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English Learning Team

Welcome to the English Department at York High School!

Subject Leader: Miss H. Crossley

The English Department at York High School is a creative and ambitious department that strives for the best outcomes for all students, regardless of their starting point. We are a committed and experienced team who pride ourselves on the high expectations and aspirations we have for both our students and our school. Our priority is ‘teaching first’ and, as such, our aim is to combine academic challenge and high quality teaching with fun, engaging activities in order to foster students’ love of English whilst preparing them well for the demands of life beyond school.

We recognise that English is at the heart of the academic progress of all our students and, as such, we are committed to delivering skills-based lessons which aim to ensure that our students become successful readers and writers and articulate speakers in all aspects of their lives. Building students’ self-belief and developing their resilience is an important factor in helping our students to acquire these skills and we aim to do this through the delivery of lessons that encourage independent thinking and learning and by rewarding students’ successes and achievements at every level.

The department is staffed by 10 experienced and passionate subject specialists. We are well resourced with seven classrooms each equipped with an interactive smart board. We also have access to IT facilities elsewhere in the school.  We are committed to expanding our students’ cultural capital by exposing them to a range of high quality literature and, to that end, we have a broad range of texts that we use in delivering the curriculum. We also work closely with the school’s well-stocked Learning Resource Centre to develop students’ reading habits and to promote reading for pleasure.

To further develop students’ enthusiasm for English, we also aim to provide our students with memorable experiences which extend and enhance the school curriculum. The department offers a range of extra-curricular activities, such as film festivals and poetry readings. We also encourage our students to take part in competitions at school, local and national level. Some of the competitions our students have entered in recent years include a public debate at the York Civic Trust for Year 8 students and a ‘Young Writers’ Competition for Year 9 students.

Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3 is a crucial time for students as it forms the foundation of learning for GCSE and beyond. Our curriculum at Key Stage 3 has been designed to give students a breadth of study and the opportunity to practise and refine the skills needed at Key Stage 4. Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 study both Language and Literature in English lessons and, through the study of a range of novels, plays, poems and non-fiction, develop their reading, writing and spoken language skills. Students have between 7 and 8 lessons of English per fortnight and are allocated time in the Learning Resource Centre on a weekly or fortnightly basis, depending on the year group.

Students are assessed informally throughout the term to monitor their learning with a formal assessment, usually at the end of each half term, to assess their progress.

Key Stage 4

Key Stage 4 is an extremely important time in our students’ lives and, as such, we have designed a curriculum that puts students’ achievement and future aspirations at the forefront of our teaching. For the large majority of our students, Key Stage 4 will provide them with an opportunity to acquire two qualifications; GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. As such, most students will follow a timetable where these courses are taught as two discrete subjects. For students who require a different pathway, we offer an additional entry level qualification called ‘Step Up to English’. Students have either 8 or 9 English lessons per fortnight, depending on their pathway.

Tracking our students’ progress throughout the two years is integral to our curriculum and therefore students sit regular GCSE-style assessments, usually at the end of each half term, to assess and monitor their progress. Formal mock examinations are timetabled at key points in Year 11.