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Homework: English

HOMEWORK: ENGLISH

Ethos of the department:
The teaching of English at Prince Henry’s covers Year 9, three GCSEs (including Film Studies) and three A Levels and is an integral part of learning for our students, particularly considering the linear nature of the new GCSE and GCE (A Level) courses. Throughout our students’ time at Prince Henry’s – be it 3 or 5 years – our aim is to instil students with a love of English and to promote the importance and value of independent learning.

We consider setting regular and challenging homework as an essential part of achieving success in our subjects and motivating our students to achieve their potential. Homework tasks within the English department will:

  • Build on and reinforce learning from class work: revision of content, key themes, ideas.
  • Develop students’ independent learning skills through extended projects and other opportunities which require research skills
  • Teach students the specific skills required for performance in GCSE and A Level Examinations or develop academic essay writing skills.
  • We also expect all students to read frequently, to maintain a love for reading.

How much homework is set?
Key Stage 3: Students are expected to complete an average of 1 hour per week in English

GCSE: Students are expected to complete an average of 1 homework for approximately 1 hour each per week. This homework will take various forms.

A Level:  Students will be set homework in most lessons that will reinforce learning in a lesson, or help to prepare the students for coming lessons. Essays will also be set regularly. They will also have a schedule of work to complete in private study.


Homework Activities and Tasks

Key Stage 3: English

We aim to use a range of homework activities and set all of it on SHOW MY HOMEWORK, to engage students and inform parents. Tasks are differentiated and are set to provide an appropriate level of challenge for students of all abilities.

  • Research tasks: To support the texts and topics covered, students may be asked to research around the topic area in preparation for a lesson or to consolidate their learning of a topic or text.
  • Doddle: Each student has their own log in to this skills site. It is a fantastic resource to develop students’ literacy skills. This is also included in our lessons so students are aware of how to use it for maximum benefit.
  • Creative tasks: embedded in our taught units are creative tasks that surround novels and plays studied across the year to develop a love of Literature. This includes completing a theatre programme based around Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
  • Reading homeworks: students are often set reading work to complete.
  • Spelling work: students are set specific words to learn to develop literacy skills and prepare them for text and topics studied.

GCSE: English Language, English Literature and Film Studies

We aim to use a range of homework activities and set all of it on SHOW MY HOMEWORK, to engage students and inform parents. Now that all the Literature exams are closed book, meaning that students will not have the text in the exam with them, learning and memorising content is more important than ever, as well as having a secure understanding of the key skills which are being tested. To support our students so that they are well-positioned to achieve their potential, we set a variety of homework tasks:

  • Research tasks: To support the topics covered, students may be asked to research around the topic area in preparation for a lesson or to consolidate their learning of the context of a novel, or play. Author’s background or other relevant topic.
  • Literature-based essay questions: A key skill in English is being able to write academically – students will often be set paragraph, or essay tasks to respond to a question on a Literature text.
  • Exam strategies and questions: As part of our preparation for the exams, we will often go through an AQA English Language Paper in class, and the key skills required for each question – students will then complete a separate homework paper to consolidate learning.
  • Links to websites and videos: We share useful places for students to review and refresh their learning. This is very helpful for learning in different ways.
  • Revision schedule: Year 11 we give students ideas of timings and topics for revision to prepare them for linear exams from December to May.
  • Revision checklist: In Year 11 students will be given an overview of all the content and skills they need to know for the exams. This is to help promote and focus their revision in those crucial months leading up to the exam.

A Level Film Studies

Students will be set tasks to complete outside the classroom both as homework tasks and as part of their Private Study.

  • Research tasks: To support the topics covered, students may be asked to research around the topic area in preparation for a lesson or to consolidate their learning of a topic.
  • Tasks to apply new knowledge: These activities might include consolidation of new information learnt in a lesson e.g. presentations.
  • Essays (examination style questions): This homework is set in accordance with the EDUQAS exam board and helps the students to develop their examination technique and understand the range of examination questions they will face.
  • Coursework: Students have to complete Non Examination Assessments as part of the course: they will be given specific tasks and deadlines, including interim deadlines, to complete production work.
  • Private Study Schedule: Students will be issued with a list of tasks to help develop their independent learning skills and to supplement, develop and consolidate the areas studied in class. We hope that this will also help to promote a love of learning, and the subject.

A Level: English Language

We aim to use a range of homework activities to develop, deepen or extend our students’ learning and understanding of taught topics:

  • Research tasks: To support the topics covered, students may be asked to research around the topic area in preparation for a lesson or to consolidate their learning of a topic.
  • Tasks to apply new knowledge: These activities might include consolidation of new information learnt in a lesson e.g. presentations.
  • Exam style questions: This homework is set in accordance with the AQA exam board and helps the students to develop their exam technique and understand the range of exam questions they will face.
  • Non-Examined Assessment (NEA): Students have to complete Non-Examined Assessments as part of the course – they will be given specific tasks and deadlines to complete work. This is similar to what used to be know as coursework.
  • Reading lists: Students will be issued with a reading list with all the units covered in the A Level course and private study schedule to help facilitate their independent skills and develop a love of learning, and the subject.

A Level English Literature 

Students will be set a range of tasks to develop and extend their knowledge and understanding of particular texts, topics, or concepts:

Essay tasks: Students will be set regular exam-style essays to practise their essay technique, but also to practise responding to a task. On occasion, these will be timed essays.

Knowledge tasks: Students will be set short answer questions on topics or texts to deepen their understanding. These may be as a revision tool or as preparation for upcoming lessons.

Research tasks: In order for students to get the most out of the course and to deepen their understanding of texts, it is important that students complete research on particular topics.

Wider reading: For students to develop a holistic understanding of literature, it is important that they read around the topic or texts we are studying. This may mean other writing by the same author, texts about the same topic, or literary criticism. We see wider reading as an important part of the course at it prepares students well for life-long learning and university. To help students focus their reading, we provide a reading list at the start of the course and will direct some of their reading.

Non-Examined Assessment: As part of the course, students will compete an NEA assignment (similar to what used to be known as coursework). Students have the opportunity to choose their own tasks and one of the texts they will be using. They will be given clear instructions and support when they get to this part of the course.


Sixth Form Private Study tasks
Students are expected to use their private study sessions to complete relevant work each week. These private study tasks will be issued to students on a termly basis and this will be monitored by their teacher.

Support from parents and guardians
Parental support is vital and a huge contributing factor to a child’s success in school and we encourage it at every level. To support parents, we have included some guides and information on the school’s website as we recognise the challenge facing parents when they want to help their child, but don’t know where to start.

Talking to and engaging with your child about his or her learning is very important and will have a positive impact on their progress. By asking them questions about their work, you can help to clarify his/her understanding and improve his/her use of key terms, ideas, and texts. This in turn, builds their confidence and motivation.

When your child is revising for upcoming examinations or tests, you might help by testing that they know the key points; this can be very effective and we will have suggested that our students ask you to do this!

September 2018