Why I love…Summarising the AQA Literature Exam Reports; 19thC, Modern Texts, Poetry Anthology, Shakespeare and Unseen Poetry

I’ve spent some more time looking at and summarising what the exam board have said, in relation to the various Literature papers that students sat in 2022. Although our cohort haven’t sat the exam in 2022, they will need to know what the exam reports have said this year, and it will hopefully be useful as a one place summary for the English team too. This was a bit of a bigger job than I anticipated!

The language summary can be found here: Why I love…Summarising the AQA Language Paper 1 and 2 Exam Report

Overall the recommendations for all papers had similarities which I have listed here:

  • Plan your response based on the ideas or theme in the question
  • Spend time thinking about the direction of your argument
  • Prepare well in advance by knowing the content of the texts
  • Avoid acronyms or restrictive structures for writing
  • Instead focus on creating a line of argument that uses ideas and themes or characters from the text to clearly answer the question
  • Don’t bolt on context. Integrate it with the ideas
  • Use writers’ methods more holistically
  • Avoid shoehorning terminology into your responses
  • References are good and don’t always have to be entirely accurate direct quotations
  • Word class references are often wrong, instead focus on wider ideas around the methods used in the text
  • When focusing on structure ensure that you include why it has an effect or why the writer used it in this way
  • Making links across texts leads to stronger responses
  • Contextualising what you say in the text helps

A downloadable copy of the resource is available here:

Summary of Lit Exam Reports 2022
19th Century 
The positives 
Confident understanding of text Confident in approach to the exam – know how to respond Clear use of references or direct quotations Engagement with the writer’s ideas Students in the main engaged with the extract and whole text (infringements of this were rare) Highest level students are able to use extract and whole text to support their developed argument in response to the question Evidence of planning in the exam booklets led to engaging responses that were well planned With A Christmas Carol the extract from Stave 2 lent itself to starting with it and exploring how this structurally linked to isolation – students were able to explore the overall structure of the novella through this approach Dealing with the text chronologically enabled links to be made Contextualising Ch1 and then dealing with the extract was also good as it allowed establishing details and then exploration of how Dicken’s sought to change perceptions of ScroogeAddressing the focus of the question and contextualising the novel is important Engaging with the text in terms of themes and ideas supported strong arguments ACC most popular choice, followed by Jekyll and Hyde & The Sign of Four ACC – Conceptualised examples that moved away from just exploring Scrooge as a character and looking at Ignorance and Want etc. were excellent Jekyll & Hyde – Considering the characterisation and motivation and ideas being explored through the character worked well The Sign of Four – Exploring character relationships provided developed responses for this text Making connections and comparisons throughout as usefulComplex literary terms have almost disappeared and this is a good thing as they don’t add to the literary merit Context bolt ons of irrelevant historical detail and biographical information is now limited 
19th Century The focus to improve Some lack of confidence in how to structure and develop responses Pre-prepared sentence structures and structures hold students back and don’t support them in being clear in their argumentAvoid ‘In the extract’ openings as this stops students from contextualising the extract in the text as a whole 
19th Century Exam Board Advice for Students and Teachers Consider teaching students to create a thesis or line of enquiry for the argument Show carefully crafted models Encourage planning Remind students that they can embed the extract wherever it is suitable in the essay and that the question lends itself to ‘start thinking about the text’ using the extract as a springboardHolistic essay writing skills need building References can be holistic as well as direct quotations Frequent and incorrect use of word classes still persists and doesn’t add to the interpretation – much better to use ‘the image’ etc. Use broader writers’ methods to explore overall structure and language use within the texts Focusing on the relationship between structure and ideas is a good strategyExploring how the character represents a contextual idea through the ideas is useful rather than exploring what those contextual factors mean Take time to plan & think about how to respond to the question A thesis is powerful – set out your argument Think about a sensible starting point for your argument (does not have to be the extract) Consider the full range of ideas that develop writers’ methods Be thoughtful in word choice and use of subject terminology Focus on why the word or image has been chosen as opposed to the specific word class 
Modern Text The positives More evidence of effective planning PEE style acronyms have dropped which is excellent A sustained focus on the question was evident Clear use of references also evident Understanding of the text was good An Inspector Calls was the most popular, high level responses to Lord of the Flies and good responses to Blood Brothers, DNA and Animal Farm.AIC – higher responses looked at how and why the Inspector’s actions reflect the author’s view of society Much less bolted on context and instead this was grounded in discussion of character actions AOs were integrated throughout the writing leading to stronger coherence LOTF – Lots of high level responses and tracking of the boys’ development and the symbolic meaning Students show great awareness and maturity in the complexity of the ideas that Golding is exploringBlood Brothers – There was more awareness of this as a drama than in the past and the role of the narrator and significance of songs were more prevalent. Context was more relevant and embedded with thoughtful focus on poverty and the influence on people/characters lives DNA – Excellent textual references and consideration of character contrasts used well Animal Farm – Real development in terms of context, but with a greater focus on what the characters do and say and how this is relevant to the question Thesis statements helped students be clear from the start Students explaining the relevance of the reference and linked it to the significance of the rest of the text were awarded highly Methods instead of language, structure and form in the mark scheme appears to have supported focus on this aspect of the reason the writer was making decisions characterisation , structure etc has been more focused on A decrease in terminology spotting was seen Students appeared to have had more opportunities to discuss writer’s methods Students have been encouraged to think carefully about all aspects of context and link these to ideas or characters action in the text 
Modern Text The focus to improveOverly formulaic structures were stopping students from developing their responses to be clear When using reference you need to expand and develop on why it is relevant 
Modern Text Exam Board Advice for Students and TeachersThink about what the question is asking you to write about Provide a thesis statement/introduction to guide your argument Any references should relate directly to the taskDon’t worry about slightly misquoting as this will still count as a reference and the text is not a memory test Examiners are interested in what you think and why you think it in relation to the question Don’t technique spot: instead focus on why the writer has organised the text this way or used a particular idea or character trait etc. Focus on developing what characters do and how they respond to each other and why? 
Poetry Anthology The positives Q2 most popular (although this was the least selected unit post covid) Few timing issues Complete essays done Planning was good Less of the acronyms on papers Introductions established a line of argument Knowledge of poems was good and unseen poem choice was equally as strong Use of quotations was equally matched 
Poetry Anthology The focus to improveRemember references are what matters this doesn;t have to be direct quotations Power and Conflict – Link any comment on structure of the poem to why it means this Context that isn’t linked to the poem doesn’t work Clear understanding means to avoid straying into personal views or personal poet backgrounds Familiarity with the poems is good as this means the students remember quotations, rather than rote learning them AO2 varies in how this is approachedAvoid opening with ‘The poet uses metaphor in…’ as an opening sentence, without linking it to the context of the questionIf you are discussing structure link it to the effect and don’t just include because you think you should Some students took a different AO2 approach exploring anonymous use of soldier etc. Students should continue to explore ideas that link to context Students could link to human concepts such as love that was more engaging than social historical ideas AO3 can be covered by focusing on ideas in the poems and responding to the question 
Poetry Anthology Advice for students and teachers Consider the focus of the question Prepare with a good knowledge of the poems in advance of the exam Consider carefully the best choice of poem to compareYou don’t have to remember exact quotes You can pinpoint parts of the poem If you misquote you won’t be penalised Plan linked to the question and make it useful Make sure your introduction immediately makes a point of comparison Don’t make the introduction overly long When discussing structure or using writer’s method ensure that they are linked to the argument that you are building Answer the question and link to the ideas that these represent Don’t include random poet information or historical background Prepare well, practice responses and enjoy exploring the poems 
ShakespeareThe Positives Overall time management was good Concise responses were often better than lengthy ones Answering the question and linking back to is promotes the strongest responses References don’t have to be direct quotations and this was seen in evidence Avoid PEE style structures and have an approach that explores responding to the question instead Similar style opening sentences e.g ‘archetypal tragic play’ don’t improve responses but there was an increase in this generic type of opening An increase in reliance on online revision channels was noticed Most popular plays were Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet Where seen Much Ado and Merchant promoted excellent responses Very good knowledge and understanding of the plays was in evidence Most students moved between the extract and the whole play and didn’t feel they needed to balance their response – this was a good strategy to employ Working through the play chronologically and contextualising the extract worked well The highest level students were able to track events in the play and explore the structure and reasons for its use Macbeth – students were able to focus on AO3 well and explore a range of ways fear was shown in the play Romeo and Juliet – A02 and A03 were used well in the extract The best students explored AO2 through the significance of setting and other methods used by the author Historical context when used was muddled and didn’t show understanding AO3 using themes and ideas showed the best responses Using concepts instead of historical context worked much better (e.g power/fear etc) Placing the extract and contextualising it works well
Unseen Poetry The positives Students responded very well to this section Most understood the poems Empathy was shown in the responses Best responses understood how methods contributed to the meaning and the effect Least successful students identified methods but with little understanding of how these contributed to the meaning Those who focused on the ending as well were able to explore the close to the wider viewpoint and meaning Wider meaning and concepts were understood and focused on as well as the metaphorical meaning When students explored how the poet identified wider issues this proved successful Most addressed methods in the comparison Most attempted to make the comparison
A wide range of approaches were taken Students understood that writer’s choices were an acceptable method and explored this 
Shakespeare and Unseen Poetry The advice for students and teachers A thesis statement strengthened responses Chronological approach worked well References refers to more than just direct quotations Students with a confident grasp of the whole text did well Responses that are not pre prepared work better
Those with well selected references to answer the question worked best Structure discussions don’t always increase grades You don’t have to reference structure unless it answers the question and explores meaning The scourge of technique spotting still happens Much better to explore meaning and why Focus on line/setting etc can be literary terminology Answer the question Revision websites don’t replace the thinking you have done or the work in class with your teacher An introduction that shows understanding of your ideas is helpful Spend time thinking and planning to respond to the question When you read the extract also read the contextualising statement and then embed the extract in your essay it doesn’t have to be first You can use the extract as a thinking tool but should include some details from it in your response AO3 is themes and ideas not the facts from history How do the ideas in context link to the question being asked Film adaptations are not what is being studied so don’t analyse details from the films If you analyse structure make sure you link it to the meaning and the question Think what is the text about and how has the writer conveyed this? 

Why I love…Summarising the AQA Language Paper 1 and 2 Exam Report

I’ve spent a bit of time, as many of you will also have done, as HOD looking at results, thinking about and reflecting on the exams and considering what impact we can have on the next cohort of students. With this in mind, I’ve read and summarised both the language exam reports, so that I can have a clear one stop guide for staff and students on the return to school. It means I can share the report for reading with the team and also a breakdown/easy to read summary too. Hopefully, it might help others as well.

I will do the same with the Literature one as well, so that I can clearly understand how to guide and navigate our Year 11s towards their Literature exams in the summer of 2023, as well.

Here is the blog link to the Literature summary too: Why I love…Summarising the AQA Literature Exam Reports; 19thC, Modern Texts, Poetry Anthology, Shakespeare and Unseen Poetry

Download the word document here:

Paper 1 Summary of Exam Report 2022
OverallQ4 and Q5 were strong and areas of excellence Q2 too content focused and lengthy quotations were unhelpfulQ5 – too much contrived vocabulary leading to lack of clarity The AO breakdown on the AQA report is already very clear and a useful summary to share with students
Q1 Keep it simple – don’t overcomplicate the answer 
Ensure that you don’t misread words as this leads to errors 
Make sure you are answering the question asked not selecting information that doesn’t respond to question 
If copying information make sure that you make it make sense in the context of the question 
Don’t just copy inaccurate or incomplete sections 
Q2Be specific about the linguistic element that you are discussing 
When making inferences be careful to ensure that you are not being literal 
Don’t shoehorn terms into responses if they are not relevant to the passage 
Ensure you are clear about the effects that the language is having 
Q3Focusing on shifts of perspective is useful Linking details across the extract is useful – e.g identifying the effect of patterns in events taking place 
Focusing on the shift in atmosphere is useful 
Restricting comments to beginning, middle and end meant limited focus on other structural changes
Simple ‘makes the reader want to read on’ comments were used that don’t add to the explanation of meaning and effect 
This question was one of the weaker ones on the paper for students 
Q4 Keeping the two sides of the argument separate helps to increase clarity of the argument 
Textual references taken from across the source helps to create a clear answer 
Engaging well with writer’s methods and including elements of language and structure helps to strengthen the responses in this question 
Some contextual readings of the passage meant that students strayed too far from the content of the passage in their evaluation – stick closely to the passage 
Remember to contextualise the details across the whole passage and not just focus on individual ideas in isolation, as this impedes meaning 
Be careful to read closely for meaning and not misinterpret words or phrases
Q5 DescribeLess popular choice 
Planning effort recommended
Image as a prompt promoted strongest responses 
Use of imagination and included imagined atmosphere or structural shift to present changes of time/season/setting
Shaping the description and adding descriptive details helps to engage the reader 
Considered and planned overall structure of the writing helped create interesting descriptions 
Avoid staying in the details of the image only as this leads to weaker responses Avoid listing information in the image 
Avoid using contrived vocabulary – simple is sometimes best, especially if the vocabulary doesn’t make sense in the context
Avoid borrowing images or ideas that are easily recognisable as being from other sources – try to be original in your efforts at writing 
Q5 NarrativeMost popular choice
Response was fuller than in previous years 
Responses using historical or mythological details were successful 
Planning was thoughtful and considered and helped shape responses 
Control of plot and place meant successful responses Starting in the action was a successful way to engage the reader
Avoiding preambles is good Sensitivity to human emotions was a successful strategy 
Building tension through weather, events, character emotions was great 
A recognition in stories of the time constraints was evident and meant that stories recognised that rescue (for example) might not happen
Controlled endings with character reflection worked well
Avoid losing control of the narrative pace and detail
Avoid being superficial with the details in your idea murder or large scale disasters tend not to be successful as the time constraints mean they can’t be done well
Focus on a small event rather than a huge tragedy as this works better 
Don’t use contrived vocabulary – again simple is better 
Don’t overcomplicate the story – you can use extended metaphor etc. but make sure that the plot is clear still 
Paper 2 Summary of Exam Report 2022
OverallAdvance information was only really useful for the Q5 as this led to some students using sun headings etc. Some recreation of genre features were actually a hindrance to students rather than being helpful. Structurally for Q5 internal links between ideas needed to be stronger for some students rather than jumping from topic to topic. The AO breakdown on the AQA report is already very clear and a useful summary to share with students
Q1 Performance on this question increased by 20%
Complex vocabulary in the responses were well understood
Students appear to have been well prepared for this question 
Chronological tracking of statements was done well 
Identifying and making inferences was useful 
Encourage students to read all statements before selecting the true ones 
Misconceptions/misreading of age occurred, so remind students to check accuracy of detail through close reading
Check once you have selected four true statements
Statements are always chronological so this can help to track information 
Practice completing the check box accurately before the exam as answers circled/scored out etc led to a lack of clarity about which response was relevant
Q2Detail for Q2 is finite and specific to avoid cross over with Q4 
A slight decrease in performance in this question
Students who very clearly stuck to details relevant only to the question performed best 
Students who were able to select and infer about the contrasts in both sources performed well
Making like for like comparison meant answers were clear at Band 3
Students who were able to make extended comments on why they had created specific judgements about both sources performed at Band 4 Inferences at the higher end were able to focus on moral dilemma faced in the sources 
Poor focus on the task meant misconceptions
Writer’s perspectives are not focused on in this question as this is assessed in Q4, so students who focused on this didn’t focus on the task Inferences need to relate to question focus 
Connections between the two sources must be made Students can prepare through reading a wide variety of non-fiction and asking questions about a specific focus e.g. What, How, Why, Who, Where style questions (these are questions that are asked internally when focusing on the sources)
They are synthesising and inferring in this question 
Q3As with Q2 there was a slight drop in performance
Students were able to infer and comment on the specific use of language and the effects that this had
At the top end clear comments on how language creates effects was seen Best efforts linked effects across the source as a whole 
The accumulation of a range of language effects from across the source helped students achieve highly
Sometimes students struggled to select effective examples from the text 
Students need to select examples that they can analyse 
Focus on effects of words and phrases needs to be emphasised 
Avoid making general comments and instead be specific about the example you have selected
Don’t be too literal about the effect on the reader 
When explaining the effect make sure that it is specific about why it has this effect rather than a generalised comment
Q4 There was a slight increase on the performance in this question 
The more open nature of the question seemed helpful to students as opposed to Q2 and Q3 more specific focus 
Students need to be able to explore the writer’s perspectives
Explaining the character point of view with reasons why made clear responses 
A full response with lots of relevant details from both texts helps get the higher bands
Conceptualised approach to contrasting perspectives helps with the top band 
Tracking structural choices also helps with top band responses
Students at the top were able to discuss comparisons of nature vs humans etc
Clarity of explanation is needed to move into band 3 A mismatch in the comparison meant that different aspects were being compared making these examples unclear 
Simplified positive vs negative viewpoints stopped clear answers and further explanation of why was needed to show the reason for this response 
Comments on methods were not always supported with the reasoning to go with this
Some students wrote at great length meaning that they repeated themselves. They should be encouraged to show the skills and then move onto the next question rather than become repetitive.
Q5 Non-Fiction Writing – ArticleMark is down suggesting writing has been impacted from the disruption 
The topic was linked to the reading and this gave some students support as they could link it to the camping topic 
The question was less complex than in previous years and this supported students 
The advanced information was useful to most, but some students then wrote in columns etc, which hindered rather than helped the clarity of their argument 
A range of opinions were offered 
Some students took a moral or ethical standpoint, while others looked at it from a more personal perspective 
Subheadings weren’t helpful in creating a coherent and full argument for some students. The internal links were not as strong between the arguments when used. 
Best responses took one perspective and followed that to the end of the argument 
Appropriate and lively tone worked well 
Students were able to use own perspectives to address the topic 
Best examples were conceptualised and used, social, moral, ethical or environmental arguments to drive their writing 
Crafting of sentences and use of a wide range of punctuation helped students show that they were considering the effect of their writing 
Brief or unfocused writing didn’t achieve well and were too simple and didn’t offer explanation of the topic or opinions held
Advice style or persuasion didn’t help the arguments 
Pre prepared vocabulary lists didn’t help students 
A lack of variety in sentence types and punctuation use was also problematic at the bottom end.  

Why I love… Retrieval with Carousel.

Recently, as a team we’ve been using the ‘fallacy’ of gained time to strategically plan for next year (I realise I’m being facetious about gained time, but seriously ‘gained time’ is a bit of a myth, unless you have multiple Y11/Y13 classes!) This means that we’ve divided up all the tasks that we want to complete, which will make our lives easier next year. As the year progressed we’ve looked at what we have or have not achieved on the TIP (Team Improvement Plan) and set up a document to record ideas of things that would be useful to have done, reviewed and adapted for the curriculum. When I was speaking to our school improvement officer about the curriculum, I discussed how curriculum is an ongoing piece of work that is never completed and always under review.

As part of the work, we have tidied up the shared area, which had become a black hole of chaos and disorganisation when the systems failed earlier in the year and the wonderful IT team backed it all up in Google. We also discussed, as a faculty team, improving our home learning offer and including knowledge organiser quizzes, using Carousel as the tool to deliver this. This means that the KOs have more impetus and more relevance to the students. Also, we are doing bi-termly assessments of knowledge for students, so want to offer them opportunities that are embedded into home learning and curriculum time to learn and then apply the knowledge. To embed into curriculum time, we will be using whiteboard quizzes, habitually, to support students in all lessons. Hopefully, we will see the increase of knowledge allowing students to see an increase in their ability to apply this.

As part of the work on this I talked to middle leaders about this and this is the presentation. If you are thinking about using carousel, this might be useful.

Also, a massive shout out to the English team, who I have the pleasure to work with. They are just the best at being organised, enthusiastic and creating all the quizzes we need @katiesuther.

Why I love…What – How – Why. Just give them a structure.

The main barrier to students being able to write well is often getting started.

Previously, we might have said what is the point? (PEE/PETAL/PEEA etc are still around). Now, however we will ask students to start with the WHAT. When I’m teaching I ask students to explore What the key focus of the question is asking. E.g. What is the key focus and your idea about this?

However, even before this, I’ll be asking them to plan 3 ideas that they might use, so that they have a starting point. With Othello in Year 9, we have been looking at Act 3 Scene 3 and prior to doing any writing, we have: Read the scene together; watched the film version of the scene exploring the stagecraft to understand what the director wanted the lines to look and sound like and what the body language and facial expressions helped us to understand, annotated the scene under the visualiser; focused verbally on how Iago is presented as manipulative towards Othello; explored key quotations that answer this and looked at methods in these key quotations. Now, we are we ready to plan a response.

The question is: How does Shakespeare present Iago as manipulative in Act 3 Scene 3 of Othello?

For planning we group plan and model the first idea. Then, students have to come up with two more examples.

E.g. Idea 1 – When Iago withholds information this creates panic and uncertainty for Othello.

Idea 2 & 3 is for them to decide/plan.

Once this part is done. We focus on introductions, which we give students a structure for (they can move away from this, but generally the basics should be covered). I’d probably model an introduction using a different question and get them to use this as the supporting model for their own. The introduction structure I ask for is:

Name of author and text and main idea about the key focus. Three ideas to drive forward the argument. Include subject methods if you can. (I’m trying to move away from using terminology and standardise what they understand by subject specific language as the methods used by writers and that they can also use in their own writing.)

E.g. How is Othello presented during his speech to the senate?

The introduction:

Shakespeare in the play, Othello, presents the character Othello during his speech to the senate as a calm and rationale protagonist. Othello is shown to be calm and rationale during his detailed monologue responding to Brabantio’s claims of witchcraft; he is very polite and humble towards the senate; finally, he shows himself to be incredibly articulate and intelligent.

Now is where the WHAT – HOW – WHY structure will kick in for the main paragraphs. While, I am prescriptive with this to begin with, students who know what they are doing with analysis will move away from the What – How – Why and use these as thinking prompts, rather than sticking rigidly to the format. However, for other students they need the rigour, in order to start developing what they are saying in more detail.

I write on the board, remember to use:

What – Key focus

How – Method and Evidence

Why – Meaning/effect/intentions/context

Aiming higher – Multi-quote analysis and connotations/single word focus

I always tell students that these prompts are to help them become independent and also to help them include as much detail in the analysis as they can.

Then, I’ll model my first idea as a paragraph from the introduction model. The reason I’m using a different question but on the same play, is so that students can see the structure, but they won’t copy the ideas.

E.g. Main Paragraph 1

Othello’s monologue shows his calm and rationale behaviour as he quickly admits to marrying Desdemona, but urges the senate to understand that this is all he has done to upset her father (1). Othello’s repetition of ‘true’ in ‘It is most true; true I have married her’ suggesting he is not afraid to own up to the facts about his recent marriage to Desdemona, perhaps because he has nothing to hide (2). Although, Othello should have asked her father for Desdemona’s hand in marriage, as would be right and proper in a patriarchal society, it seems that this is not what happened (3). This admission is calm and rationale because he readily and almost immediately confesses to the truth of the situation, without any prompting from the senate and he clearly and calmly addresses them in a professional, respectful and humble manner showing that Brabantio’s claims of ‘witchcraft’ with the noun here seeming to be unfounded, as Othello appears to be the opposite of all the stereotypical claims that this would imply (4). Connotations of ‘witchcraft’ could be spells, tricks and deceitfulness, in order to gain an advantage for yourself and Othello with his mannerisms and clear intelligent speech, does not fit this pattern (5). This is also evident in the senate’s willingness to listen to Othello and believe his word as a gentleman and naval officer (6). Shakespeare may have been trying to show that black men, like Othello, would have had to prove their validity (7).

Sentence 1 – What

Sentence 2 – How

Sentence 2 – Why – meaning and why Sentence 3 – Why – Context Sentence 4 – Why – Links back to the question and uses a one word quotation to develop the meaning Sentence 5 – Connotations of one word Sentence 6 – Development of meaning Sentence 7 – Shakespeare’s intentions

I recognise that Effect is missing and we will do the micro sentence and at points word level metacognition together, so that they can see each of the component parts of the what – how – why model. This isn’t about them doing a PEA paragraph, it is about helping students form their thinking around prompt questions.

Eventually, I remove the prompts and will just rely on students knowledge of the skills that they have to apply in order to create really good paragraphs.

I’m aware that this might seem too prescriptive, but in my experience, if you give the students the knowledge to answer questions well, then you also have to give them the structures and scaffolds to answer that question well too. By using What – How – Why in this way it can unlock students ability to structure really high level analysis and support them in developing their thoughts and writing them down on paper. By having really clear expectations of what should be included in the paragraphs students are able to manipulate this, develop it and adapt it to suit their own analytical style.

One of the things that can happen with this, though, is that students will repeat themselves. This is where synonyms come in and really strong support in the lead up to the independent writing process. Also, a bit of work on context and intentions as well, so that students are not just repeating the analysis that they have extrapolated from the quotation that they have used.

Another thing I notice is that students will repeat the quotation, rather than digging deep for the meaning and this is why strong models, done live can make a difference, as well as the metacognitive process.

Obviously, I didn’t invent what – how – why, but I do strongly feel as a structure that we teach and use to support the writing process and more importantly the independent thinking process it has legs and works.

Why I love…Using Power and Conflict Introductions as revision

I’ve been thinking about how to help students make connections within the Power and Conflict poetry anthology. The main two ideas are Power and Conflict, which seems simple, but actually are two vast concepts, so I’ve decided that I should divide and conquer the poems. We already categorise them in school, thanks to the work of one of my fabulous ex colleagues. However, now I’m just dividing them by Power:

OZYMANDIAS, LONDON, EXTRACT FROM THE PRELUDE, MY LAST DUCHESS, STORM ON THE ISLAND, TISSUE, CHECKING OUT MY HISTORY

I’m using the following definition of Power:

Power: the ability or capacity to do something or act in a particular way:

And, by Conflict:

TCOTLB, BAYONET CHARGE, REMAINS, POPPIES, EXPOSURE, WAR PHOTOGRAPHER, KAMIKAZE, THE EMIGREE

I’m using the following reminder as a definition of the concept of Conflict:

Conflict: a serious disagreement or argument, typically a protracted one: (and reminding students that protracted means to last for a long time or longer than expected)

Then, I’m introducing the idea through choosing a lead poem in this case of Power, that poem is Ozymandias. Students have the introductions see below.

Obviously, there is also conflict within the poems I’ve chosen as Power poems, but for my higher prior attainers I want them to extend their thinking and decide which Power poems cross over and which conflict poems cross over and what 3 ideas would they use to introduce their thinking.

Students will need to work out what the three ideas are and they using their anthologies decide how they would evidence these three ideas using: quotations, terminology, meaning, effect and context.

The ability to quickly synthesise and compare is really high level, so hopefully the use of pre-prepared introductions will support students in being able to find a way in and aid their revision.

The Introductions for Power:

How is power presented in two poems of your choice?

In ‘Ozymandias’ by Shelley and ‘London’ by Blake power is seen as a corrupting influence. This is shown in both poems through the control inflicted on ordinary people, the way rulers are corrupt and often cruel and the hubris that is taken away by death.

Both ‘Ozymandias’ and ‘Extract from the Prelude’ use elements of nature to show the inevitable demise of man and therefore the lack of power they ultimately have. Ozymandias is the story of a powerful ruler who is reduced to rubble, despite his desire to have his likeness remembered for all time, while Extract from the Prelude is about a moment in time that created a fear through the semi-autobiographical nature of the poem in Wordsworth about his own lack of power or control in contrast to the natural elements. The poems show nature destroying mankind, how human power is fleeting and perhaps both create a moralistic impulse to be a better person.

‘Ozymandias’ by Shelly and ‘My Last Duchess’ by Browning imply that humanity seeks to have the power to control and manipulate others. This is shown through: Ozymandias’ desire for immortality, his cruelty and his ultimate demise; while, My Last Duchess shows this through the arrogance of the Duke, his control over the painting and the implication that he killed his previous wife, the last Duchess.

‘Ozymandias’ and ‘Storm on the Island’ both explore how nature can have more power that humanity and that humans need to recognise this. The presentation of power through nature is shown by: the destruction of the statue in Ozymandias, the need to bend to the will of the weather in Storm on the Island; in both poems’ natures ultimate power winning; ultimately, the way humanity can’t control nature.

In both ‘Ozymandias’ and ‘Tissue’ there is a recognition that humanity seeks to control and have power over elements that can’t always be controlled. In Ozymandias we see this in the sneering arrogance of the statue’s likeness to Pharaoh Rameses and in Tissue in the constant need to use paper to record, like the need to record for posterity in a statue. Next, we see this in the destruction of the statue and the imagined destruction of the buildings. Then, we see how nature gradually reclaims power and control over the landscape, which is similar to the reflection that humanity is not meant to last in Tissue.

‘Ozymandias’ and ‘Checking out my History’ are both poems which use power to seek to control others. We see this in ‘Ozymandias’ when he seeks to build a statue to keep him alive metaphorically and in Checking out me History in the colonialisation of the education that was given to Guanyin people. Also, this is shown when the arrogance is destroyed as the statue has not survived and the way that Agard seeks the truth of his own identity. As well as this there is the recognition that power does not last in Ozymandias and that in Checking out my History there can be a reclaiming of your identity which breaks that control others had.

The Conflict Introductions:

How is conflict presented in two poems of your choice?

In ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ (TCOTLB) and ‘Bayonet Charge’ (BC) conflict is presented as something that both the collective and individual soldiers suffer. They differ as TCOTLB is about the collective experience of multiple soldiers, they mostly all die and they are honoured to do so, while in BC the experience is of the singular soldier, the soldier doesn’t die in the poem and he loses his faith in the purpose of the war.

In ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ and ‘Exposure’ conflict is presented as something that they collectively endure. In TCOTLB they suffer from the mistakes of superior officers, while in Exposure they suffer from the lack of suitable equipment, arguably foisted upon them by their superior officers. Then in TCOTLB many die, likewise in Exposure. While, finally, in TCOTLB they endure the pain and suffering of conflict for the honour of their country and don’t question it, unlike the men in Exposure who start to lose hope and question the reasoning behind the conflict.

In ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ and ‘Remains’ conflict is shown through the external experience of war and the internal suffering this can cause. TCOTLB is different to Remains, as the soldiers in The Charge of the Light Brigade are in a conflict zone, while in Remains they are peace keeping. TCOTLB refers to biblical allusions as if this might comfort, while in Remains the man sinks his sorrow in drugs and alcohol. Furthermore, in TCOTLB and Remains more than one soldier suffers as a result of their experience of conflict.

Conflict can be classified as the physical or mental suffering undertaken during an experience or second-hand experience of warfare. ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ is an example of collective suffering, while ‘Poppies’ is an example of second-hand suffering. The soldier in TCOTLB die, while the mother in Poppies experiences loss of a son. The soldiers in TCOTLB’s conflict are immediate and violent, while the mother’s is emotional and removed from the physical conflict. This makes both poems resonate differently as the perspectives shown are collective and personal.

Tennyson’s conflict in ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ is told from an outsider’s perspective, which is similar to Duffy’s ‘The War Photographer’. The conflict happens to the soldiers in TCOTLB and to the civilians in TWP; the conflict is raw and physical in both poems; the way the conflict is remembered is also seen as important in both poems.

‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ and ‘Kamikaze’ are very different poems about conflict. The soldiers in ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ don’t have the same choice to turn back as the pilot in ‘Kamikaze. The soldiers lose their actual lives in conflict in TCOTLB, while metaphorically the man loses his family in Kamikaze but remains alive. Finally, a sense of honour is evident in TCOTLB, which is missing in Kamikaze, despite this being a hugely important Japanese cultural ideal.

Tennyson’s ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ and Rumens ‘The Emigree’ explore conflict differently as they have different experiences of conflict zones. In TCOTLB the conflict is real, immediate and ordered by superiors, while in The Emigree, the conflict is internal, as a result of being displaced therefore not immediate and controlled by the authorities ruling the place that the emigrant once called home.

Why I love…Comparison Collection Power & Conflict AQA

I thought I’d add links to all the blogs on the AQA Power and Conflict Anthology here to make it easier to see.

Why I love…Comparing Exposure with Remains

Why I love…Comparing Poppies with The Charge of the Light Brigade

Why I love…Comparing poems “Poppies” and “The Emigree” AQA Power and Conflict

Why I love…breaking down comparisons for AQA Power and Conflict

Why I love…Comparing poems Kamikaze and Remains

Why I love…Comparing Ozymandias and London

Why I love…Comparing poems “Exposure ” and “Charge of the Light Brigade”

Why I love…Comparing poems – The Process of teaching comparison – COTLB & Exposure

Why I love…Comparing Poems: AQA ‘Checking Out Me History’ with ‘The Emigree’

Why I love…Revising Power and Conflict: Comparing Bayonet Charge & Exposure with @FlipsCoCards

Why I love…Comparing Tissue and The Emigree

Why I love…Comparing in the AQA Anthology: Poppies and War Photographer

Why I love…Comparing Poems: AQA Charge of the Light Brigade and Bayonet Charge

Why I love…Comparing Poems: AQA Exposure by Owen with Storm on the Island by Heaney

Why I love…Comparing Poems: AQA Extract from the Prelude and Storm on the Island

Why I love…Comparing AQA poems a series: Ozymandias and My Last Duchess

Why I love…Approaching the AQA Power and Conflict slightly differently

Why I love…Breaking down the comparison process

Why I love…Building Writing Stamina (English Literature)

Recently, we have been working really hard on building writing stamina, which has definitely been an issue that we have identified after the periods of not being in school from Covid. As a team we’ve done this in many ways with the following as a list of some of these and I can’t take credit for all of them as these are ideas and suggestions that are shared in the English department office:

Short bursts of timed writing

Increasing the timings for the short bursts

Writing to time under the visualiser with students copying along (while also explaining the process) and them being allowed the allocated time that it should take

Dividing the essay into timed segments – plan: 5 minutes; intro: 5 minutes; paragraphs 12 – 15; conclude: 5 minutes. So, that students are aware of how long they should be spending

Writing frames

Using success criteria

Modelled answers

Walking talking essay practice

Giving introductions pre prepared for them to use to build on

Planning 3 ideas for multiple essay ideas

Mind mapping together as a group with the question on the board and then writing after the lengthy discussion

Working backwards from the effect to the evidence and meaning

Working backwards from context and intentions to the events that it links to

Using examples from the class

Modelling live

Prepared models that are used to springboard into the essay

Breaking down the key skills

Repetition of ideas

All of the above have helped with students beginning to speed up under timed conditions.

With one student, I have banned crossing out as they cross so much out that they don’t then have very much written down and the quality of what is crossed out is usually really good.

The framework that we use in class is pretty standard and once students know what the components are within as essay, they can really quickly become much more effective writers. Although the following structures might seem overly prescriptive, they really have helped my students be able to write quicker. I specify that the order isn’t prescribed. Once they know what to include in the different sections of the essay they are freed up to really only think about the content that they want to include in their essay. What we want is students understanding the components that make up good essays so that they have the writing process automatically embedded and they have the schema built internally to be able to adapt the essay structure to suit what they want to say.

Structuring a Literature Response for these texts

  • Question Only – Modern Text: Animal Farm 
  • Comparison: Power and Conflict 
  • Extract to whole text – Shakespeare / 19th Century Novel 

Introductions should include for all above (except unseen single and comparison) 

Author and text name, context point, key focus idea about the question. Three main events/ideas that you will explore in the text (with the extract one of these ideas will come from the extract) 

Consider – Start – middle – end of the text in order to cover the whole text in your response and show a good whole understanding. 

E.g., (Author) in (Text), (context idea), presents (key idea) through… The (idea 1); (idea 2); finally, (idea 3). 

For the Power and Conflict: You will include the same introduction ideas but use comparison connectives and explore both the poems. 

E.g., Both (poet) in (poem) and (poet) in (poem) explore (key idea) by… The first connection/difference might be…; next, they are different in…; finally, they are similar in…

Main paragraphs: will focus on analysis and will generally be chronological through the text (place the extract chronologically in the essay where it comes in the book e.g., P1 – start, P2 – middle, P3 – end) 

Include: 

  • What – the link to the question for the idea from the introduction – idea 1 – paragraph 1, idea 2 – paragraph 2, idea 3 – paragraph 3) 
  • How – the evidence (direct quotations, paraphrased quotations, or single word quotation) and terminology/methods e.g. The metaphor/verb/connotations/imagery etc. 
  • Why – the meaning (literal and hidden) for the evidence that you have selected.
  • Why – the effect (how the reader might feel based on what the evidence suggests) 
  • Why – the context (how this links to the time period/history/social context) 
  • Why – the writer’s intentions (what the writer was commenting on or trying to help the audience understand) 

E.g., The (author) presents (what you think). The (terminology) in (evidence) implies…because… The reader might feel…, as they understand…Perhaps, (author) was commenting on…Contextually, this could suggest…because… Connotations of (single word) suggests…because… 

Repeat some or all of the above structures to develop your response in more detail. You need to do three of these paragraphs and highest-level responses will explore multiple quotations. 

Conclusions: You should summarise what you think and why and can include context or intentions – you don’t need to add new information 

(author) in (text) explores (key idea) through (summarise what you’ve said and your opinion). (Author) may have been highlighting (what do you think the author was saying)

Variations to the above structure: 

For Unseen Single Poem Essay – Follow the same structure as above but leave out the context as you don’t need it. 

For comparison poetry (8 marks): Complete two comparative paragraphs like this

(Author 1) in (poem 1) presents (idea of comparative point) in (evidence) (terminology) to suggest… This is shown differently/similarly (you choose) in (poem 2) when (idea about poem) The (terminology) in (evidence) suggests… because… Connotation of (single word) suggests… This is similar/different to connotations in (single word poem 2)… Perhaps these differences/similarities are (idea to compare). 

For the comparison power and conflict – use connectives of comparison and move back and forward between the two poems, always using the same poem first. You normally lead with the named poem and compare it to the one from memory.  You will be using the same overall what – how – why structure. 

E.g., The (poet) presents (what you think). The (terminology) in (evidence) implies…because… The reader might feel…, as they understand…Perhaps, (author) was commenting on…Contextually, this could suggest…because… Connotations of (single word) suggests…because… However, this is different in (poem 2) when (idea of difference) shown in (evidence) (terminology) to imply…because…Perhaps (poet) was commenting on…Contextually, this is different as…However, the similarity is also there when…

Why I love…Animal Farm Retrieval and the animals autonomy.

Recently, we’ve been teaching Animal Farm to Year 10. As we have progressed with the unit, as well as reading, summarising chapters, class discussions and writing analytically, we’ve done loads of recall for Chapters 1 to 10. The PowerPoint for this is attached below, as is the essay document from below.

As we have now finished reading, for fun I’ve created the following:

Animal Farm – Loss of autonomy

What do you notice about the majority of quotations that have been used in this essay?

How does Orwell present the loss of autonomy for the animals in Animal Farm?

Autonomy = the right or condition of self-government.

Orwell, a democratic socialist who was desperately disillusioned by political regimes, presents Animal Farm as an allegorical tale to warn society about how easy it is to lose autonomy. The animals in the novella gradually lose autonomy throughout the novella with some hope being shown in the exposition; a gradual disintegration of their rights and expectation for them to work harder until finally; they are no longer aware of their original dream of an equitable society showing that autonomy for them is not possible.

In the exposition of the novella, we see Mr Jones exercising a lack of care for the animals that mean they have no autonomy over what might happen to them. The declarative sentence: “Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the popholes.” Implies that Jones is an alcoholic, careless and uninterested in the welfare of the animals. We know that hens are preyed upon by foxes, therefore this negligence could cause the deaths of the hens in a violent, vicious and harmful way. This does not happen; however, the threat of danger means that the hens and the other animals have no autonomy over their own safety. Perhaps Orwell is commenting on the negligence and complacency that can occur when people are consuming alcohol or substances that alter the mind. Following this Old Major and the animals gather together and listen to Major’s rhetoric and dream. Orwell foreshadows his death and the speech offers the animals hope that they will have some autonomy over their own lives at some point in the future. The time discourse marker “Three nights later old Major died peacefully in his sleep.” Implies that Old Major’s death happened fairly soon after the speech that allowed the animals hope. The adverb ‘peacefully’ has connotations of quietly, gently and with little pain or suffering which makes the reader feel relieved for Old Major, as Orwell positions him as a great orator and a wise and benevolent character, who we should like. Despite Old Major’s death the animals were given hope through his rhetoric and when Jones forgets to feed them, they revolt and claim the farm for themselves. This is when the farm changes from ‘Manor Farm’ with the connotations of grandeur to ‘Animal Farm’ with the very literal representation that the animals are now in charge. Here, hope is high for the animals and the system of Animalism, which is comparable to communism is established. The seven commandments, which have biblical connotations are written on the wall and an era of autonomy appears to be starting.

Now that the animals are in charge they demonstrate responsibility, hard work and are innovative in the way that they approach the tasks on the farm. The verbs in “How they toiled and sweated to get the hay in” reinforce that they are autonomously working for themselves and they are happy to work hard as they have control over the farm. This reference to hard work might foreshadow the never-ending struggle that they will encounter throughout their autonomous ownership of the farm. Orwell might be reinforcing the hard work of the proletariat here as well, in Russia, who never saw the benefits of their own hard work and labour as the ruling classes were corrupt. As time passes the animals news spreads and “ By the late summer the news of what had happened on Animal Farm had spread across half the county.” With the time discourse markers indicating that the seasons were moving on and at this point, although the pigs have started to take control and remove the autonomy of the animals, they still believe that they have autonomy and have not yet become completely brainwashed and indoctrinated into working hard for Napoleon (representative of Stalin in Russian history.) The pigs have declared themselves “brainworkers” implying their increased intelligence, ability to strategise and reinforcing the inequality between them and the other animals. The other animals do all the hard physical labour, while the pigs increasingly take charge and control who does what, where, when and why they do this. The animals, collectively defend the farm at this point in the novella, under the leadership of Snowball. The farm is under threat when Jones and other men come to reclaim it. The Battle of the Cowshed ensues and the animals are victorious. At this point the reader might feel that this gives them autonomy, as they have successfully warded off the threat from ‘Man’ who Old Major rightfully discussed as the enemy in the opening chapter. However, the animals have failed to recognise the internal threat on the farm. They are gradually being pushed to work harder and harder and fail to say or do anything to stop this.

Trouble can be seen in the supposed autonomy that the animals have striven for. Mollie, who has always been difficult, narcissistic and against the outright banning of luxuries decides to leave the farm. She is clearly exercising her own autonomy by doing so “As winter drew on, Mollie became more and more troublesome.” Which reinforces her unhappiness on the farm, and with the increased workload, decreased luxuries and being told what to do by the pigs. Mollie is representative of the petit bourgeoisie who fled from Russia a few years after the revolution. This perhaps reinforces the unfairness of the regime that the animals are living under. Following the expulsion of Snowball any semblance of autonomy that the animals had or thought they had appears to be gone. The repeated motif in “All that year the animals worked like slaves.” encapsulates the unsaid forced labour that they have endured throughout their time as independent owners of the farm. Although they are not ‘slaves’ they are treated as though they are, even though they don’t seem to recognise this. The connotations of ‘slaves’ are to be held captive, to have no choice, to be mistreated, to have to work hard for little thanks, monetary compensation or even comfort or food and it seems evident that this is what is happening to the majority of the animals on the farm. Orwell deliberately appears to position the animals as being subjected to the most awful conditions, starvation and suffering, which they endure without saying a thing. This is reflective of Stalin’s own leadership of the country and the five-year plans that kept being increased and the failed industrialisation of the country which led to innumerable deaths of the peasant population.

Autonomy is no longer possible by Chapter 8 when the windmill falls. The pathetic fallacy in ‘It was a bitter winter.’ Increases the empathy we have for the animals who have endured harsh working conditions, starvation, hard work building the windmill and running the farm, along with the constant gaslighting they experience. Orwell would not have used the term gaslighting as this is a fairly modern representation of being manipulated and silenced and made to feel as though you are in the wrong. However, this is what the animals have experienced throughout the book, therefore it seems relevant to reference this modern contextual ideology. The animals have gradually and insidiously been stripped of their autonomy.  The most brutal, shocking and horrifying example of this stripping of autonomy could be seen as the executions “They, too, were slaughtered.” is a short to the point reference to the deaths that were carried out on Napoleon’s orders. The verb “slaughtered” has connotations of a blood bath, being killed in a horrific manner and of this being incredibly violent. This reduces the animal’s autonomy even further as they are aware that if they step out of line, this too could happen to them and even though they feel uneasy about what has happened they still say nothing. In fact, they are silenced continuously by the sheep. By this point in the novella the animals can still just about remember the principles of Animalism and the Seven Commandments that were supposed to underpin their equitable society “A few days later, when the terror caused by the executions had died down, some of the animals remembered — or thought they remembered — that the Sixth Commandment decreed ‘No animal shall kill any other animal.’” Which suggests that they are aware that they are being mistreated, but have become so accustomed to it over the years that they don’t say or do anything about it. The repetition of the verb ‘remembered’ implies that their memories are gradually fading and they don’t have a firm grasp on the original intent of the farm. As most don’t read or read only superficially, it is not surprising that the commandments have gone out of their conscious memories, as they were unable to re-read them to themselves in order to keep them fresh in their minds. By chapter 9, the autonomy that the animals have is completely reduced and the betrayal of Boxer reinforces how little Napoleon or the pigs care for the workers. Following the battle of the Windmill “Boxer’s split hoof was a long time in healing.” which was unfortunate and led to his collapse. The description of his injuries and the fact that he continued to live up to his self-proclaimed motto of “I will work harder” and the ironic “Napoleon is always right” leads to his demise. When Boxer collapses, he is betrayed in the most heinous way, by being taken to the knackers’ yard, something that was foreshadowed by Old Major in the exposition of the novella. This climatic moment, with the animals and Boxer, being unable to save him is emblematic of their lack of autonomy. Despite Boxer being the backbone of the work on the farm, he is killed and sold for monetary profit, a sad and distressing fact that Orwell might be using to show that no one is safe from the evil dictatorship of Napoleon. This leads to the fact that “Years passed.” With time discourse markers again being used to show how the loss of autonomy taking place occurred. Eventually, the narrative comes full circle with the Pigs morphing into humans and the control they have over the animals being consolidated when the omniscient narrator states:

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

Indicating in the final repetitive declarative statement that the hope the animals had initially is gone. The autonomy that they wished for will never happen and the pigs have succeeded in becoming as bad as the regime that they overthrew, if not worse as they are supposed to be on the same wavelength and journey as the animals. Orwell successfully highlights the injustice and dishonourably of the political regime and shows that no matter who is in control power is a corrupting force.

In the exposition of the novella, we see hope that the animals will be able to live an autonomous life, free from the dictatorship of ‘Man’. We continue to hope for this throughout the novella and the indomitable spirit of the animals continues to allow them to work hard through an increasingly difficult and heart wrenching series of events, until finally, the pigs have complete control and the animals have no autonomy. Orwell himself stated ““The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” Which appears to be reflected throughout the entire novella and the presentation of the animals in desiring autonomy and never achieving this.

Why I love…A crowdsourced response – Language Analysis Paper 2 AQA

At this point in term, year 11, are flagging. I’m flagging and I have a wonderful PGCE colleague taking lessons at the moment. I took a couple of lessons last week when he was on a Uni day and today.

In Friday’s lesson we looked at command words for the Paper 2 exam and some literary context.

The lesson is attached. This worked as a break from practicing the skills and gave them more cultural capital about the 19th Century.

The lesson is here with the extracts too, if useful – it genuinely isn’t massively exciting, but it worked:

Then today we looked at an extract from Oscar Wilde’s letter to the newspaper discussing the treatment of children.

This is essentially how the lesson went.

1 – Q&A session about what we learnt on Friday regarding children in the 19th Century.

2 – Read and annotate individually the Oscar Wilde source 

3 – Asked every single person in the lesson to add to the analysis and I typed it up. While I crowdsourced the response on the board typing as they told me the answer. 

4 – Annotated the elements in the answer and explored why it would potentially meet the full marks.

This is their response:

 Annotations that we made while highlighting the answer: 

1 – Introductory sentence + 3 ideas about the language 

2 – Terminology and evidence  

3 – Analytical verbs develop the argument 

4 – Analysis of meaning has two or three ideas plus a reason why 

5 – What the writer makes you feel 

6 – Conjunctive adverbs/adverbials to move onto next analysis idea 

7 – Connotations of a word is zoomed in on with a triplet of analysis 

8 – Final couple of sentences link back to the tone and writer’s purpose. 

All I did was suggest some analytical verbs and do some probing questions at times when students were stuck on what to say next. Everyone contributed and they were all engaged.

I explained my rationale, they rose to the challenge and everyone, even my most reluctant writers know what a good answer looks like in their own handwriting, so they have a benchmark to work towards.

Why I love…Teaching A View from the Bridge

Recently, with Y9 we have been teaching A View from the Bridge. Truth be told, it’s the first time in a while that I have taught the text and the audible gasps and the modern teenage interpretations have properly made me smile, laugh and given some great moments for historical context teaching. It’s also given me pause for thought and a real boost that the way Eddie behaves in his uncomfortable infatuation with Catherine, is seen by my class as completely unacceptable and as something that they need guidance on. They don’t get that the predominance of masculine behaviour was once the normal and accepted behaviour in society: this makes me hopeful for the future. Obviously, this has opened up rich discussion about how times have changed and also how quickly social change can happen.

We read the first Act and interleaved both unseen poetry teaching and Crafting Brilliant Sentences with writing (from @linseyskinner). The writing is closely linked to the topic and to the CBS lessons, so there is a coherence to the curriculum. The Unseen poetry was taught at the start of the year and the idea is to keep alive the unseen poetry throughout the year to build stamina and ability to write about this for the Literature GCSE in the next year. We teach ‘A View from the Bridge’ as a cold read, so quickly with comprehension questions. As well as this, we’ve done a variety of retrieval practice questions for daily review. Unfortunately, some of this work was lost as for a couple of weeks the school lost IT access, so predominantly retrieval activities were done on the whiteboard and then responding with feedback there and then. Then, we read the second act really quickly in 3 sessions, looking at the foreshadowing that occurs and thinking about the ending.