English at NOA

Here at NOA English, everything we do is geared towards instilling our students with a lifelong appreciation of Literature and the English language skills needed to excel in the modern world.

But that is only part of the story. We also passionately believe in equipping our students with the literary foundations necessary to enjoy a fulfilling cultural life. This will enable them to continue to access and enjoy all forms of literature, storytelling, journalism, drama, music and film. Our dynamic team of specialist teachers work tirelessly to deliver this rich diet to all of our NOA students.

Our English curriculum is carefully mapped out to build up the skills and knowledge needed for our students to achieve success at GCSE, A Level English and beyond. At KS3, we deliver an exciting programme of writing and wider English Language skills. During Years 7 to 9 our students will master and develop their story-writing, their descriptive writing and their transactional writing skills, all with an emphasis on clear communication and a high standard of grammar and punctuation. They also study a diverse range of non-fiction texts during these years, ranging from Malala Yousafzai’s moving autobiography to Chimamanda Adichie’s powerful We Should All Be Feminists. Our English Literature offer introduces our students to some of the titans of English Literature, such as Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Priestley and Angelou, and compliments the themes of identity, injustice and equality found in the non-fiction texts studied.

At KS4, the focus remains on high quality, passionate teaching of the core texts: Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, Orwell’s Animal Farm and the Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology. We devote much of Year 10 to in-depth teaching of the texts and have put a great deal of time and thought into how to use the fascinating historical context of the three prose texts in order to bring the texts ‘alive’ for the students. This allows our students to develop their ability to write about literature in a thoughtful and insightful way. The students’ English Language skills remain a key focus throughout KS4, allowing us to build on the skills they have gained and secured at KS3.

The English Literature and Language A Level courses at NOA are run by a team of specialist teachers and delivered to NOA students who have excelled at KS4, some of whom go onto study English Literature at Oxbridge. During their two exhilarating years of Sixth Form English Literature, the students engage in sophisticated study of Shakespeare’s Othello and Keats and Blake’s poetry, as well as range of modern ‘protest texts’ such as Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. In English Language students study a range of fascinating topics that have roots in real- world debates about the nature of the English Language. Topics range from the study of the history of the English language and Child Language Acquisition. This knowledge opens a myriad of possibilities for students post their sixth form studies.

We also have an exciting extra-curricular offer, with a range of English Literature symposiums staged throughout the year, delivered by NOA staff and outside speakers, such as academics from Oxford University and Bafta award winning TV directors. Additionally, we offer screenings of film adaptations of the major texts that we study and visit theatre productions, as part of our ‘wrap-around’ English curriculum. The KS5 students also run a monthly book club; the ‘intermingling’ between older and younger students who have a shared passion for English has enabled them to see where their NOA English journey might take them.