Department vision

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be” – William Shakespeare

Our curriculum has been constructed to ensure that your child develops a love of the subject, but also to ensure that they are equipped with the skills to succeed in life. Through investing in them as individuals with limitless potential, autonomy and choices, we endeavour to instil this within the students’ mindsets as well as their family’s. Our classrooms will be a safe space in which students will respect themselves, their teachers and the ideas of those around them. Through our high expectations of our students, we will ensure that Bower Park English students leave Year 11 with not only the capability to fly, but to soar.

What will my son/daughter learn at Key Stage 3?

We start Year 7 with creative writing, a topic with which students are normally familiar from primary school, and which enables us to determine their strengths and any areas that they need to develop. We challenge students to use their imagination to zoom into different images, describing them in depth. Students will then return to creative writing in year 8 with Gothic writing, and Year 9 with dystopian writing; exposure to an array of genres prepares them for this part of the GCSE exam, but also allows them to explore a range of texts and develop a love of reading. Throughout Key Stage 3, students will be encouraged to think critically, debate confidently and read independently, to ensure they are equipped to succeed at KS4 and in their future careers.

For students to succeed in English, we expect them to be reading at home. Our school library has reopened for this academic year, and students are now able to select a book, with the help of our librarian, that is suitable for their reading age, but which also challenges them. In Years 7-9, we have also introduced reading lessons, where classes will read a book which links to their curriculum, but which also widens their knowledge about important issues, such as identity, conflict around the world and different cultures.  You can help support this focus on reading by encouraging your child to read for twenty minutes a day. Research shows that this short amount of time spent on reading daily can have a huge impact on progress and improving reading ages.

Which GCSE specification do we prepare students for?

English Language and English Literature follow the AQA specification.  There are two English Language exams (Paper One: Fiction Extracts and Creative Writing. Paper Two: Non-fiction extracts and Persuasive Writing). There are two English Literature Exams (Paper One: Macbeth and A Christmas Carol. Paper Two: An Inspector Calls and Poetry).

What will my son/daughter learn at Key Stage 4?

In Year 10, students will study a Shakespeare play, a Dickens novella, a modern tragedy and an anthology of poems. At the end of year 10, the literature course is completed and the focus shifts to English language. However, we do not abandon literature, as during every lesson, students will be revising quotations and context, and retrieving key knowledge they have learnt. In their first lesson of year 11, every class is shown how to create cue cards and how to effectively quiz themselves, so that all students feel they can revise independently at home.

In the language exam, students will be given a visual stimulus and encouraged to use the power of their imagination to bring the image to life through their descriptive writing. We will teach students how to vary sentence length, use ambitious vocabulary and ensure that they are writing music – not just words (a phrase we have introduced in our classrooms this year). Creative writing can be intimidating for some, so we will provide ample opportunities for students to write in a safe space, to remove the threat and fear that they often experience. English is the foundation of all careers and, therefore, the skills and knowledge that we are teaching is invaluable to students’ futures. Students will not only have an understanding of a Shakespearean tragedy and how to analyse a poem, but they will also leave Bower Park Academy with the ability to write a letter of application for a job/course, deliver a presentation in front of an audience and engage in debate to share their opinions.

Are there any websites that will support my son’s/daughter’s learning?

Head of Department: Mrs R. Kellaway