National Curriculum reform: KS4 English

8th February 2013 at 15:20


  • Released, at this stage, for "information" and not "consultation".
  • Again, it is shorter than the current PoS - 7 pages.
  • It follows the structure of the KS3 draft. That is, four areas: "Reading", "Writing", "Grammar and vocabulary" and "Spoken English"
  • Similarly, the ideas underpinning the KS3 draft are echoed here.
  • "Listening" makes a tiny reappearance - within "Writing", and "Grammar and vocabulary".
  • Overall, very different to current GCSE specifications.
    • Reading:

      • A prominent place for reading, and the reading of literature in particular.
      • Slight shift from KS3 with a move from "English" to "British" fiction.
      • A focus, throughout, on the British canon. It is, therefore, pretty weighty and specifies the study of "whole texts". (Two plays by Shakespeare, Romantic poetry, a nineteenth-century novel, poetry of WWI and British fiction since WWI.)
      • A shift away from "different cultures" to "seminal world literature, written in English". One text.
      • Non-fiction appears to be relegated to a bullet point under independent reading. Will it be assessed? As at KS3, no mention of media, multi-modal texts, or more contemporary textsmodes of communication.
      • As in the KS3 draft, students to "read for understanding" and to "read critically" - comprehension and analytical skills.
      • Plays to be studied as plays but analysis in this area focused on "great dramatists".
        • Writing:

          • As in the KS3 draft, a focus on practical writing skills - non-fictionfunctional skillsformal.
          • Analytical and essay writing skills - including SPaG - central.
          • Creative writing seemingly marginalised under the "write for pleasure" bullet point. Does this mean it will not be an assessed element?
            • Grammar and vocabulary

              • As at KS3, and as presented, it appears to have equal weighting with the other three areas.
              • In addition "Grammar and vocabulary" also feature quite significantly within the other curriculum areas of "Reading", "Writing" and "Spoken English".
              • And again, "extending" and "applying" knowledge from previous key stages.
              • Spoken language study is now detailed in this area of the curriculum. Students have to show "understanding" of topics relating to spoken language whereas, as at KS3, the focus is on "using" standard English.
                • Spoken English

                  • Similar to the draft for KS3 with a focus on the use of standard English.
                  • Again, an emphasis on presenting and debating. Notion of audience made explicit at KS4.


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