Head of Department: Miss S. Buttercase
The study of English literature and language opens doors to for all students. We communicate through language, and our culture and nation has been shaped by language and literature. It is quite literally the foundation of who we are today. In English, students build a connection with the past through the study of key works of literature throughout history, and develop their own writing skills by analysing these texts and reading widely. At Barclay Academy, we highly value the importance of students studying classic literature. Through exposure to high-quality and critically-acclaimed texts, we hope to develop our students’ cultural literacy, which we believe is intrinsic to social and professional success in modern society, as well as to nurture a lifelong passion for reading.
At Barclay Academy, we follow a bespoke and rigorous English curriculum. As students move through the chronological curriculum, the narrative of the development of the English literary tradition gradually unfurls. The aim of the course is to promote the highest standards of literacy and communication skills, as well as to develop students’ appreciation of the literary culture that has shaped the world in which we live. Our ultimate goal is that students will leave us with a life-long love of literature and reading that they can take forward with them into their future lives. Each year explores a lens to view each text through such as ‘The Hero’ in year 7. Texts studied range from the Ancient Greek Epic The Odyssey, to the plays of William Shakespeare, and to the detective story Murder on the Orient Express.
All students at Barclay Academy study both English literature and language at GCSE level. We follow the AQA specification for both courses. In their studies of English literature, we aim to provide students with a broad understanding of a variety of literary classics. They take a trip to Dickens' Victorian England via the lens of the miser Ebenezer Scrooge, and explore Priestley's socialist viewpoint on capitalism through An Inspector Calls. They look at the fall of the ‘dead butcher and his fiend-like Queen’ in Macbeth and explore the concepts of power and conflict in poetry. Students develop fluency in the classic literary corpus, gain an appreciation of the heritage of English literature, and become keen and able critics, equipped with the tools to analyse and discuss texts with fluency. Alongside literature, our students also study English language. This course helps to develop students' ability to read both fiction and non-fiction texts for meaning, building up a range of skills that they can use to analyse texts critically, and to demonstrate their understanding logically and articulately. Students build upon their knowledge of the workings of the English language to compose their own pieces of transactional and creative writing, and are encouraged to use high levels of vocabulary, varied structures, and an engaging, genre-appropriate tone and style.
At Barclay Academy, we follow the AQA A-Level in English Literature A-Level, a course characterised by its engaging and dynamic approach to learning. Through a wide variety of literature, our students develop their communication and critical analysis skills, gain confidence in expressing their ideas articulately, and learn how to prepare for written examinations in poetry, prose and drama. The general aim of the A-Level course is to encourage students to develop interest and enjoyment in literary studies through reading widely, critically and independently. In their two years of study, students will be exposed to a range of classic and contemporary texts centred on the themes of tragedy and social and political protest writing. We hope that, in so doing, they will be introduced to new texts that will challenge their views on complex social and historical issues.