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The Beaconsfield School A specialist Arts College

Challenge in English

Stretch and Challenge in English

In the English Department, we aim to support your son or daughter into making the best progress of which they are capable. We use many strategies, covering the twin aspects of the subject – Reading and Writing – and the two GCSEs, Language and Literature. You can expect your son or daughter to be experiencing many, if not all, of the following ways of providing ‘stretch and challenge’ from Year 7 to Year 11.

Stretch and Challenge is delivered via:

  • Using GCSE criteria for assessments from Year 7 onwards. There is one tier of entry for the GCSEs in Language and Literature: therefore all students need the skill set to access the exams, and our more able students need to be able to confidently aspire to the highest grades of 7, 8 and 9 (equivalent to an old style A and A*).
  • Students will complete assessments using GCSE criteria in both Language and Literature from the start of year 7 to prepare them for the challenges of the  exam.
  • Encouraging all students to read Victorian texts (whole and parts), for pleasure and of necessity as Victorian Literature (for example Dickens and Stevenson) feature on the GCSE Literature syllabus. Reviews written and/or presented to class of said texts.
  • Success criteria for lessons refer to SOLO taxonomy, asking students to not only identify and explain ideas but  also  to evaluate and  develop skills of critical judgement and hypothesis.
  • Developing students’ empathic and imaginative skills through creative writing, and learning to shape that writing to create maximum engagement in the reader.
  • Encouraging students to look at patterns of ideas and language rather than creating a formulaic response that prevents them hitting the highest grades.
  • Connecting texts with the social and historical context in which they were written, and received.
  • Becoming the writer: penning their own missing scenes or extra chapters of books and plays read in class.
  • Our SIR marking policy ensures that students are challenged when writing their responses to our improvements.
  • Peer assessment will often include SIR marking too: students become critics of their own and each other’s work.
  • Challenging texts at KS3, which encourage not only deep study of writers’ techniques but also social/historical/cultural issues, for example: Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Animal Farm.
  • Writing possible exam questions after reading the extract, and therefore showing their understanding of not only the kinds of questions they will need to answer but also the information that will be needed to answer the question successfully.
  • Memorising quotations. This is a requirement at GCSE.  They need to practice in Key Stage Three.
  • Using images to stimulate imaginative writing.