Staff members

  • Mr J Jones – Head of English
  • Mrs K McAllister – Key Stage Three Co-ordinator
  • Mrs N Gallivan – Key Stage Four Co-ordinator
  • Miss J Campion – Key Stage Five Co-ordinator
  • Mrs K Elms – in charge of A Level Film Studies
  • Mrs J Daniel
  • Ms C Griffiths
  • Miss E Merrett
  • Miss L Phillips
  • Mr C Pickles
  • Mrs N Watson
  • Mrs C Welch – Specialist Subject Teaching Assistant
  • Mrs J Geary – Intervention Support (ref. Pupil Premium)

Aims and Objectives

English is a subject that is exciting because it celebrates the breadth of the human imagination and the extraordinary power of language. It explores the most central human concerns: the relationship between individuals and communities, the difficult choices we all face in life and our emotional and intellectual development. The main focus of our department is to foster pupils’ understanding of the personal and social importance of spoken and written language. Language gives pupils power over their own lives and empathy with the lives and experiences of others. We encourage this understanding through the study and enjoyment of a wide range of Literature, Non Fiction and Media texts.

The English Curriculum

Key Stage Three

At Key Stage Three, all pupils will study a range of poetry, and a class novel. In addition to this, pupils study the following units:

Year 7: The Theme of Other Worlds and Cultures

  • Other Worlds (an introductory unit, exploring reading, writing and spoken language skills).
  • Publishing Unit (studying and writing about a range of media texts for particular audiences).
  • Novel study (for example: The Other Side of Truth, King of Shadows, The Dark Horse, The Silver Crown)
  • Shakespeare’s The Tempest
  • The Poetry of Other Worlds and Other Cultures
  • Narrative writing (e.g. Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected)

Year 8: The Themes of Horror and Conflict

  • Gothic Unit (reading and writing about a particular genre of writing, including texts from the English Literary Heritage)
  • The Poetry of Conflict (including an introduction to some poems from the GCSE specification)
  • Non-fiction (historical and contemporary reportage e.g. Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, Captain Bligh’s account of the mutiny on the Bounty, wartime speeches of Churchill and Colonel Tim Collins)
  • Novel study (e.g. The Graveyard Book, Noughts and Crosses, Caught in the Crossfire, Unique, Private Peaceful)
  • Shakespeare (e.g. Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet)
  • Film (how the theme of conflict is explored through the medium of film)

Year 9: The Theme of Identity and Experience of ‘the Other’

  • Non-fiction: travel writing across the centuries (including Laurie Lee’s As I Walked Out One Midsummer’s Morning, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, Mary Kingsley’s Travels in West Africa and Joe Simpson’s Touching the Void)
  • Novel study (e.g. Of Mice and Men, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Adventure of the Speckled Band/The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Pearl, Jekyll and Hyde, Animal Farm)
  • Shakespeare (e.g. )
  • The Poetry of Identity (including an introduction to poems from the GCSE specification)
  • Language Study (how language changes and contributes to personal and national identity)
  • Film unit (how the theme of identity is explored through the medium of film)

All pupils in A4, A5 and Z4 classes in Years 7, 8 and 9 receive an extra allocation of English lessons. Where possible, these classes are taught all their lessons by the same teacher so that the additional literacy intervention is seen as part of the normal English curriculum. These classes give pupils the opportunity to explore texts such as Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Benjamin Zephaniah’s Face, Film Trailers, Graphic Novels and Traditional Tales in addition to securing the foundation skills of spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Over the course of the year, pupils will complete ‘standalone’ assessments in reading and writing. While we do not ‘teach to the test’, these assessments do draw upon reading and writing skills that have been covered during classwork.

All Key Stage 3 pupils are invited to take part in an in-house public speaking competition, with the best team from each class competing against one another in the Rotary Youth Speaks competition, from which the winning team goes on to compete at district level. All Year Eight pupils also enter the Rotary Creative Writing Competition.

The English Department uses the highly successful Accelerated Reader course with a range of classes in Key Stage Three. The scheme allows us to evaluate the reading age of pupils, guide them to books appropriate for their ability, test their understanding through an online quiz system and guide them to another choice of texts.

Indeed, the English department places a great deal of emphasis on the importance of reading for pleasure. There is an inter-house reading challenge and we also invite authors into the school to speak to Key Stage Three pupils about their work in order to encourage pupils in their reading of newer texts. We have also set up a reading group in conjunction with the Library for the CILIP Carnegie Reading Award. All pupils have access to the library and all classes are encouraged to read on a regular basis. The library is well stocked with a range of fiction. The library staff are experienced and always willing to help pupils to choose a book appropriate to their age, ability and interest.

Key Stage Four

In Years 10 and 11, there are nine teaching groups following the AQA GCSE specifications in English Language and English Literature (8700 and 8702). These specifications are single tier and are assessed entirely by written examination at the end of the course.

For English Language GCSE, pupils study a variety of high quality fiction, non-fiction and literary non-fiction texts. Descriptive and narrative writing will also be important components of this qualification. Speaking and listening skills are assessed in this specification but are accredited through a separate qualification.

Link to AQA GCSE English Language specification:


For English Literature GCSE, pupils study a range of high quality literary texts from the past and present, including:

  • Poetry (from the AQA Poetry Anthology and unseen poetry)
  • A Shakespeare play
  • A 19th century text
  • A modern text

Link to AQA GCSE English Literature specification:


Over the course of the year, pupils will complete formal and informal tracking assessments. While coursework or controlled assessments are no longer components of the new GCSE specifications, our tracking assessments still allow us to gauge progress in the various units completed.

The English Department offers after school ‘drop in’ sessions for pupils in Years 10 and 11 between October and February. These sessions are run on an informal basis, where a member of the department will help with any aspect of GCSE English Language or Literature.

From February until May, these after school drop in sessions become more formalised revision sessions which are aimed specifically at Year 11 in the time leading up to their final examinations.

A Level English Literature

At A level, the English Department offers highly successful courses in English Literature and in Film Studies.

  • In Year 12, students follow the OCR English Literature syllabus (H072) and prepare for two external examinations which contribute to a standalone AS qualification. The first of these is focused on Shakespeare and pre-1900 poetry. The second assesses students on a modern novel and post-1900 drama.

Link to AS Level English Literature specification:


  • In Year 13, students follow the OCR English Literature syllabus (H472) and prepare for two external examinations for a separate A-level qualification. A level study deepens students’ understanding of the areas they studied in Year 12 as well as introducing new pre-1900 drama texts and additional novels for a comparative and contextual study. There is also a non-examined component which allows for students to produce their own creative writing as well as a study of contemporary literature.

Link to A level English Literature specification:


A Level Film Studies

The Film Studies group follows the WJEC A Level Film Studies specification.

In Year 12, pupils complete two coursework pieces throughout the year (one practical two minute film and one analytical essay) exploring genres and cinematic styles of their own choosing. Pupils sit an external exam covering three key areas of: production and audience, British comedies, and American Westerns.

In Year 13, pupils have the opportunity to create another practical project (5 minute film) and a research product exploring the concept of the auteur in film as coursework options. Pupils sit an external exam covering: urban stories of power, poverty and conflict, spectatorship in early cinema (pre 1917), and issues and debates in global cinema.

Link to A level Film Studies specification: