English Department Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions in English 

Q Are students usually allowed to wear coats in the classroom?

No!  Filming took place on the day the weather turned much cooler.  We currently have to keep all the windows open, so students were allowed to wear their coats because the classrooms were cold.  Now, they are bringing in warm jumpers to wear on top of their uniform instead of keeping their coats on. We are, generally, a coat free zone!

Q How many teachers are in the English department?

There are 7 teachers in the department.  Mrs Quinn (KS4 lead), Mrs Maunder-Hand (KS3 lead), Mrs Shakespeare (Head of English), Mrs McDonald, Mrs Wilford, Ms Burman (Deputy Head) and Mrs Holroyd (Assistant Head in charge of Teaching and Learning).  We have over 100 years teaching experience between us!

Q How many students are in each class?

In KS3 classes, Years 7,8 and 9, there are usually 30 students in each class.  In Years 10 and 11, this reduces to about 25.  KS4 classes are smaller because there are 5 English in each year group rather than 4.    

Q Do students keep the same teacher each year?

No.  In English, we try (wherever possible) to give students a range of different teachers.  However, they do keep the same teacher for their two year GCSE course. 

Q Do students stay in the same English classes each year?

No.  In Year 7, students are taught in their tutor groups.  At the end of Years 7, 8 and 9, we mix them up into new mixed ability groups.  The groups are not randomly created, they are carefully constructed based on a range of information we have about the students.

Q Why do you teach in mixed ability groups?

Everyone has something to contribute to an English lesson. We have the same high expectations of all our students, regardless of their prior attainment.  We teach to the top, which means we challenge the students at the top end, and support those who need a bit more help to get there.  Teachers use a range of differentiation strategies to ensure that we provide work suitable for all our learners, whatever their individual needs are.  Our results show that mixed ability teaching works for everyone.  

Q Do all students do the same work?

Yes. All classes in a year group study the same texts, and complete the same lessons.  However, the materials used might alter slightly depending on the needs of the students, and students might be given slightly different success criteria for their finished piece of work.

Q What intervention is available for students who struggle with English?

In Years 7, 8 and 9 we run English intervention lessons for two small groups of students.  They have three intervention lessons a week: Literacy, Numeracy and Life Skills; for more information on Life Skills contact Susannah Wood ([email protected]). We use the Hackney Literacy Programme in Years 7 and 8, and in Year 9 students complete the Entry Level Certificate to help them prepare for the demands of the GCSE course.  Year 10 and 11 English intervention is also available for students who need an additional boost.  

Q How are students identified for intervention?

We look at information from primary schools (SATs results and teacher assessments), CATs results, and also liaise with their English teacher and HoY.  Parents will always be contacted if we think students will benefit from intervention lessons. 

Q What can I do to help my child in English?

Encourage them to read. Regular independent reading has a significant impact on  GCSE success in other subjects as well as in English. Talk to them about what they are reading by asking them questions. Why not watch documentaries and/or the news together?  These are wonderful ways to enrich vocabulary, and help young people form opinions about the wider world.  Our non-fiction texts regularly change, and we find that students who have an understanding of current affairs have a head start in accessing the texts. Find out more about reading, book recommendations, and what to do with a reluctant reader on the English page of our Curriculum Map.

Please get in touch if you have any further questions:

Kate Shakespeare (Head of Department) [email protected]

Helen Quinn (KS4 Lead) [email protected]

Kathryn Maunder-Hand (KS3 Lead) [email protected]