Faculty of English, Media and Drama

Learning to be Extraordinary

RESULTS

In English at CSIA, we strive to be the best. We are a high-achieving and dynamic faculty and members of the team are totally committed to ensuring successful outcomes for our students. We have a strong curriculum intent, which prioritises powerful knowledge about language, literature and the real world. As such, we teach challenging texts – Shakespeare from Semester 1 of Year 7 – to set high expectations for our students and set them on the path they need for success in school and beyond.

In our results, we continue to make progress year on year. Our proportion of top grades at GCSE was above average in 2018/19, and last year a higher number than ever achieved a strong pass at Grade 5. With a 100% pass rate, our A-level results continue to be extremely positive. In 2019, English Language and Literature achieved in the top 30% nationally in terms of progress, while Media reached the top 20%. English Literature secured a number of A grades, with many students progressing to Russell Group universities to continue the subject.

 

WHY TAKE ENGLISH?

English is at the heart of what we do every single day. It is about communicating effectively, building relationships with others and being able to understand the world in which we live. In an ever changing society, being able to articulate yourself eloquently is paramount.

The study of Literature allows us to immerse ourselves in the minds of other writers and to explore their purposes in writing texts. Reading is key to unlocking knowledge about the world around you, the writer themselves and of course, yourself.

English at KS3, GCSE and A-level offers students the chance to read widely, write for purpose and enjoyment and to develop their ability to effectively communicate verbally.  It is a rich and diverse subject.

 

WHY TAKE MEDIA?

Media is all around us. It’s the radio station we listen to on the way to work; the news we watch as we eat our tea; the social media sites we continually update and engage with; the games we play and the music we hear. How often do you question the way the media works? Why do certain news items come before others, and why are certain genres of music portrayed in a particular way? The study of Media allows students to develop a range of personal and practical skills that encourages them to engage with the media and question its purpose, role and significance.

During both the GCSE and A-level course, students have the chance to discuss topical and often controversial areas that are current social concerns. They learn about the construction of representation and how other theorists, such as Feminist and Marxist, view the world around us. As well as this, they will also have the opportunity to analyse the most current affairs and Media formats including blogging/vlogging, social media and the internet, as well as more traditional forms such as television, radio and newspapers.

 

KEY STAGE 3

At Key Stage Three, students participate in English lessons with a focus on Mastery-style learning across Years 7, 8 and 9. The key aspect of English at KS3 is for students to build a strong knowledge of the world around them and to understand how this feeds into both English Literature and Language by studying a range of challenging texts. Students will develop their communication skills through the core strands of reading, writing, speaking and listening. At KS3 students are exposed to a range of topics and time periods and are encouraged to explore these through low stakes quizzing combined with extended pieces of writing. These are designed to complement and build on the skills that the students have already developed in primary education. Units of work are based on either a challenging text – such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Year 7 – or a theme or focus, such as Crime through the Ages in Year 8. Students are exposed to a wide variety of texts – both fiction and non-fiction – and are given a variety of writing opportunities. In order to support the development of the key communication skills that underpin learning across all subjects, students have five lessons a fortnight of English at Key Stage 3.

 

KEY STAGE 4

GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature

All students start Key Stage 4 working towards completing two GCSEs: one in English Language and one in English Literature. At CSIA, we follow the AQA GCSE English Language and English Literature specifications. During the course, students have the chance to study a wide range of texts, as well as developing their skills as a writer.

During Years 10 and 11 students will study a variety of texts, exploring language, structure, themes, context, characters and relationships. Students are exposed to a range of writers, poets and playwrights, both contemporary and from the literary heritage. Students also have the opportunity to write creatively and for a purpose, developing the skills of descriptive and persuasive writing, as well as more functional writing skills, such as letter writing and reports.

In order to support their achievement in this core subject, students have six lessons a fortnight of English in Year 10, and five lessons a fortnight in Year 11.

 

GCSE Media Studies

The study of the media at GCSE allows students to gain an experience of a variety of modern texts that influence today’s society. At CSIA, we follow the AQA GCSE Media specifications. Students have the opportunity to understand the way in which media can be manipulated, and the course encourages students to be active readers of texts that question the messages and ideals behind the media today.

Students study a range of audio, visual, print and online texts, analysing key codes and conventions and considering audience response. They explore a range of genres, representations and consider the way media is constructed by industries. Students also have the opportunity to explore media from a practical perspective, creating their own media texts and evaluating them from an analytical point of view.

 

VI FORM

A-level English Literature and Language (AQA)

The study of English Language and Literature at A-level allows students to engage their passion for reading, writing and exploring a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. They are given opportunities to employ critical thinking methods, debate the meaning and impact of texts, and are encouraged to unleash their creative flair by experimenting with a range of writing styles.

Studying English is an excellent opportunity to extend students’ passion for exploring texts and crafting creative writing pieces. A-level English will develop analytical expertise and expand knowledge of the subject by introducing students to a range of different text types, which help to unlock higher-level thinking skills. The benefit of  opting  for  a  combined  Language  and  Literature  course  means  that students are exposed to a range of specialised skills, allowing them to develop a broad range of analytical methods by using new terminology and a range of writing styles.

Over the two year course, students have the chance to study an anthology of poems by Carol Ann Duffy and a collection of non-fiction language texts focused on the city of Paris. Additionally, they explore the somewhat topical Dystopian novel, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’; the glitz and glam of Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ and Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece ‘A Streetcar named Desire’.

 

A-level English Literature (AQA)

This is the course for students who adore reading. The English Literature programme offers a stimulating mixture of traditional and contemporary studies, offering students the opportunity to extend their own passion for reading whilst exploring a rich variety of different text types.  The content of the course is broad and diverse and requires students to read three novels, two plays, a collection of poetry, and a study of unseen texts, as well as producing a personalised critical study of two texts of their own choosing and an independent study of two key literary theorists. Studying literature involves the development of sophisticated reading skills and an ability to place literary texts in their wider cultural, authorial and historical contexts, alongside considering aspects of readership and genre. It is therefore essential that English Literature students are avid readers and dedicated to developing their knowledge and understanding independently, as well as in the classroom.

At A-level, students will extend their critical analysis and exploration of a breadth of texts by considering them in depth and through having the opportunity to discuss literature in a mature and passionate environment.  Over the two year course, students study an anthology of poems by William Blake and a collection of texts that explore social and political protest writing. Additionally, they study the Dystopian novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, a text that provides a fascinating social commentary on female equality; Hardy’s ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’; Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’; Shakespeare’s intricate study of love and jealousy, ‘Othello’ and finally, Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’.

 

A-level Media Studies (AQA)

In a society where at every twist and turn we are surrounded by media and technology in one form or another, A level Media gives students the chance to gain an insight into, and to challenge, the world around them.

During the course, students will have the chance to discuss topical and often controversial areas that are current social concerns. They learn about the construction of representation and how critical theorists view the world around us. Students analyse the most current affairs and Media formats including blogging/vlogging, social media and the internet, as well as more traditional forms such as television, radio and print media.

During the A-level course, students create their own media texts following specific genre codes and conventions. They become adept at taking original images, using software to edit and refine still and moving images.

English at Nexus ‘The Fascination with what is Difficult’

The gifted and talented programme in English provides opportunities for students to be stretched and challenged.  At Nexus, students in English can expect to:

  • Broaden their wider reading and nurture a love of literature
  • Develop critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Gain a strong cultural understanding of the world
  • Develop a flair for writing creatively and academically.

In addition to offering lessons that are rigorously academic and stimulating, Nexus offers a strong co-curricular programme in which students can explore their love of the subject and consider English in a vocational context. We offer Nexus Magazine, for those budding journalists who wish to develop their non-fiction writing skills. There is also the Youth Speaks co-curricular, which allows students to develop and extend their skills in presenting, speaking and listening. For those students who wish to read widely for pleasure, the Nexus Bookclub has proved popular. In addition, the Mock Trial co-curricular enables students to dramatically engage with law as students take on the roles of the court.

 

CAREERS

English

The study of English can provide a solid grounding for continued study at degree level, or support entry into a variety of career paths including: teaching, journalism, professional writing, publishing, the media, social work, law and the public sector. Studying English at A-level shows employers that you can communicate at a high standard, both verbally and in written form.

English Literature

English Literature provides students with a secure grounding for the demands of literature at degree level or entry into a variety of career paths including: teaching, journalism, professional writing, publishing, the media, social work, law and the public sector. In these areas, the emphasis is on sensitive responses to written material and an understanding of human communication. Our teachers have a huge passion for the subject and are committed to ensuring the very best outcomes for students. English Literature is recognised as a facilitating subject by Russell Group Universities.

Media

The study of Media allows students to develop a range of personal and practical skills that will prepare them for further study in higher education or when entering a variety of different careers including: teaching, journalism, television, advertising, design and many more. Our teachers have specialist subject expertise in all areas of media and are committed to ensuring the highest outcomes for all students.

 

TRIPS, VISITS AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR.

Scribblers (Creative Writing Club)

A club of creative collaborative KS3 students that expands Literary horizons and celebrates the written word. Under the guidance of our teachers, students open up a world of imagination with different themes and activities to enhance their writing. Students are also given the chance to enter national competitions and have their work published. Our students have been really successful in both local and national competitions.  The club also prides itself on the annual trips that it runs to stimulate the imagination, feeding into subsequent writing workshops.

Kernow Youth Book Awards

The Kernow Youth Book Awards is an award encouraging reading for pleasure. Six engaging texts for teenagers are selected by the KYBA organisation; they are often of differing genre and cover a range of diverse themes relevant to young adults. Year 9 and 10 students can participate in the award, reading the six texts and meeting weekly with English teachers to discuss the content. Finally, students rank the texts and are invited to an awards ceremony held at the Eden Project, which many of the authors attend to give inspiring and interesting speeches.

Debate Club

For those students that feel really passionate about topical and controversial issues, we run a Debate Club for all year groups. This provides a chance for students to debate the most important issues facing them. In the past, our topics have included armed police, lowering the voting age, the right to fidget spinners and Donald Trump. Students are expected to come armed with ideas for discussion, and these ideas are then nurtured by a teacher allowing the student to devise a sophisticated and well-formed argument. We also have plans for a number of external competitions coming up.

Rotary Youth Speaks

Youth Speaks affords students the opportunity to participate in a formal speaking competition with other schools. All students in KS3 have the opportunity to take part. Students are coached on their speaking skills, crafting an impressive and sophisticated team speech to impress the judges. CSIA students are often very successful in Youth Speaks.

World Book Day

As a team of story loving teachers, we like to honour World Book Day with as much enthusiasm as possible. In the past we have held a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with students; taken part in various dressing up competitions and devised a whole school reading project.

 Year 9 English and Media London Trip

 In Year 9 we offer students the opportunity to gain a meaningful insight into the real world of ‘The Media’ (which will particularly benefit those studying ‘Media Studies’ or ‘Creative iMedia’). The three day trip to London also allows students to visit places of cultural significance. During the trip, students participate in a workshop with actors at The Globe Theatre, watch a live performance of a west end production and visit the Warner Bros. Harry Potter studio tour. A lasting experience of the cultural delights our capital has to offer!

 Theatre Visits

Reading a text is one thing, watching it being performed live on stage is quite another. In our faculty we believe in giving students the opportunity to watch live theatre, and participate in workshops with professional actors, as much as possible.

Within the English department, various trips have included watching productions of: An Inspector Calls; Birdsong; The Importance of Being Earnest; A View from the Bridge; King Lear; The Tempest and Much Ado about Nothing.

 

Rotary Youth Speaks

Youth Speaks affords students the opportunity to participate in a formal speaking competition with other schools. All students in KS3 have the opportunity to take part. Students are coached on their speaking skills, crafting an impressive and sophisticated team speech to impress the judges. CSIA students are often very successful in Youth Speaks.

World Book Day

As a team of story loving teachers, we like to honour World Book Day with as much enthusiasm as possible. In the past we have held a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with students; taken part in various dressing up competitions and devised a whole school reading project.

 

Year 9 English and Media London Trip

 In Year 9 we offer students the opportunity to gain a meaningful insight into the real world of ‘The Media’ (which will particularly benefit those studying ‘Media Studies’ or ‘Creative iMedia’). The three day trip to London also allows students to visit places of cultural significance. During the trip, students participate in a workshop with actors at The Globe Theatre, watch a live performance of a west end production and visit the Warner Bros. Harry Potter studio tour. A lasting experience of the cultural delights our capital has to offer!

 

Theatre Visits and workshops

Reading a text is one thing, watching it being performed live on stage is quite another. In our faculty we believe in giving students the opportunity to watch live theatre, and participate in workshops with professional actors, as much as possible.

Within the English department, various trips have included watching productions of: An Inspector Calls; Birdsong; The Importance of Being Earnest; A View from the Bridge; The Tempest and Much Ado about Nothing.

Within the Drama department, we have taken students to see numerous performances at The Hall for Cornwall, The Poly Theatre in Falmouth, The Minack Theatre in Penzance and Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Along with theatre trips we also have the opportunity to visit Theatre Royal Plymouth’s TR2 centre. At the TR2 centre, students get a guided tour of the rehearsal rooms, costume department and set workshops. This tour is an exciting opportunity for students to see what happens behind the scenes in a theatre and allows them to experience the various departments and skills involved in putting on full-scale, professional theatre productions.

We also run workshops at school which are led by professional actors and practitioners. This is a great chance for students to gain an in-depth knowledge of important styles and practitioners from someone who has a wealth of practical and theoretical knowledge. The most recent workshops we have run were led by Splendid Productions, Theatre Complicite and Terry Besson (a voice coach who has worked with Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Robert de Niro and many others).

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