NRC Secondary – English

Key Stage 3

About the Course

The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

What will students learn?

  • Read easily, fluently and with good understanding.
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.
  • Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
  • Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.
  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
  • Use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas.
  • Are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

How will students be assessed?

Upon entry, students are given a baseline reading and writing assessment as well as tested for their reading age. Throughout the year, students are assessed formatively using the NRC marking policy, and given clear targets for progression. At the end of each half term, students are given a Red, Amber or Green for meeting the assessment objectives of that unit. Finally, students are given summative grades based on evidence based progress in reading and writing. Students should expect to engage in several types of assessment from: informal speaking and listening, timed exams and longer pieces of writing that is edited and re-drafted.

Key Stage 4

 About the Course

New River College KS4 Pathways

In Year 10, students engage in GCSE level study with a focus on learning the reading and writing skills needed to be successful. Most students are given the opportunity to sit a Functional Skills Level 1 exam at the end of Year 10, to cement their basic literacy skills and give them invaluable exam experience.

In Year 11 there are three main strands of study. Most students will be studying the AQA GCSE English Language specification, where topics are taught in progressively greater depth over the course of key stage 3 and key stage 4. However, some students may need a greater focus on their literacy and basic reading skills, so we offer Functional Skills Level 2 for a smaller cohort; this qualification is equivalent to half a GCSE. In addition, due to some students completing GCSE English Language in Year 10, these pupils can study for the AQA GCSE Literature qualification. For students with significant special needs around literacy we can also offer Entry Level qualifications such as the ‘Step up’ Gold and Silver awards from AQA.

All qualifications should ensure students can read fluently and write effectively. They should be able to demonstrate a confident control of Standard English and they should be able to write grammatically correct sentences, deploy figurative language and analyse texts. Qualifications are strongly linked to Post-16 pathways and we aim to ensure that the learning needs of all students are met, and that all students have the opportunity to gain qualifications.

Further information about these courses can be found at the following websites:

AQA GCSE English Language

AQA English Literature

AQA Functional Skills

AQA Step Up

What will students learn?

  • Read a wide range of texts, fluently and with good understanding.
  • Read critically, and use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing.
  • Write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately.
  • Use grammar correctly, punctuate and spell accurately.
  • Acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology1, and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
  • In addition, GCSE specifications in English language must enable students to: Listen to and understand spoken language, and use spoken Standard English effectively.

 How will students be assessed?

The GCSE English Language qualification is assessed by two end of year exams, and a short formal presentation for speaking and listening. The GCSE English Literature GCSE is assessed by two ‘closed book’ end of year exams (students are not allowed to bring texts into the exam). Functional Skills Level 1 and Level 2 are assessed through two written exams in reading and writing, and several speaking and listening coursework tasks. Level 1 focuses on discussion; Level 2: discussion and a formal presentation. Step up Entry Level qualifications can be sat in ‘chunks’ and students have opportunities to re-sit modules. We ensure that all students have the correct access arrangements.