Curriculum Overview and Subjects

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English and Literacy

The Department

The English Department is a dynamic and flourishing department which prioritises achievement, ensuring that every student achieves. We work tirelessly to ensure that lessons are interactive and engaging as well as providing pupils with the skills and knowledge they require to grow into confident users of the English Language and rounded individuals in the adult world.

What we expect from our students

We expect that our students will attend their lessons fully equipped with their exercise books, texts book and stationary. Students can expect that their teachers will have planned engaging lessons and will mark their books in line with the school’s policy. This positive learning environment will allow pupils to thrive and reach their potential. Students should take initiative with regards to their learning, completing independent study tasks away from the classroom to the best of their ability. In English lessons, pupils are expected and encouraged to work collaboratively therefore, respect and consideration are vital.

English and Literacy


Ms Anglin Subject Leader of English (Joint)
Ms Brown English Teacher
Mr Clark English Teacher
Ms Coveney English teacher
Ms Floyd English teacher
Ms Gower English teacher
Mr Lucioni Deputy Headteacher
Ms Magill English & Literacy Coordinator
Ms Martin English teacher
Ms May English teacher
Ms Mullan English teacher
Ms Mulrooney Subject Leader of English (Joint)
Ms Parish Assistant Headteacher
Mr Webb English teacher
Ms Williams English Teacher

Key Stage 3

We whole-heartedly believe that KS3 provides the building blocks for success at GCSE. Therefore, we have created a stimulating curriculum which allows students to access a variety of written and spoken texts as well being given opportunities to create both transactional and creative written texts.

In year 7, pupils will explore a class reader, analyse poetry, read a selection of fiction and non-fiction texts and write in a variety of different forms. In year 8, pupils explore a selection of texts which cover the experiences of people from different cultures, they are introduced to Shakespeare and his plays as well as examining the spoken components of English responding to a speaking and listening activity. As they approach GCSE, we work on honing the skills they’ve already established in years 7 and 8- writing creatively and transactionally, analysing prose texts and how writers present themes and characters as well as exploring poetry- and we introduce several of the texts pupils study at GCSE (Lord of the Flies and Macbeth) familiarising pupils with the events, themes and characters of each in preparation for their study at GCSE.

Key Stage 4

Students will complete both a GSCE Course in English Language and English Literature achieving a grade from 1-9.

English Language

This course is 100% exam- this is broken in to two components.

Component 1 (1 hour 45 minutes) (40% of GCSE)- this exam will require pupils to respond to an unseen extract from a 20th century literary prose text.  They will also compose a piece of creative writing.

The questions in the reading part of the exam will expect pupils to read a fiction text (something like a story) that they will have never seen before and to answer questions on that text. They may be asked about things like how the writer achieves a certain effect, what impressions they create of something or what is learned about a character.

In the writing section, pupils need to get creative! They will be given a title and will have to produce a story that fits it. They’ll be tested on their ability to use language effectively, sustain and develop a plot and use devices, including description, to entertain the reader.

Component 2 (2 hours) (60% of GCSE)- this exam will require pupils to respond to two unseen non-fiction texts: one from the 19th century and the other from the 21st century.  They will then be required to construct two transactional, persuasive or discursive writing tasks.

The questions in the reading part of the exam will require pupils to read 2 different texts. They’ll be on a similar topic but will be written in the aforementioned time periods. This will test their ability to explore the effects of texts written for very different audiences to today. They’ll look at a variety of different texts over their GCSE course so will feel comfortable with what they are doing by the time of the exam!

In the writing part, pupils will be asked to write 2 different texts– perhaps a letter, an article, a leaflet or a report. The exam paper will ask pupils to write for a variety of different audiences and purposes which will allow pupils to write for real life scenarios.

English Literature

English Literature is broken down into two components. Please be aware that the Literature exams are closed book which means pupils will have to learn key quotations and relevant details about the characters and plot off by heart.

Component 1 (2 hours) (40% of GCSE)- this exam will test pupils’ ability to critically respond to a Shakespeare play and poetry from 1789 to the present day.

We will be studying the play ‘Macbeth’ and exploring the key characters and key scenes considering how they are presented, what themes Shakespeare presents and learning about the time in which Shakespeare was writing and how his contemporaries would have viewed a play like this. In this exam, pupils will also have to analyse poetry from an anthology which we will spend time exploring across a term. Pupils will engage with the language, structure and context relating to these poems.

Component 2 (2 hours 30 minutes) (60% of GCSE)-  this exam will require pupils to respond critically to a post 1914 text, a 19th century text and then to respond to unseen poetry from the 20th/21st century.

There’s a lot to do in this exam! They will study the novel ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding and another text from the 19th century- either ‘A Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde’ or ‘A Christmas Carol’. Pupils will learn about the characters and their lives as well as what the writers are trying to suggest about the times they are set in. In the exam, pupils will have to respond to an extract from the text and then write an essay– this could be on a character, a relationship or a theme. Finally, there’s some more poetry to analyse but this time, the pupils will compare two poems and their presentation of a theme.

Key Stage 5

English at KS5

We currently offer three courses at A-Level. Each course offers pupils a different focus for their study of English depending on what particular aspect of their studies they have most enjoyed or engaged with. We expect pupils who choose to take English as an A-Level to be independent, driven learners who can work collaboratively with peers and their teachers. Candidates who opt to do an English A-Level will be keen to explore the language and literature that surrounds us every day and will critically engage with its use and impact.

Creative Writing

Creative Writing is only available to current year 13 students as the course is concluding. Currently, it teaches students the following:

  • The ability to develop ideas through creative writing, using an imaginative approach to language and the effective use of chosen form
  • The ability to communicate clearly in accurate, well-crafted writing, with appropriate technical control
  • The ability to demonstrate critical awareness of personal writing processes, reflecting on the relationships between ideas, aims, development and technique
  • The ability to respond to existing published work as a source of learning, stimulus and creative strategy  in producing writing

This course expects students to:

  • Write regularly in a range of forms and genres in order to explore writing styles and develop technical control.
  • Read widely and critically, developing their writing skills by widening their experience of reading
  • Share work in progress with others, respond productively to feedback and develop drafting and editing skills.
  • and editing skills.

English Literature and Language

Across the two year course A- Level, students will learn how to:

  • develop and apply understanding of concepts and methods appropriate for the analysis and study of language
  • develop and apply knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation
  • use linguistic and literary approaches in reading and interpretation of texts
  • engage creatively and critically with a wide range of texts
  • explore the ways in which texts relate to each other and the contexts in which they are produced and received
  • develop skills as producers and interpreters of language.

Students work on building the skills to write in a variety of styles and research-based investigative writing, allowing students to develop a wide range of skills. These include the ability to read critically, analyse, evaluate and undertake independent research, which are invaluable skills.

English Language

  • Across this two year A-Level course, students will learn how to:
  • develop and apply understanding of concepts and methods appropriate for the analysis and study of language
  • explore data and examples of language in use
  • engage creatively and critically with a varied range of texts and resources and explore links between texts
  • develop skills as producers and interpreters of language
  • independently investigate language in use

Students are introduced to concepts and methods of disciplines of English Language/Linguistics in relation to a wide range of spoken and written forms, providing the opportunity to hone their skills of interrogating data, interpretation, analysis, evaluation, synthesis and reflection and their own creative writing.

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