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High School English Curriculum

(23 Posts)
travelmom Wed 17-Aug-16 15:04:24

I am an expat parent who has children in the American school system currently. I want to supplement my daughters' education with the British school system but cannot understand why the English national curriculum is centered around Shakespeare. I understand the cultural knowledge it gives us, but am not sure if I should enforce this onto my daughter now, as currently she is not learning Shakespeare at all.
I want her to focus on spelling, grammar, essay writing and comprehension and don't think she will miss anything if she doesn't learn Shakespeare now.
So my question is - as I am not clear on the English national curriculum will it be a big mistake not to introduce Shakespeare into my child's learning now, considering we might join the system within the next two years? confused

Seeline Wed 17-Aug-16 15:07:47

How old is she?

YellowPrimula Wed 17-Aug-16 15:09:03

How old is your DC , not sure where you are getting your information from but the English curriculum focuses on all the things you mention .In addition most children study one Shakespeare play a year , although this isn't the case in all schools.

From year 10 upwards English is two subjects , English literature and English Language , the latter covers creative writing, comprehension , persuasive and descriptive writing and reading etc.The former would include a mixture of texts one of which would be Shakespeare.

By the way I would ask HQ to move your thread to secondary education as higher education is university level .

travelmom Wed 17-Aug-16 15:09:58

She is 11 (12 in Oct), Year 8

travelmom Wed 17-Aug-16 15:12:25

Ok thanks, will try figure out how to ask HQ to move the thread (new to this).

I have been looking at books from CGP publishers for Key Stage 3 and the workbook I have seen references to a lot of extracts from Shakespeare.

Seeline Wed 17-Aug-16 15:15:02

THat's currently UK Y7 if she isn't 12 until October, so would be first year secondary school.
Both my DCs have studied Shakespeare plays since starting secondary, but have also read set books, studied poetry, and looked at a variety of other forms of writing such as factual reports, newspapers etc.

YellowPrimula Wed 17-Aug-16 15:18:50

So in the UK she would be going into year 7 which is the first year of secondary .My son is year 9 , in year 7 he did a lot of creative writing , grammar , poetry , they read a couple of texts one of which was The PHantom Talbooth I can 't remember the other and they read Romeo and Juliet , they also read and wrote poetry .

In year 8 , he read Animal Farm and The Merchant of Venice and they also looked at a poetry collection, plus all the usual essay writing, newspaper reporting, I know they also had a speech writing topic as well .I seem to remember quite a lot of descriptive writing stuff .He is top set at a selective school so there was also a lot of discussion about dystopian fiction , the power of language etc etc .

travelmom Wed 17-Aug-16 15:18:53

Ok thanks for the information. She is currently in Grade 7 in the American system which is equivalent to Year 8 in the British system.
I guess it will help if we introduce a Shakespeare book so she can get used to the Old English.
Thanks for your help.

titchy Wed 17-Aug-16 15:42:09

She's currently equivalent to year 6. Will be year 7 in September.

LIZS Wed 17-Aug-16 15:45:57

Shakespeare isn't Old English(Beowulf), it isn't even Middle English (Chaucer)!

CookieDoughKid Wed 17-Aug-16 15:52:38

I think it would be a crime not to study Shakespeare! One of the most influential writers of all time and where modern day movies and plays still reference it!! I remember watching Baz Lurmann's Romeo and Juliett as a teen having just studied it at school. Yes Baz is popularist culture but I gained so much more in the story and really appreciated more the movie and the spoken word after studying it in depth at school.

LornaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 17-Aug-16 16:10:09

Hi all flowers

We're just sweeping this thread over to secondary education.

Enjoy the sunshine!

amidawish Wed 17-Aug-16 21:59:10

our academic year runs Sept - August so she would definitely be going into yr7 in september, first year of secondary school, but would be one of the eldest (the eldest would be 12 on 1st Sept 2016, the youngest 12 on 31st August 2017. hope that helps)

DD has just finished yr7 in an academic secondary. In English she has studied My family & other animals, A midsummer night's dream, poetry, non fiction news reports, comprehensions etc...

if you may join the UK system in 2 years, so as she enters yr9 i honestly wouldn't worry studying anything specific. The GCSE course will only begin in yr10 so there is plenty of time for her to adjust. Just get her reading plenty and widely.

travelmom Thu 18-Aug-16 13:22:07

Thanks for all your information, it is helpful.

Thanks amidawish - I am lucky that she reads a lot any way.

TeenAndTween Thu 18-Aug-16 14:28:30

If you wish to introduce her to Shakespeare, can I suggest taking her to a play or watching a film. So much better than reading it. (Who reads plays anyway apart from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ?)

For example my 11yo enjoys watching the Kenneth Branagh version of Much Ado About Nothing.
Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Comedy of Errors, & The Tempest are all very accessible to name just a few.

travelmom Thu 18-Aug-16 14:56:11

Thanks TeenAndTween, yet another great idea. My husband did say she might struggle with they way Shakespeare is written, but think the movies might help. Unfortunately where we live there is no theatre for us to go to.

YellowPrimula Thu 18-Aug-16 16:34:08

There are some good Shakespeare films , like the Kenneth Branagh Much Ado. Also try YouTube there are some Clips and stuff and also people who do Shakespeare in if finger puppets or Lego which sounds mad but is very accessible and funny.

To be honest though it really won't matter if she knows nothing about Shakespeare in Year 9 . The do do some here but it's pretty minimal and they do an awful lot besides WS.

cheesychip Sun 21-Aug-16 15:22:25

Have a look at Nelson Framework for English fiction (there's one for non fiction too) Covers all in the national curriculum, has a mixture of texts, creative writing, spelling and grammar. Book 1 is the year 7 book.

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 21-Aug-16 21:22:43

DD has just finished Y7 (the academic year in which she turned 12). She studied the following texts:
The Ruby in the Smoke
Treasure Island
A Midsummer Night's Dream

They also studied these topics:
The history of the English language
Genre and the modern novel
Literary techniques / devices

She really enjoyed A Midsummer Night's Dream and watched the new Russell T Davies adaptation after finishing it (she is a Doctor Who fan).

The aspect she least enjoys is having to analyse texts using a particular method: point, evidence, technique, analysis, link.

pepperpot99 Mon 22-Aug-16 22:23:39

TeenandTween: I read plays for pleasure quite often actually. Just because you don't doesn't mean nobody else does either.

TeenAndTween Mon 22-Aug-16 22:30:05

pepper Well OK. But considering plays are designed to be performed, I don't think it is unreasonable to think that seeing them is a good plan.

(Reminds me of Educating Rita and a question about overcoming staging difficulties in a play. Rita's original answer was 'do it on the radio' about someone or other's 'play for voices')

TeenAndTween Mon 22-Aug-16 22:31:01

(I was being a bit flippant re reading plays really, sorry)

pepperpot99 Wed 24-Aug-16 14:07:22

No worries Teen; I am bit weird and have always preferred reading plays to watching them being performed, including Shakespeare !

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