English, MFL & Communications
English at KS3
At Lancaster we have developed a KS3 curriculum in English that we feel prepares our students very well for the examinations they will face at the end of year 11, but which also means students will get to read plenty of literature.
The curriculum we have developed includes opportunities for students to read a range of modern and classic fiction, two sets of themed poetry and several plays. In addition, we have identified several half terms where students concentrate on reading non-fiction texts critically.
We have mapped out the curriculum so that students cover all of the essential skills they need in order to succeed at GCSE.
Students will be formally assessed in English each half term, they will carry out tasks that have been developed using the same wording or format as the tasks used at GCSE. In addition, students will be regularly given feedback on their written accuracy, to ensure that their spelling, punctuation and grammar improves.
Students will be set regular homework in English. This includes weekly spelling activities as well as tasks relating to the topic they are studying at the time.
English at KS4
GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature
At Lancaster, we aim for all students to study English Language and English Literature at GCSE.
We offer the AQA syllabuses for both English Language and English Literature.
In summary, in English Language, students will develop an ability to read critically and to respond to unseen literary extracts and non-fiction texts. They will learn to write for an audience and purpose and will develop their creative writing skills, too. In Literature, students will study one pre-twentieth century text, one modern text, a whole Shakespeare play, a collection of themed poetry. Students will also develop the ability to respond to poems that they have never seen before.
Typically the texts studied at Lancaster are:
An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley or AQA Short Story Anthology “Telling Tales”
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; Frankenstein by Mary Shelley or The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by R.L Stevenson.
Romeo and Juliet or Macbeth by William Shakespeare
A collection of poetry from the AQA poetry anthology
Step Up to English – Entry Level Certificate
If we feel that a student is ill-suited to studying English at GCSE level, we will offer them the chance to take an alternative qualification. Step Up to English is a course designed by AQA and offers an Entry Level qualification and helps students to develop basic literacy skills and to improve their confidence using the English language.
At Lancaster, Media Studies is offered as an option to study at GCSE.
We offer the AQA syllabus for Media Studies.
Media Studies offers students the chance to work with a wide range of texts from the world of music, videogames, newspapers and magazines, television and advertising. They learn key terminology which allows them to examine texts in a way they may not have approached them before. Students find the course engaging as it deals with material that they are often already familiar with whilst opening them up to new skills and possibilities through creative work.
Students should expect to study the following in detail:
Various forms of media including websites, music videos and advertising.
Modern Foreign Languages
The Modern Foreign Languages department is dynamic and forward-looking and successfully combines enthusiasm with experience in teaching our students. We believe in teaching the knowledge of how to learn a language combined with the linguistic and cultural aspects of the language itself.
In the course of our teaching we enable and encourage students to look beyond the British linguistic and cultural boundaries to experience the wider world.
In using the communicative approach, we:
- Differentiate teaching and learning for all students;
- Establish a solid foundation on which to build their further learning of the subject;
- Contextualise students’ learning by providing access to authentic resources and establishing contacts both nationally and internationally for the purposes of project work;
- Create an environment where students are challenged by the learning materials and content, become more independent in their learning, while being stimulated and rewarded.
French / German / Spanish at KS3
Over the two year KS3, students will access all three languages offered here and we have developed a programme of study that reflects the structure of the new GCSE.
We believe our KS3 curriculum will provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping students to study and work in other countries.
The curriculum has been mapped out so that students cover all of the essential skills they need in order to succeed at GCSE, including extended writing, spontaneous responses to images, translation and role plays.
Students will be formally assessed in accordance with the whole school assessment calendar. In addition, students will be given feedback regularly on the level of accuracy, complexity and variety in order to ensure that there are incremental improvements in their spelling, punctuation and grammar as well as broadening their range of their ability to express themselves in the target language.
Students are set a weekly homework in MFL. This could be vocabulary learning, grammar work completion or using online websites for particular practice and consolidation of their learning.
Topics covered within the KS3 Programme of study are:
Greetings & introductions to MFL
Build a town
Pets and descriptions
Natural Hazard & weather
There will be rotations for students over the two years between the languages so that when options time comes around that all students will have the choice to take any language further into KS4.
GCSE French / German / Spanish
‘It’s a small world!’ A phrase often used, and at Lancaster, we believe that studying languages is an important part of your child’s education as it helps them to aspire to grow in becoming more effective and independent communicators.
As KS4 now includes year 9 students, we have designed a programme of study for that first GCSE year to serve as a foundation on which to further build students’ skills. This will include exams skills practice, following the themes covered in the 2yr course, but with a focus on getting the grammar right, so our boys can become more creative and expressive as their learning continues.
We offer the AQA specification for GCSE French / German / Spanish.
Through studying a GCSE in a modern foreign language, students should develop their ability and ambition to communicate with native speakers in speech and writing. The study of a modern foreign language at GCSE should also broaden students’ horizons and encourage them to step beyond familiar cultural boundaries and develop new ways of seeing the world.
Students study all of the following themes on which the assessments are based:
- Identity and culture
- Local, national, international and global areas of interest
- Current and future study and employment
For a more detailed view of the course content and assessment please click here.
Trips, visits and residential opportunities within the Communications Faculty.
The English, MFL and Communications faculty has offered many opportunities to students to take part in curriculum related visits. For example:
Whole year group trips to the theatre for years 10 and 11 to watch “An Inspector Calls”
Theatre visits to Curve theatre to watch Shakespeare performances
Theatre visits for year 9 students to view performances related to the texts they are studying
Trips to Leicester City Football Club as part of Literacy intervention programmes.
Attendance at events in collaboration with other schools: the GCHQ talks for how languages are used in careers and enrichment events at Wyggeston Queen Elizabeth for A-Level tasters.
Residential trips to the Christmas Markets Germany and France for all students.
Run a successful writing group for interested students in conjunction with First Story. The group works with a professional poet to develop their writing and eventually produce a published poetry anthology.
This year, as part of our First Story project, we worked in collaboration with Babington Community College and Curve theatre.
English as an Additional Language
The aim of the EAL Department is to enable EAL students (those who have been exposed to 2 or more languages at home or are new to the UK) to access the national curriculum in all subjects by developing skills in English and helping students to become independent learners. We provide both academic and pastoral support to help students achieve this.
For EAL students who are new to the UK and those who move to Lancaster from other schools we have a support system which helps students to settle in as quickly as possible.
On arrival students have an assessment of their English and Maths skills so that we can see how best to support them. We try to place students in lessons according to their academic potential to ensure that they are challenged at an appropriate level.
We pair a new EAL with a buddy to look after them while they settle in. Ideally the buddy will speak the same language. The buddy will show the new student around the school and take care of them during breaks and lunchtimes.
Support is offered at a range of levels, and individual needs are taken into account. Depending on their level of English, students may receive weekly individual lessons to develop fluency in reading, writing and speaking, whereas more advanced EAL learners may be supported in mainstream lessons by our EAL teaching assistants.
Home languages of EAL students are valued, and where possible, students are encouraged to sit GCSE's in their mother tongue. The languages our students have taken so far include Polish, Russian, Arabic, Punjabi, Urdu, Gujarati, Chinese and Turkish.