English and Film Studies

Cheam 095Welcome to English and Film Studies!

The English department at Cheam High school is passionate about Language and Literature. We want our students to be as passionate as we are.

We believe that reading is fundamental for students to be able to excel in English as it opens their minds and imagination as well as helping to develop their vocabulary and grasp of grammar.

Our approach to the teaching of English Language and Literature is an integrated one. Our aim is to develop the skills of our learners so that they become great communicators whilst also developing an appreciation of the writing of others. 

Literature allows us to introduce students to a range of social, political and cultural issues. Texts are carefully selected and students will study a range of fiction and non-fiction texts across the English curriculum as they develop their analytical skills.

Through the exploration of the writing of others, we promote the importance of being able to have a voice of your own. Both oral and written communication is valued highly and students are taught these distinct skills. Emphasis is placed on the accuracy of written communication and time is dedicated to ensuring that students secure the key skills of spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Across the curriculum, we ensure that the building blocks are put in place for students to succeed. Students are given mnemonics to help approaches to writing and analysis which they can use from Year 7 all the way through to Year 13.

A Level Film Studies develops critical thinking, research and analytical skills, taking a theoretical approach to the cultural impact and importance of film in a range of film industries. 

Film Studies is relevant to other subjects as the analytical and research skills the students develop can be applied to any other area of study, in particularly English, Art and Humanities. The practical skills learnt can be used in a variety of settings in school such as ICT, Graphic Design and Art. Students also learn how to present ideas by targeting different audiences which is a skill that is useful both in school and for future careers. 

Our Curriculum

The English curriculum is designed to develop our students’ cultural capital and texts are chosen carefully to support this.  We also cover a wide range of poem, literary shorts and non-fiction texts to support the development of cultural capital as well as expose students to a wide range of texts from different genres, authors and cultures.  Students will study contemporary and classic texts as well as works from Shakespeare.

For GCSE, our students follow the Edexcel Specification for English Language and Literature.

For A Level, we offer students the opportunity to follow the EMC/OCR Language and Literature A Level.

All students in Year 7 - 8 follow a programme of lessons called 'Let’s Think in English'. ‘Let’s Think in English’ is a teaching programme developed by King's College London to help students develop the reasoning skills needed to be successful as a critical thinker in English.

Let’s Think lessons use a variety of English texts – fiction, poetry, non-fiction and film and are designed to be used fortnightly. They involve reading, open-ended questioning and structured group discussion. Students don’t even need a pen as the lesson relies solely on their ideas about the text. The lessons systematically develop their skills of inference, deduction and analysis, increasing their confidence, resilience, understanding and ability to express their ideas. The programme helps all students to thrive and make good progress.

The WJEC Film Studies A Level course is a two year GCE course covering a range of both theoretical and practical skills that allow students a more analytical approach to film experience. 

Film Studies is a subject that, by its nature, requires candidates to consider individual, moral, ethical, social, cultural and contemporary issues. The examination topics within the course include Hollywood 1930-1990, British film since 1995, Global Film and Documentary Film.  As part of this, students will watch and analyse films such as Blade Runner, Vertigo, Trainspotting, Pan’s Labyrinth, Amy and Strike.  In addition, students will complete coursework where they plan and write their own screenplay.

Enrichment and Extra Curricular Activities

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The English department celebrates National Poetry Day, World Book Day and Shakespeare’s birthday each year. Students complete a range of activities and are invited to enter competitions with prizes to be won.

Poetry and writing competitions are organised by the department each year.  These are advertised in the department and students are encouraged to take part.

At KS3, there are also opportunities for students to be a part of the Carnegie Book Shadowing group or to join Film Club, a vibrant initiative run by the British Film Institute where students have the opportunity to watch and review films.

All students are encouraged to participate in our reading challenge and challenge themselves to earn our mile stone reading badges.

Support within English and Film Studies

Our Curriculum Support Officers are friendly faces in the department and provide classroom and one to one support for students.  We also have Learning Support Assistants in the department who have the specific subject knowledge to be able to support students. 

Across the year groups, data collected on students in carefully analysed and appropriate interventions are put in place be that in the classroom, lesson intervention sessions, or targeted sessions during registration or after school.

For A Level Film Studies, we offer a number of catch-up and improvement sessions. Some of these offer targeted feedback and improvement opportunities and students are invited to these specifically. Other sessions are drop-in surgeries which students choose to attend because they want to develop their coursework, want to use the equipment or want to create a media or film product independently.

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