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Girls’ School

English and Media Studies

As a department, we are passionate about enabling our pupils 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 has shaped us; to be a part of the great conversation. We are also keenly aware of our responsibility to ensure that our pupils 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.

Key Stage 3

In order for pupils to really comprehend and appreciate literature, it is vital that they understand the frames of reference texts draw upon. It is for this reason that we are committed to ensuring that our students possess the requisite cultural knowledge to access these texts. Take Shakespeare, for instance; the Bard’s work is suffused with myriad references to religion, mythology, and history, and he possessed unparalleled understanding of rhetoric. In light of this, we have prepared a curriculum that enables pupils to understand and engage with a broad range of important topics; our modules include: ‘Biblical Allusions’, ‘Myths and Legends’, ‘Shakespeare’, ‘The Romantics’, ‘The Gothic’, ‘World War One Literature’, and ‘Speeches from Across Time’ to name but a few.

Key Stage 4

At Newlands, we have really embraced the changes to the GCSE English framework. 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 broad range of significant texts that leave an impression on our students, including: ‘Macbeth’, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Frankenstein’, ‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘Lord of the Flies’, 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 pupils for the OCR A-Level English Language specification.  A Level English Language builds on students’ prior knowledge of the English language and allows pupils 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 a range of theories and 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-Exam 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, economic, 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.