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Buxton Community School

Buxton Community School


Head of Department: Ciaran Buckley (

Key Stage 3

Students have 8 periods of English per fortnight in Year 7 and 7 periods per fortnight in Year 8 and Year 9. All year groups experience 3 core units each allocated to a specific term.

The 3 core units are:

  • The class novel
  • Poetry
  • Shakespeare.

Students will be taught skills in reading and writing non-fiction and fiction throughout the units. These are the building blocks that will help with the transition to GCSE in Year 10.

Forms of Assessment 

Students’ work will be assessed throughout the year by the class teacher and through structured self and peer assessment. The students will receive regular verbal and levelled feedback which tells them the level achieved on individual pieces of classwork/homework.

During each unit of work there will be scope for MAD time. This is where the students will be given time to make a difference to their work based on teacher feedback.  The English Department use the whole-school marking policy. Students’ work will be formally assessed and given a level (F1-F6), feedback on what they have done well and a key target so that they know how to improve. These more formal assessment tasks will cover reading, writing and speaking and listening skills. 


Students are taught in tutor groups in Y7.  In Y8 and 9 students are set according to their end of year target and end of Key Stage 3 target.  This enables all students to aspire to reach their full potential.

What Parents can do to Help

Independent Learning

The best way to support students’ progress in English is to encourage them to read widely and discuss their work with them. Encourage your child to read at home and ask them to reflect on what it is they are writing.

Writing- How you can help

Some discussion of the topic/task before writing starts is always useful. Try to ensure that the writer has a clear understanding of the task set.

They should know:

- the form of the writing (e.g. report, letter, speech, essay)

- the purpose of the writing (e.g. to inform, persuade, review)

- if they should have a certain kind of reader in mind (e.g. a younger person).  

Reading – How you can help

Students are tested for their Reading age at the start and the end of Year 7. Intervention is in place to help support students with their reading.

Students who find it easy to read generally gain more satisfaction from the activity but still may choose not to read when there are alternative activities available. Some may find reading harder work and so require more encouragement.

To improve their reading skills, young readers need to read a mixture of material – some that they find easy to read and some that challenges them a little. Just like adults, readers will not want to read something challenging every time they pick up a book. The more they read, the better.

The ultimate purpose of reading is to understand and appreciate the writer’s intentions and his or her art so that a confident response can be made. Good readers make sense of what they read and increasingly are able to reflect on the implications of what the author has written.

How to support developing readers

Encourage reading by valuing what they choose to read voluntarily.

Suggest other material to widen the range and increase the level of challenge a little.

Try to make some space for reading in your child’s day.

Take an interest in what they are reading. Ask interested questions, not questions that sound like a test. If you can read the material yourself and discuss it, so much the better.

Talk about strategies they can use if they come across an unfamiliar word.

Focus on what they do well, encouraging them to build on their strengths as readers.

Encourage your child to try a range of strategies when reading unfamiliar words. For example:

1)  sound out words;

2)  use the rest of the sentence to help with a difficult word;

3)  use other clues on the page to help read accurately;

4)  re-read the preceding words when stuck;

5)  break down longer words to read them.


Key Stage 4

English Language

English is a compulsory subject at KS4. The GCSE Course in English language is based on the National Curriculum and assesses skills in speaking and listening, reading and writing. Only the latter two are counted in the final GCSE assessment; a separate certificate is issued for the speaking and listening grade.
The course is assessed solely by external examination, divided into two parts:

Paper 1 - explorations in creative reading
  • Reading - a literature fiction text.
  • Writing - a descriptive or narrative task.
Paper 2 - writers’ viewpoints and perspectives
  • Reading - with two linked sources from different time periods.
  • Writing - a written text for a specified purpose, audience and form.

At all stages in the course, students will be asked to undertake a range of tasks ranging from creative writing, debating, role-play and developing reading skills. There is an expectation that students will play an active role in discussing ideas, reading a range of texts and improving written skills.


All groups will follow the same course in Year 10 and 11.  Students are set according to GCSE targets.  Regardless of set all students have two literature and two language lessons per week.

Progression routes from this course could include:

Most colleges and employers look to see what grade has been gained at GCSE English language. Progression can lead to a study of Literature or Language at A Level and further diversification at university.

The subject is assessed from grades 1-9, and is based entirely on terminal examinations.

English Literature

The GCSE course in English literature is based on the National Curriculum and assesses skills in reading and writing.

Paper 1 - involves the study of a 19th century novel and an entire Shakespeare play.
Paper 2 - involves the study of an anthology of poems, unseen poems and modern text.

Progression routes from this course could include:

English literature is a traditional core subject. It allows for the development of thoughts and ideas. A study of the world of literature can lead to a study of literature at A Level and further diversification at university. It will also support progression into most other subjects.

The subject is assessed from grades 1-9, and is based entirely on terminal examinations.