English is delivered by a team of two teachers and two LSAs. Nearly all students study English Language to GCSE level at Sands – the course follows the National Curriculum, covering all aspects of reading, writing and speaking and listening.
In the younger groups we support students in developing literacy skills alongside their enjoyment of reading and writing.
Students begin their GCSE course as soon as they enter O3, the first year of our KS4. The focus at this point is exclusively on English Language – English Literature being taught as a separate subject in O1. The reason for this is that when colleges or employers have a minimum requirement for English GCSE, it is the skills of English Language that they are looking for.
English is considered to be one of the ‘core’ subjects and the expectation is that every student will attain an English GCSE at some level. It is also true, however, that some students find the abstract nature of the subject very difficult, and it is for this reason that we separate out the two strands of the course. By focusing only on the English Language aspect in O3 and O2 every student is able to access an English Language GCSE while those who are most interested and able are then able to deepen their knowledge and understanding by choosing to study English Literature in O1.
There are, of course, students who need more support and who want to take longer developing their English Language skills. These students can stretch their learning over 3 years, studying for the final exam in O1. The advantage of this is that they will have much smaller group sizes (usually only 2-3 students), and the course can be tailored precisely to their individual requirements on a lesson-by-lesson basis.
You can read more about Martin’s approach to teaching English GCSEs here.