Don Valley Academy’s English Department’s vision is to develop independent, resilient and actively involved students who approach lessons with tolerance, thoughtfulness and creativity.

Through English lessons at Don Valley students will have the opportunity to:

  • Engage with and develop an understanding of a variety of literature; this includes drama texts, novels and poetry.
  • Develop creative writing skills which will engage a reading audience.
  • Understand a variety of transactional materials and read for meaning in real life situations.
  • Become confident and successful communicators.

The English Department staff are dedicated to ensuring all students have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

At Key Stage 3, students will focus upon a different unit each half-term; they will study novels, drama (including Shakespeare and 20th century plays), poetry (studied thematically, with focuses on War Poets and childhood), creative writing (descriptive and narrative), as well as non-fiction and media texts. Each unit of work allows for students to develop their skills with a formative assessment allowing them to hone the necessary techniques in order to achieve their best. All abilities are catered for so that the same unit can be accessed by all. Running alongside classroom based English lessons, each KS3 student will participate in the Accelerated Reader programme which encourages and boosts the reading age/ability of our students.

At Key Stage 4, students have the opportunity to gain two GCSEs: English Language and English Literature. At Don Valley we follow the Eduqas Exam Board, which currently is assessed by end of term examinations. During this key stage, we build upon the skills developed earlier in the curriculum.

What do the GCSEs include?

GCSE English Language:

  • Component 1: section A is the study of 20th century fiction which is assessed with a series of five questions. Section B is the production of engaging narrative writing.
  • Component 2: section A is the comparative study of non-fiction texts, from the 19th and 21st centuries. Section B is the production of transactional, point of view writing.

GCSE English Literature:

  • Component 1: Shakespeare and Poetry. For this exam the students will study Romeo and Juliet alongside a selection of poems from 1789 onwards.
  • Component 2: Post 1914 drama, 19th century prose and unseen poetry. For this exam the students will study An Inspector Calls, A Christmas Carol and be tested on their ability to read a poem they’ve never seen before.

The activities of English lessons are extended beyond the classroom in a variety of ways.  When possible we organise trips to see live productions of the literature texts studied, such as our 2016 trip to see the Kenneth Branagh version of Romeo and Juliet. Similarly, students have the opportunity to read books nominated for the Doncaster Book Awards.

Throughout Year 11, after school revision sessions take place on a weekly basis, focusing on the three key areas of: reading, writing and literature.

At Key Stage 5, students study the combined English Language and Literature course which equips students with a well-rounded enjoyment of the subject. At Post 16, students will study:

  • A poetry anthology stretching from the Renaissance to 20th century;
  • Tennessee Williams’ play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof;
  • Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood;
  • Alice Walker’s The Color Purple;
  • Spoken non literacy texts;
  • Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing;
  • As well as a coursework element focusing on the theme of the Outsider. The reading element is a discussion of the theme within the core text of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye alongside a student selected partner text; the writing element is related creative and non-fiction texts.