Vision and philosophy

English at The Colne celebrates language as a form of art and its importance in the way that we make sense of the world around us. Through studying the very best of literature and exploring the way that it has been shaped by the context in which it was written, students learn to appreciate the power of the written word and how they can utilise this power to express themselves, their lives and the world around them. At The Colne, we are guided by the belief that ‘Reading is breathing in and writing is breathing out’. An understanding of this philosophy underpins every aspect of our curriculum. Students will explore the motivations and intentions of a range of authors whilst looking at how they can manipulate language to communicate their own perspectives and voices.

Year 7

Chronological journey through literature

We begin the year exploring the origins of storytelling and how they were used by ancient civilisations to empathise with and understand the world. Students will look at archetypal characters through the study of classical stories and ancient myths before moving on to exploring the genres of tragedy and comedy in Romeo and Juliet. We then move to the rebellious poetry of the Romantic era before immersing students in the Victorian period through the study of Oliver Twist, using both units to explore the role of literature as a social commentary. We end the year by exploring a selection of Sherlock Holmes stories as an introduction to the detective genre and the ways that literature can be used to entertain. Throughout the year, students are encouraged to engage with a range of linked reading to explore these ideas further and deepen their knowledge.

Year 8

Literature through a lens

Building on the work of year 7, this year will focus on how language is used by a wide variety of writers to express attitudes and ideas; beginning with a focus on the history of rhetoric from Aristotle to the modern day. Students will write and deliver their own rhetoric, communicating their viewpoint and perspective on a topic that is important to them. We then move to our second Shakespeare study (The Tempest) exploring the theme of power through the ideas of racism, slavery and colonialism, looking closely at how the play has been affected by its historical context. An exploration of Gothic literature encourages students to examine how writers presented their fears of the unknown and how interest in this genre has stood the test of time. We then move to Animal Farm and finish with a range of War Poetry with a strong focus on analysing writer’s intentions; examining the close links between literature and politics. Throughout the year, students are encouraged to engage with a range of linked reading to explore these ideas further and deepen their knowledge.

Year 9

Literature through a critical lens

As we transition from key stage 3 to GCSE, we will begin to look at literature in a more critical way. Students will spend year 9 studying a range of texts (fiction and nonfiction) linked to the theme of gender and power starting with an exploration of the feminist lens. They then look at a range of poetry addressing various issues of identity and examine how writers express their attitudes and opinions through this medium. These ideas are then further explored through the study of fiction (a selection of short stories from a diverse range of authors) and drama of the modern period. This knowledge of class and gender is then applied in the study of the first GCSE Literature text – An Inspector Calls. Students are also introduced to GCSE English Language Paper 1 - Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing. Throughout the year, students are encouraged to engage with a range of linked reading to explore these ideas further and deepen their knowledge.

Year 10

GCSE study

Drawing on all of the knowledge from key stage 3, the year 10 curriculum develops students’ understanding of power and conflict in a range of British Literature. Starting with Dickens’ A Christmas Carol alongside GCSE English Language Paper 2 - Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives, students explore the power of the written word as a tool of expression and a vehicle for change. This is continued with the study of the AQA Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology and Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Students will also practice the skills needed for both GCSE English Language papers through a range of fiction and nonfiction materials from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The spoken language element of the English language GCSE will be completed during year 10. Throughout the year, students are encouraged to engage with a range of linked reading to explore these ideas further and deepen their knowledge.

Year 11

GCSE Study

Students will study a wide range of unseen poetry before revisiting all of the GCSE Literature texts in order to extend and deepen their understanding of the ideas, issues and concepts explored within them. Techniques to help memorise key quotations are developed alongside the analytic and comparative writing skills needed for the exams in both the language and literature exams. Students will also practise how to write for a variety of forms and purposes including academic essays, descriptive works of fiction and personal rhetoric. Students are still encouraged to read widely to ‘breathe in’ good quality writing.