The English Department has an excellent history of success over the years, with at least 60% of students gaining a C or above at GCSE. More than three-quarters of the students also take GCSE English Literature, and our results here are consistently around the 80% mark. Given that we can lose some of our more able students to Hautlieu at the end of Year 9, these are impressive figures. We can and do offer GCSE Media Studies, sometimes as an alternative to Literature, and sometimes as an additional GCSE for more able students.
Years 7 to 9 follow the National Curriculum of England and Wales, so transfers between Jersey and the UK are trouble-free. In Year 7, students stay in their form groups, which we feel helps them to settle into their new school easily, and the teaching allows them to progress at a pace appropriate to their ability. Thereafter, in Years 8 and 9, each half of the year group will have one top set for the more able students, and two mixed-ability sets. Placements are not set in stone, which allows us to make changes should they be deemed desirable. Our team is a long-established one, very experienced in mixed-ability teaching, and we find that our system keeps students motivated, whatever their ability. Students with educational needs are supported in the department in consultation with our Educational Needs Co-ordinator (ENCO).
Setting in Upper School is broadly similar, with one or two top sets, then three sets of students deemed to be at the C/D borderline. All of these will take two GCSEs, English Language and English Literature. We then have two smaller sets for those students who need extra support and will take only English Language and/or Functional Skills. We have found over the years that this flexible broad-banding approach increases motivation and raises performance. It is not uncommon for students in mixed-ability groups to gain A and B grades. The vast majority of our students take English Language at GCSE, and those for whom this course would not be suitable follow a programme which allows them to acquire English Functional Skills at both Levels 1 and 2. For all of these courses, we use the WJEC examination board, as we know that it has consistently allowed us to structure learning which caters for the needs and abilities of our students.