key Stage 3 and Teacher of English||Literacy Coordinator and Teacher of English||Teacher of English||Teacher of English||Teacher of English|