- English

Key Stage 3

In each of Years 7, 8 and 9 students follow a structured course in English that enables them to consolidate core skills and analyse a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. Students are assessed each term for writing, reading and speaking and listening.

The study of English is arranged into three main areas as outlined below. The majority of students in Year 7 to 9 will cover most of following:


  • about the texts they have read
  • accounts of personal experiences
  • imaginative stories
  • poetry
  • letters
  • play scripts
  • expressing opinions
  • conveying information eg. guides or directions
  • for different audiences eg. designing adverts

Students practise the skills of writing in draft, then correct and edit this first version to produce a redraft. They are taught the importance of presentation and the need for accurate spelling and punctuation. Understanding of grammar is equally important.


  • books of their own choice (and completing the different stages of the Reading Record scheme)
  • shared class novels
  • poetry
  • play scripts (including Shakespeare)
  • non-fiction
  • media text

Students regularly read silently, read aloud and begin to develop their own preferences. One lesson per fortnight, classes visit the library. They learn to ask questions of a text and go beyond the literal meaning. They also learn the skills of scanning for information and selecting appropriate information for particular tasks; using reference tools such as dictionaries, thesaurus and online tools like Inanimate Alice.

Set in a technology saturated near future, Inanimate Alice tells the story of a girl called Alice, merging text with animation, videos, music and games to explore what it means to conduct your life online. It is studied by year 7 students.

Speaking and Listening

Students speak and listen in various situations:

  • in various situations
  • to the whole class
  • in smaller groups
  • in pairs 

Students learn to have confidence in speaking in front of their peers and to cooperate in groups or in pairs. They are taught the importance of listening and how that can facilitate productive discussion. Students talk about their reading and writing, as all the areas of English interact with each other, and are involved in debates.



English (IGCSE Syllabus No. 0500) and English Literature (IGCSE Syllabus No. 0486)

In English, students are encouraged to develop a keen interest in all kinds of reading, both fiction and non-fiction, helping them to develop their aesthetic and imaginative lives, and also their ability to think independently. Students become more confident in expressing their ideas and opinions convincingly in both written and spoken forms.

All students in Years 10 and 11 follow two IGCSE courses which should lead to IGCSE English for all students and IGCSE English Literature for most. During the course, students continue to develop core skills in English and meet increasingly challenging texts and tasks.

The assessment of each IGCSE is by both coursework and examination:

  • In IGCSE English, the examination will require a response to non-fiction and media texts. Students will need to be able to demonstrate their ability to write for a range of purposes. This represents 50% of the IGCSE. 
  • 50% of IGCSE English will be assessed by written coursework. Students will write expressively and analytically. They will also produce a piece of writing in response to texts containing facts and opinions.
  • Students will also be awarded marks for oral communication.
  • In IGCSE Literature, the examination will require students to demonstrate their ability to respond critically to the set texts they have studied during the course. These will include poetry, prose and drama.
  • The IGCSE English Literature course is assessed through examination. Students are assessed on their knowledge of the texts study throughout the course and on their understanding of unseen texts.

The table below provides a brief overview of the IGCSE course for examination:

IGCSE First Language English 0500

IGCSE English Literature 0486

Paper 2: Written Examination 50% (2 hours)

Paper 1: Written Examination on Set Texts –
Open Books 75% (2 hours 15 minutes)

Coursework Portfolio 50%

Paper 3: Unseen 25% (1 hour 15 minutes)


Language A - English

Higher and Standard Level

These are rigorous pre-university courses in the study of  texts in the candidate’s first or best language. The courses develop analytical and critical thinking skills as well as an understanding of historical, social and political contexts of a variety of cultures over time viewed through the lens of literature and examined through theoretical frameworks such as Marxist/ post-colonial, feminist, psychological, formalist/structuralist and reader-response critiques.

At BSJ the majority of students study English as their first language but other options such as Indonesian and Korean are also available. A significant number of BSJ students are able to take a second A Language thereby earning a bilingual diploma.

Group 1 Language A

  • Literature (Higher and Standard Level)
  • Language and Literature (Higher and Standard Level)

Literature students at Higher Level study thirteen texts that are assessed internally through two oral assignments (30%) and externally through 1 written essay (25%) and a final examination comprising 2 papers of 2 hours duration each (45%).Standard Level students study nine texts and the assessment is through 2 orals (30%), 1 written essay (25%) and a final examination of two papers of 1 ½ hours each.

Language and Literature is a course that values literary texts and non-literary genres equally. This is an ideal course for students who want to retain an engagement with literature as well as extend their analytical and critical thinking skills to a wider range of oral, written and visual texts and providing a greater engagement with and understanding of media texts, the use of language in a variety of cultural contexts, the way language shapes our identity and perceptions and is in turn impacted upon by our experience.

Language and Literature Higher Level students take two papers of 2 hours each in the year-end final examination comprising 50% of the grade awarded. Students also submit two out of a possible four written tasks for 20% external assessment. The two oral assessments will account for the remaining 30% of the assessment.

Students taking Language and Literature at Standard Level are assessed through two papers in the final examination of 1 ½ hours duration each and weighted at 25% each thereby comprising 50% of the total grade. Additional coursework will include a range of written tasks of which 1 will be submitted for external assessment. Internal assessment will be through two orals accounting for the remaining 30% of the grade awarded.