Welcome to the English Department

The English Department at Dyffryn Taf School is committed to empowering students with skills that will enable them to not only achieve exam success in GCSE and A Level, but will provide them with opportunities in life after school. We firmly believe that to be confident, successful, independent students and adults, English skills are a vital part of educational and personal development. We believe in providing students with opportunities to be the best that they can be, to have ambitious goals and to set out to achieve them. We try to develop a love of reading amongst all of our students and to give learners an appreciation of English language and cultural heritage. We strive towards delivering a high-quality and meaningful education that will stretch, challenge and support all students so that they leave Dyffryn Taf well-equipped to have happy and successful lives.

Key Stage 3

Year 7

As part of the new Year 7 curriculum, students will develop their communication skills through a range of learning experiences. Collaboration across the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning aims to ensure that students will reinforce their understanding of key linguistic concepts and their sense of identity. Students will be provided with regular opportunities to develop their abilities as ambitious, capable and creative learners. Their study of literature and related texts will help them to develop as ethical, informed citizens, exploring issues such as racism and the ethics of lying. Through exploring the lives of others (both real and imaginary), they will develop their abilities to empathise with others and articulate their own feelings on a range of topics.

Year 8

Students build on the skills developed in Year 7. They study the Shakespeare play ‘Macbeth’. This includes analysing the use of language and exploring the history of Shakespeare’s theatre and differing stagings of the play. Students also read the novel ‘The Tulip Touch’, by Anne Fine and a range of poetry and travel writing.

Year 9

Students prepare for GCSE English Language and Literature by developing their skills further. They study the novel ‘Noughts and Crosses’, by Malorie Blackman, as well as a range of non-fiction texts connected with the themes of the novel. They also study a range of short stories from the 19th century to the present day. During the summer term, students develop their reading and writing skills through an exploration of non-fiction texts; they also prepare and deliver an individual presentation.

Key Stage 4

The majority of students in Years 10 and 11 follow courses in both English Language and Literature, gaining two separate GCSE qualifications. Some students will only follow the GCSE Language course. Students’ performance throughout Year 9 will determine whether they will study both qualifications, or concentrate solely on GCSE English Language.

All GCSE Language exams will be sat in June of Year 11. All GCSE Literature exams will be sat during Year 11.

Students completing GCSE English Literature study the novels ‘Of Mice and Men’, by John Steinbeck and ‘Heroes’, by Robert Cormier, the plays ‘An Inspector Calls’, by JB Priestley and ‘Romeo and Juliet’, by W Shakespeare. They also study a range of poetry taken from the Library of Wales anthology Poetry 1900-2000: One Hundred Poets from Wales.

To read more about the GCSE course, please click here.

Key Stage 5

During Years 12 & 13, students develop their skills of articulating informed, personal and creative responses to literary texts. They analyse ways in which meanings are shaped in literary texts. They also demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received and explore connections across literary texts, informed by different interpretations. In Year 12, they study the play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire,’ by Tennessee Williams, the novel ‘Jane Eyre,’ by Charlotte Bronte and the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy and Philip Larkin. In year 13, they study the play ‘King Lear’ by William Shakespeare, the poetry of William Blake and the novels ‘The Great Gatsby,’ by F Scott Fitzgerald and ‘The Road,’ by Cormac McCarthy.

To read more about the A-Level course, please click here.