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English

English has a pre-eminent place in education and society; it is a subject fundamental to personal and intellectual growth. The study of English ensures students become confident readers and writers. It also encourages students to think creatively, critically and independently so that they can articulate their ideas with clarity and confidence in a range of ways. English at Bedlington Academy is an immersive experience, exposing students to classics such as Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’, to the more modern works such as Dominic Cooke’s adaptation of the alternate reality ‘Noughts and Crosses’ and the poetry of Maya Angelou.

Students will journey through the literary canon, beginning with the foundations of the hero and villain in the Greek tale of Odysseus, before travelling on to meet William Shakespeare’s ‘star-cross’d lovers’ Romeo and Juliet. Pupils can meet brooding Romantic heroes like Wordsworth, Byron and Blake before arriving in the Victorian period with Brontë and Dickens’ arguably most famous character, reformed miser Ebenezer Scrooge. The journey concludes in the modern era where they explore 1930s America and the unlikely friendship of George and Lennie in Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’, followed by the social inequality of Edwardian England with Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’, as well as a range of poetry from diverse and exciting voices.

Students study a rich and challenging curriculum. From engaging with ideas from a wide variety of texts to opportunities for self-expression and creativity in both spoken and written contexts, studying English at Bedlington nurtures self-expression and reflective thought. Throughout the key stages, students will encounter a range of literary genres and forms, ranging from Jacobean drama and courtly love poetry to a whole host of non-fiction diaries, essays, letters and autobiographies. We take a cross-curricular approach, encouraging students to think about the social, political and historical context alongside developing their own voice. As well as following the curriculum, students will be encouraged to read for pleasure, experiencing a diverse range of literature as a platform for exploring new ideas, developing critical thinking skills and learning more about the world around them. Students will be inspired by great thinkers such as activist Martin Luther King, environmentalist Greta Thunberg and suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

Our ‘Keys to Success’ literacy programme ensures students learn the fundamental skills to help them progress not only in English but across the whole curriculum. Students enjoy English because it is varied, fast-paced and fun. Every student is inspired to believe in their potential and to aim high. They acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language. Throughout their academic career here, students develop the ability to write accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We endeavour to ensure all students become competent orators, including: making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

Curriculum information

Year

Autumn

Spring

Summer

7

  • ‘Heroes and Villains’ - an exploration of characterisation from Homer through to modern day.
  • Moments that Changed the World – developing speech writing skills through the study of key historical events of the twentieth century.
  • Gory Gothic Writing – Fiction writing inspired by Victorian Literature
  • Much Ado About Nothing – Shakespeare’s funniest play and feistiest heroine
  • Individual Voices Poetry – explore a range of poems from the Romantic era to the modern day
  • Victorian Britain and Oliver Twist – Delve into what life was like for the Victorians using non-fiction sources

8

  • Fear Factor – learn to write like a scientist, journalist or historian while discovering your deepest fears
  • Noughts and Crosses – A modern love story that explores themes of racism and separation.
  • Julius Caesar – enjoy Shakespeare’s epic tragedy where the race to claim the empire spirals out of control...
  • Of Mice and Men – appreciate the heart-warming friendship of George and Lennie in 1930s America
  • How Dare the Sun Rise – see through the eyes of a child in a warzone who builds a new life
  • Adventures Around the World – be inspired to write by literature from around the world

9

  • Animal Farm – George Orwell’s political allegory is a 20th century British classic
  • Diverse Voices – listen to the voices of contemporary poets and write your own dramatic monologue
  • Letters through time – explore a range of non-fiction texts with a historical significance
  • All the World’s a Stage – discover the joys of performance with The Importance of Being Earnest, Educating Rita and A Taste of Honey
  • Tragedy – meet the Greek chorus, tragic heroes, and explore the conventions of this epic genre
  • Say it Out Loud – embrace your inner orator by performing a passionate speech

10

  • Explorations in Creative Reading – experience the breadth and beauty of 20th century fiction
  • Macbeth – visit medieval Scotland and the terrifying reign of Macbeth

 

  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens moral social polemic explores the issue facing the poor during the Victorian era
  • Viewpoints and Perspectives – analysis of non-fiction texts.
  • Writing Masterclass – hone your writers’ craft and perfect your voice
  • Power and Conflict Poetry – read poetry across time and genre and explore the perennial questions

11

  • Macbeth
  • Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing
  • Power and Conflict and Unseen Poetry

 

  • Viewpoints and Perspectives – analysis of non-fiction texts.
  • An Inspector Calls – J.B. Priestley’s moral social polemic explores the vices of the Edwardian era
  • Non-fiction writing to argue and persuade

 

 

 

It’s not only English lessons that are exciting at the academy: English teachers also fully immerse themselves in a range of English and Literacy-themed events throughout the year, such as celebrating World Book Day in March by taking on the mantle of a range of characters from a work of fiction. Furthermore, World Book Day is celebrated over the course of the week and entails a host of extra-curricular activities, from teachers performing a dramatic reading of a short story and reading competitions to the exploration of the importance of reading in KS4. Sixth Form students are introduced to the benefits of using non-fiction to increase their knowledge and understanding of their chosen subjects, as well as the joy that can be found in exploring a range of topics outside the realms of academia. A wide variety of these non-fiction texts can now be found within the Cultural Capital section of the school website. Alongside this, staff from all departments pull out all the stops to come to school dressed as their favourite literary characters.

The English department hosts many extra-curricular clubs including Debate Club, where students discuss the issues of the day and hone their arguing skills; Reading Club, which allows students to come together to discuss their favourite books and Film Club, all of which are very popular with our students. We even have a parental book group which meets on a half-termly basis, where we come together to discuss our nominated read.

I really enjoy English because we learn about a wide range of things that are interesting – many of them I just wouldn’t know about if we didn’t explore them in English.
Year 8 student
I really enjoy English because it encourages me to expand my vocabulary and knowledge of the wider world. My confidence has increased since year 7 and I can now talk to others about different texts and how they make me think and feel.
Year 8 student