Our English Department at Dene Community School is dedicated to delivering a supportive, exciting and engaging curriculum, which provides opportunities for challenge, creativity and independent learning. Our aim is to inspire our students to become strong, motivated and resilient individuals. It is therefore important for them to feel a sense of community, which allows them to grow in confidence and feel proud of their achievements.

As a Department, we are fully committed to helping our students to progress both academically and personally. This commitment is based on our belief that every child deserves the opportunity to achieve his or her full potential.

Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3, students study a broad and diverse curriculum, which is based on the concept that students need to gain a wide contextual awareness of a range of different texts, whilst developing the skills required for Key Stage 4 and their future life.

Whilst studying at Key Stage 3, students develop vast knowledge of Literature across the ages and an embedded understanding of the contexts in which the texts were written and received. Whilst studying Literature from different time periods, students learn the conventions of different writing styles and apply them to their own writing. They are encouraged to be both independent and creative.

More specifically, students study a range of fiction and non-fiction texts from the Shakespearean era, the 19th Century, 20th Century and 21st Century. The texts studied are from a range of different genres and take many different forms, such as plays, novels and poems.

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4, students study the AQA specifications for both Language and Literature. There are two papers for English Literature: Paper 1 Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel and Paper 2 Modern Texts and Poetry.

For Paper 1, students are required to study a Shakespeare play and also a 19th Century novel. The texts that we study for this part of the GCSE are Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

For Paper 2, students are required to study a modern text from the 20th or 21st Century and a cluster of anthology poetry. The text that we study is An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestley. For the poetry section, students study a group of poems surrounding the themes of Power and Conflict. In preparation for Paper 2, students also develop the skills to analyse and compare unseen poetry.

For English Language, there are also two papers: Paper 1 Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing and Paper 2 Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives.

Paper 1 requires students to answer four reading questions on an unseen fiction extract from the 20th or 21st Century. They are also required to write a piece of creative writing: either narrative or descriptive.

Paper 2 requires students to answer four reading questions on two unseen extracts (one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text). One of these texts will be from the 19th Century and the other text will be from the 20th or 21st Century. An element of comparison is involved with this paper so students are prepared accordingly. Following the reading section, students are then required to construct a piece of writing in which they present their viewpoint on a given topic.

Drama and Performing Arts

In Year 7 and 8, students are introduced to basic skills in Drama. All students are encouraged to understand the way people think, feel and communicate and are also given the opportunity to apply Drama skills in their own performances in order to reflect this. Students are taught to analyse Drama productions in terms of effectiveness and they develop the skills to evaluate the performances of themselves and their peers. Finally, students will have the opportunity to create their own Drama performances using vital communication, team building and presenting skills.

The Drama offered at Key Stage 3 supports students with the transition to Performing Arts at Key Stage 4, which can help students take their first steps towards a career onstage or behind the scenes. More information on Performing Arts is available in the ‘Performing Arts’ section of the website.

Media Studies

At Key Stage 4, students may choose GCSE Media Studies as an option. This popular course is delivered through specialist teachers from within the English department and enjoys a high pass rate year on year.

The course currently consists of a single written exam based on a set media topic which changes each year. The current topic for study is TV serial drama. This component represents 40% of the final grade. The remaining 60% is awarded for 3 pieces of Controlled Assessment including analysis and production skills in areas such as film, advertising and magazine production.

From September 2017, the new GCSE in Media Studies will be launched. This will involve two written exam papers totalling 70% of the final grade and one piece of non-exam assessment based on the creation of a media product.