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Ivybridge Community College

Ivybridge Community College



Head of Department : Lucy Pitcher
Assistant Principal in charge of English and Literacy across the curriculum: Kelly Olive

The English Department at Ivybridge Community College is a passionate, dedicated and enthusiastic team; we are committed to supporting students to achieve their potential in their study of English and to prepare them for their chosen ventures beyond Ivybridge.  In English we aim to be outstanding.  We will strive to ensure that all of the young people we teach will become:

  • successful and creative learners who are engaged and make rapid and sustained progress;
  • independent thinkers and effective collaborators, who possess transferable skills of spoken and written communication;
  • culturally aware individuals.

We deliver a curriculum that is exciting, stimulating and challenging across all Key Stages.  Students are set on entry to the College using Primary records and Key Stage 2 results.  Students in Year 7 and 8 have seven hours of English lessons a fortnight.  For upper sets, one hour of this is Classics.  Students begin their GCSE course in Year 9 and are set on the basis of teacher assessment.  Students in Year 10 and 11 follow the new AQA English Language and Literature specifications.  English at Key Stage 4 has eight hours of English lessons a fortnight.  The Department is flourishing at Sixth Form Level, offering A Levels in English Literature, English Language and Literature, Creative Writing and Media Studies.  These are all very popular with several groups running in Year 12 and 13.  Year 12 and 13 students have nine hours a fortnight.

Key Stage 3 

During Years 7 and 8 students have up to 7 hours of English per fortnight.  Within these lessons students follow a varied curriculum based around a common theme every half term, enjoy dedicated lessons in the College’s extensive Learning Resource Centre to nurture a love of reading and access the Accelerated Reader Programme and spend time refining key literacy skills with their teachers.  Fundamental to the delivery of English at Key Stage 3 is our belief that students should be exposed to a wide range of challenging texts that thoroughly prepare them to access the demands of the GCSE programme of study in Key Stage 4, but also be able to respond to texts creatively and collaboratively.

Year 7:

In Year 7 students will study reading, writing and spoken language through a range of themed schemes of learning including Texts Across Time, Shakespeare in Context, Poetry Explosion, Survival and the reading of a whole class novel.  Each unit encompasses a range of reading and writing activities that build upon those previously learnt at primary school.  These include reading for meaning and inference, retrieving information, close language analysis, narrative writing, exploring poetic forms and non-fiction writing.  Spoken language tasks include drama activities and persuasive speeches.  To accompany each topic is a homework project that enables students to express their learning in a format of their choice which is peer assessed in lessons and contributes to their effort grade.

Year 8:

Following the Key Stage Three national curriculum, students continue to build on the firm foundations established in Year 7.  A Gothic scheme of learning starts the year, followed by a study of a Shakespearean comedy and a unit that explores multicultural writing.  Later in the year we ask students to become text detectives and expert barristers in their Crime and Punishment unit.  Although the focus remains on many of the skills taught in Year 7, the texts are more varied and demanding introducing the complex world of Victorian Literature and focusing on the higher level skill of reading comparatively.  Year 8 students will also continue to develop their reading skills through the Accelerated Reader programme that supports them in their reading while also encouraging them to read a more varied and challenging selection of books. Spoken Language tasks include an interview with a vampire and a location scouting presentation for a film company.  Year 8 students will also be set a homework project to go alongside each scheme of learning and this will enable students to take a more independent and proactive approach to their learning.

Assessment at Key Stage Three:

Students are assessed summatively every 7 weeks through a Big Write and Big Read, a process that many are familiar with from primary school.  After each assessment, students are offered feedback regarding what went well and asked to respond to questions and improve their work in directed improvement and reflection.  This teacher assessment is used to inform parents when reporting student progress.

Key Stage 4 

Year 9

Students at Ivybridge Community College start preparing for their GCSE English Language and Literature during Year 9.  During this year, the Schemes of Work develop the skills necessary for the GCSE course in a holistic way including through a nineteenth century novel, poetry collections as well as both creative and non-fiction writing and an introduction to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet which is later studied in Year 11 for their actual exam.  Students do not lose their love of reading that was fostered in KS3 as each half-term students complete a book challenge.   Previous challenges have ranged from designing a game on their current book to reading a book from a different culture and preparing a presentation looking at the context of their novel. Assessments are completed half-termly in order to provide quality feedback and targets to help them progress to GCSE.

Year 10 and 11

Students follow the AQA GCSE course for both English Language and English Literature.  Each half term they study and revise for a different element of the course and take part in regular ‘mini-mocks’ after preparing for a certain question and ‘full mocks’ after studying a whole paper.

GCSE Language

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

  • 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 50% of the English Language GCSE
  • 40 marks
  • One fiction extract with four reading questions.
  • One fiction writing task.

Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives

  • 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 50% of the English Language GCSE
  • 40 marks
  • Two non-fiction extract with four reading questions.
  • One non-fiction writing task. 

GCSE Literature

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel

  • 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 40% of the English Literature GCSE
  • Section A: Romeo and Juliet (closed book) 34 marks
  • Section B: Jekyll and Hyde (closed book) 30 marks

Paper 2: Modern Texts and Poetry

  • 2 hours 15 minutes
  • 60% of the English Literature GCSE
  • Section A: An Inspector Calls (closed book) 30 marks
  • Section B: Poetry Anthology-Power and Conflict 30 marks
  • Section C: Unseen poetry analysis (32 marks)

GCSE Revision Material

When buying revision guides it is important to check that they are designed for the new 1-9 GCSEs.

  1. CGP GCSE AQA English Language The Workbook: ISBN 9781782943709
  2. CGP GCSE AQA English Language Revision Guide: ISBN 9781782943693
  3. CGP GCSE Dr Jekyll and My Hyde: ISBN 9781782943082
  4. CGP GCSE Romeo and Juliet
  5. GCP GCSE An Inspector Calls
  6. GCP GCSE AQA Poetry Anthology Power & Conflict

Key Stage 5 

At Ivybridge we are proud to offer a broad menu for students to choose from at KS5, to suit a range of skills, aspirations and abilities.  Our provision ranges from the academic challenges of English Literature, to the popular and stimulating Language and Literature, right through to our Creative Writing course for those who are looking for a discrete opportunity to hone their writing.  All courses are currently offered at both AS and A Level.  We also have a well-established Media Department within our team, offering Media Studies AS and A Level, as well as BTEC Media Productions for a more vocational approach.

Our KS5 teachers view teaching at this level a privilege; we all love using our areas of specialism to broaden and extend our students at this crucial stage of their time with us.  Our aim is to prepare students for the world beyond the College; therefore we strive to deliver a stimulating experience.  This includes a study trip abroad, visiting writers, University-style seminars as well as a devoted and enthusiastic team of teachers who are available to support students beyond the confines of the lesson. Many go on to study English and Media at Higher Education, which is a testimony to our success at this level.

Exam Board Information: [could there be links to each specification?]

English Literature: AQA 
A-level English Literature A 7712 and AS Level English Literature A 7711.  The AS content is also covered in the A Level content and allows for co-teaching.

AS Level

Unit 1- Paper 1: Love through the Ages (Shakespeare and pre 1900 poetry) 50%

Unit 2 –Paper 2: Love through the Ages (prose comparison and unseen) 50%

A Level

Unit 1 – Paper 1: Love through the Ages (Shakespeare, poetry and prose) 40%

Unit 2 – Paper 2: Texts in shared contexts (modern prose, poetry and drama) 40%

Unit 3 – Non-examination assessment: Independent critical study 20%

English Language and Literature: AQA Level English Language and Literature A Level 7707 and AS level English Language and Literature 7706.  The AS content is also covered in the A Level content and allows for co-teaching.

AS Level

Unit 1 – Paper 1: Views and voices (prose and poetry) 50%

Unit 2 – Paper 2: People and places (non-fiction and re-creative writing) 50%

A Level

Unit 1 – Paper 1: Telling Stories (non-fiction, prose and poetry) 40%

Unit 2 – Paper 2: Exploring conflict (re-creative writing and drama) 40%

Unit 3 – Non-examination assessment: ‘Making connections’ personal investigation (literary and non-fiction) 20%

Creative Writing: AQA Creative Writing AS 1751 and Creative Writing A Level 2750 As this course is sadly being discontinued by AQA, this the last cohort it will be available to.

AS Level

CREW 1- Examination: Writing on Demand  40% of AS/20% of A2

CREW 2 – Coursework: Explorative Creative Writing  60% of AS/30% of A2

A Level

CREW 3 - From Reading to Writing  20% of A Level

CREW 4 – The Writing Portfolio - 30% of A Level


Extra-Curricular Activities

We are firm believers in enriching students’ love of English beyond the classroom.  The Department offers a variety of extra-curricular activities.  In Year 7 and 8 we run the Accelerated Reader scheme, while Year 8 also participate in spelling bees.  There is a Film Club, a Manga Club and a Book Group for all students.  There is a weekly Writers’ Club, as well as many opportunities to participate in public speaking competitions and theatre trips.  We regularly host visiting writers/poets and also arrange for theatre groups to perform to students, bringing texts they have studied to life.  This year we are also participating in the Bar Mock Trials, Poetry by Heart competitions and running DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) time for Years 7 and 8.