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Girls’ School

English and Media Studies

As a department, we are passionate about enabling our students to access the great texts of the world. We fundamentally believe that every student has the right to enjoy, engage with, and critique the literature that continues to shape us, so that they can be a part of the great conversations. We are also keenly aware of our responsibility to ensure that our students appreciate the tremendous power of language, are equipped to scrutinise its use, and are able to use it with confidence. All of our schemes of work have been devised with this in mind. We believe that fostering a love of reading is central to achieving our aims; as such, all Key Stage 3 lessons begin with independent reading, and we work closely with the school librarian to champion reading.


Key Stage 3

Our Key Stage 3 curriculum has been designed to enable our students to understand, appreciate, and enjoy language in all its forms. In order to achieve this, we study a broad range of written and spoken texts, including novels, plays, poetry, short stories, speeches, and articles. Within the contexts of these works, we ensure that all students possess the requisite vocabulary and cultural knowledge to access the texts, and are able to understand how writers use rhetoric when crafting their language. Additionally, we teach students how to formulate cogent and convincing arguments when deconstructing texts. We also ensure that our students have plenty of opportunities to construct their own texts and perform them in front of their peers. In order to ensure that learning is fully embedded, our curriculum has been designed so that students constantly revisit key knowledge and ideas as they progress through the key stage.


Key Stage 4

At Newlands, we enter our pupils for the AQA GCSE English Language and AQA GCSE English Literature specifications, and we are convinced that, not only do we enable our pupils to attain outstanding results, we provide them with a genuinely fascinating, stimulating, and enriching curriculum. We teach a range of significant texts that leave an impression on our students, including: ‘Macbeth’, ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘An Inspector Calls’, and ‘The AQA Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology’. We integrate our Literature course with our Language course, ensuring that our pupils are adept at analysing and scrutinising unseen works of fiction and non-fiction from different periods in time. Furthermore, we embrace the opportunity that the Spoken Language Non-Exam Assessment affords us, by preparing our students to write and deliver powerful speeches on topics of their choosing.


Key Stage 5

We are proud to offer three diverse and important A-Level courses, which equip our students to navigate the modern world and enable them to pursue further education: English Language, English Literature, and Media Studies.


For English Language, we enter our students for the OCR A-Level English Language specification.  A Level English Language builds on students’ prior knowledge of the English language and allows students to approach English from a linguistic perspective.  The course includes three components: ‘Exploring Language’, ‘Dimensions of Linguistic Variation’, and ‘Independent Language Research’.  Students have the opportunity to critically engage with a range of authentic texts, study and apply theories and the key ideas of theorists to their understanding, and judiciously evaluate attitudes towards language and speakers in a variety of concepts.  As well as this, students explore language use in particular contexts across time and place.


For English Literature, we enter our pupils for the AQA A-Level English Literature A specification. The course entails the study of a broad range of texts, from various different forms, eras, and genres. In Year 12, we explore the presentation of love in all its guises throughout history, whilst in Year 13 we analyse the stirring and ground-breaking literature of the First World War. The pupils are also given the opportunity to compare two texts of their choosing for their Non-Examined Assessment.


For Media Studies, we enter our pupils for the EDUQAS A-Level Media Studies specification. The students study a range of media texts spanning films, television programmes, newspapers, magazines, print advertisements, audio-visual advertisements, music videos, radio programmes, and computer games from throughout the last century. In the contexts of these texts, the pupils explore how meaning is created, how texts are a product of their social, political, and historical contexts, and how to read texts via the critical lens of theorists. In addition to this, for their Non-Examined Assessment, students are charged with creating multiple media texts in response to a brief set by the exam board.