Aim: To increase uptake of English subjects at KS5 and to enrich the Year 11 experience across and beyond the curriculum by promoting AS-Level English-related subjects, including Film Studies and Media.
Background: Uptake at A Level seemed to be dropping as competition with other subject areas increased. Excellent results suggested that students would accept the challenge of higher-level study and enrichment.
A cross-curricular WWI battlefields trip with the History department was held for extra study in A Level literature, and a GCSE Plus programme was implemented, with ideas for enrichment at KS4. Alumni helped promote English through their university experiences, which those applying to university found very helpful, and the Sixth Form open evening gained more footfall than the previous year. Numerous theatre visits were also a success.
Year 2 :
Enrichment activities and theatre visits continued, with the exception of the battlefields trip, which proved too costly for some students. Debating took off across all key stages and students reached the second round in Debating Matters and the English Speaking Union (ESU) Mace. CPD was delivered around teaching A Level to help new members of the department and fresh texts were planned and resourced at GCSE due to a switch in exam board.
A greater number of enrichment and revision workshops were delivered at GCSE, and A-Level students received greater support in preparation for university study. Debating was more successful as students reached the third round of the ESU Debate. A partnership was set up with other local schools to share good practice in KS4 and to support vulnerable groups of pupils, such as those with special educational needs, English as an additional language, or who are on pupil premium.
Evidence: Attendance at enrichment activities, student voice questionnaires and feedback, uptake at AS and A Level, university applicants for English, exam results.
Impact: Although uptake at KS5 has not increased, students are now offered a superb array of enrichment opportunities, including lectures, creative writing days and trips to museums and the theatre. Crossover links and the teaching of Literature with other English-related A Levels has become stronger and GCSE results have improved over the course of the project. There has been better collaboration between staff in terms of planning and resource creation, and recruitment to the department has been strong.
Reflections: Finding the time to record progress that reflects the successes and failures in a systematic way is crucial. Recording intangible outcomes through questionnaires has been effective in recording pupil voice and suggests that their experiences have been rewarding, if challenging.
Contact: Terri Savage, Head of English, firstname.lastname@example.org