Name your favourite book or TV programme.  Think of a line from a poem or a slogan from an advert that has always stuck in your mind.  Imagine that character from a play or a film that was brought to life so vividly that you could not help feeling love, hate or another emotion towards them.  It would be surprising if you were unable to: great writing – whether it is prose, poetry or for performance on the stage or the screen – is remembered with passion and passed on from generation to generation to cherish. 

Now, how about imagining that you could do the same?  All right, you might not be the next Dickens, Shelley or Keats, but – as that list proves – great writing inspires further writing and the development of talents.  If you try to increase your creative and technical ability, anything could happen.  And that, alongside enabling you to enjoy the works of others, is what we – your English and Media teachers at BCHS – strive to help you do. 

All students in the school study English to GCSE.  In years 7 and 8, students build upon their learning from primary school and continue to develop their reading, writing and speaking and listening skills.  The use of Guidance and Progress Logs and ongoing formative assessment enable students and their teachers to understand how and why they are progressing in certain areas and highlight the ones that need more attention.

Year 9 is used as a transition year in which students are prepared for the demands of the GCSE course.  For example, all assessments will be taken under the same exam conditions as they currently are at GCSE level and more sophisticated interpretative and creative skills are introduced alongside more advanced texts.

In Years 10 and 11, all students study GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature.  For English Language and English Literature, assessment is through examinations which focus on the same reading and writing skills that students were developing in previous years.  Students study a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, write in a variety of styles to suit specific purposes and reflects and explores the ways literature has shaped our culture.  For GCSE English Literature, students will study a play by Shakespeare, a 19th Century text, a modern text (either a play or a novel) and Poetry from the AQA Anthology.

At A Level, students can study either English Language and Literature or English Literature.  Assessment is through coursework and examinations, with a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts being studied.

Media Studies

Media Studies in year 9 is a foundation year for the OCR GCSE. Each half term a different medium is taught, from film and advertising to new media.  Each unit studied is accompanied by a practical task and students save their work on their own websites.  A wide range of skills is developed to suit all abilities and interests.

At GCSE, work on individual and group productions is begun, as well as controlled assessments. Students create productions from a wide range of media available worth 60% of their final GCSE and prepare for a textual analysis of film and television exam worth 40% of their final mark.

At A level, students analyse media texts in depth and find out more about how they are produced. At AS, students study TV drama and the film industry for their exam and at A2 the exam consists of production reflections and Media Collective Identity. Both foundation and advanced production portfolios focus on video. The exam is worth 50% of the final mark and the group productions make up the remaining 50%.  

Both in the Foundation Portfolio and Advanced Portfolio units, there is plenty of hands-on experience and some quite sophisticated skills with equipment and post-production software are developed. All A level production work is submitted on a website. Students also show evidence of planning, reflection and evaluation to accompany the practical work and are encouraged to “read” media texts in analytical and creative ways throughout the course.