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Curriculum Director Robert Stott



Subject overview

The aim for English is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping students with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through experiencing a range of texts and widespread reading for enjoyment.

The English curriculum is challenging and inclusive, enabling all learners to be successful in the wider world. Over time students will build significant cultural capital, become critical thinkers and develop judgement. The curriculum is designed to foster a love of reading and writing through the study of a rich and engaging variety of whole texts from different genres, in particular those from the English literary heritage and texts of universal significance.


The curriculum builds on Key Stage 2. Students develop skills and knowledge learnt in primary school with ever greater sophistication, depth and independence. Teachers unpick complex activities for students, and teach these as explicit knowledge, until they have been assimilated by them and become skill. For example, we develop students' writing fluency through the explicit teaching of grammatical accuracy, revisiting and consolidating the knowledge of grammar taught previously.


Key Stage 3 Overview

At Key Stage 3, students study the English Mastery curriculum. The cumulative, knowledge-rich curriculum develops students’ ability in English while discrete grammar teaching improves precision and accuracy in students’ writing. The curriculum supports students to master the ideas, concepts and stories that have shaped the world and explicit vocabulary instruction empowers students with the language to access great works of literature and to express their own personal voice.

Year 7

Responding to literature:

· October, October by Katya Balen

· A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare

· Non-Fiction Reading – conflict theme

· Poetry Unit of study

Creative writing and oracy:

· Descriptive writing

· Poetic responses to one’s environment

· ‘Off By Heart’ Poetry recital


Year 8

Responding to literature:

· A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

· The Tempest by Shakespeare

· Dracula extracts by Bram Stoker

· Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Creative Writing and Oracy:

· Narrative Writing

· Gothic writing and epistolary form


Year 9

Responding to literature:

· Pigeon English by Stephen Pullman

· Romeo & Juliet by Shakespeare

· Speak Out poetry: a selection of poems that engage with political issues from across the world.

· Non-fiction reading and GCSE Speech Writing

Creative writing units:

· Persuasive discourse: writing articles and shaping debates.

· Oratory: speech writing and performance.

· Political poetry recital

KS3 Homework

Homework is set weekly and students should spend approximately one hour on the set task(s). Homework may include revision for class quizzes.


Key Stage 4 Overview

Students study a range of engaging and significant fiction and non-fiction as part of their preparation for exams in GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. The curriculum aims to support students to appreciate the depth and power of the English literary heritage and critically evaluate texts through the close and careful examination of writers’ methods and purpose within the specific contexts in which the texts are produced and received. The course privileges the process of making autonomous meaning, encouraging students to debate and challenge the interpretations of other readers as they develop their own informed personal responses and building on the knowledge and skills they have developed through their Key Stage 3 study of English. Spoken language continues to underpin the development of students’ reading and writing skills and students are supported to develop their speaking skills for a range of contexts confidently and competently.


Year 10 topics

A Christmas Carol

Power and Conflict anthology poetry (two clusters focusing on war and power)

An Inspector Calls


English Language preparation

Spoken Language


Year 11 topics

Power and Conflict anthology poetry (one cluster focusing on identity)

Unseen poetry

English Language preparation

Targeted revision of all texts


How is this qualification assessed?


AQA English Language (8700)

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

Section A: Reading (questions on one literary fiction extract)

Section B: Writing (descriptive or narrative writing)

Written exam, 1 hour 45 minutes, 80 marks available, 50% of GCSE.

Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives

Section A: Reading (questions on one non-fiction extract and one literary non-fiction extract)

Section B: Writing (writing to present a viewpoint)

Written exam, 1 hour 45 minutes, 80 marks available, 50% of GCSE.


AQA English Literature (8702)

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel

Section A Shakespeare: students will answer one question on Macbeth. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.

Section B The 19th-century novel: students will answer one question on A Christmas Carol. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.

Written exam, 1 hour 45 minutes, 64 marks available, 40% of GCSE.

Paper 2: Modern Texts and Poetry

Section A Modern texts: students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on An Inspector Calls.

Section B Poetry: students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from the Power and Conflict anthology cluster.

Section C Unseen poetry: Students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.

Written exam, 2 hours 15 minutes, 96 marks available, 60% of GCSE.


Key Stage 4 Homework

Homework is set weekly and students should spend approximately one to two hours on the set task(s). Homework may include revision for class quizzes, writing responses to exam questions, reading and re-drafting.


How is this subject assessed?

Students are assessed through class work, quizzes, homework, walking talking mock exams and formal Pre-Public Examinations. Students are routinely required to complete exam responses in timed conditions during lessons and they receive detailed feedback in response to two extended pieces of writing every term in addition to feedback they receive for assessments or exam papers that they complete.


How does this subject fulfil SMSC needs?

The literature taught across key stages supports the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our students by encouraging critical thinking, debate and the consideration of different perspectives through close consideration of a wide range of significant concepts and issues as well as an appreciation of different cultures and contexts.


How does the subject challenge more able pupils?

Weekly co-planning sessions at Key Stage 3, involving all the English teachers working together, include careful consideration and development of the curriculum to ensure our more able students are challenged effectively in lessons while regular library lessons provide teachers with the opportunity to support students in identifying and selecting challenging reading. At Key Stage 4, additional wider reading is set and tasks are developed and extended to challenge student thinking. Masterclasses are also provided for students to further develop their understanding of GCSE texts. Pupils are taught in groups created on ability and achievement.  


What provision is made for pupils with SEND?

Teaching is differentiated and personalised to meet the individual needs of our students with special educational needs. Wave one classroom interventions include a range of strategies while weekly co-planning sessions at Key Stage 3 support careful consideration and development of the curriculum to ensure effective provision for specific students.


Enrichment and extra-curricular opportunities

Students benefit from a variety of lunchtime and after school clubs, including reading club and creative writing club at Key Stage 3. Writers are regularly invited to deliver sessions in the LRC and students are encouraged to enter a variety of internal and external writing competitions. We aim to arrange trips to the theatre and lectures wherever possible, for example recently taking students to see Macbeth at the Globe Theatre and also to see An Inspector Calls.


Useful websites

BBC Bitesize: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize

AQA GCSE English Language: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse/english-language-8700

AQA GCSE English Literature: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse/english-literature-8702