On entry, all students are baseline tested – for reading and writing - to identify strengths and weaknesses. Baseline results are then used to inform subsequent work. All students, at both Key Stages 3 and 4, follow a programme of study that offers them an opportunity to develop their English skills in such a way that when they return to mainstream schooling – or take the AQA English Language GCSE – they do so with increased competence and confidence.
At key Stage 3, students undertake a programme of study designed to cover all statutory requirements if followed for three years. This includes both imaginative and transactional writing, reading literature extracts and texts, and speaking and listening activities. Assessments – based on class work - are carried out each half-term.
At Key Stage 4, all students are entered for AQA GCSE English Language. The course covers reading and responding to a range of fiction and non-fiction texts from the 19th Century onwards, and writing for specific audiences and purposes, including imaginative writing. There is also a compulsory Spoken Language assessment that requires students to give a presentation and respond to follow-up questions.
In addition, all Key Stage 4 students are entered for Functional Skills English, either in Year 10 or Year 11, in the first instance at Level 1, and when this has been passed at Level 2. Functional Skills English promotes and tests the use of English skills in ‘real world’ situations, such as at work. There is also a compulsory Speaking and Listening component.
A small number of students are also entered for AQA English Literature. This involves the study of a range of literature texts, from Shakespeare to nineteenth century prose and modern drama and poetry. There are two examinations, testing students’ abilities to respond critically to the texts.