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The English Department’s Vision Statement:

We aim to inspire, educate and empower the students of today and leaders of tomorrow by meeting their individual needs in the here and now and forearming them with an arsenal with which to tackle the battles of tomorrow, for the pen is far mightier than the sword.

We are a committed and enthusiastic English department. We believe in active lessons, where engaged participation enables students to learn. We are passionate about teaching English. Our most important work is in the classroom, where all students deserve the opportunity to succeed. Teaching and learning is at the centre of our educational thinking, empowering us to lead students to an ever-greater realisation of their abilities. We aim to inspire a positive ‘can do’ attitude, enabling students to become creative, independent learners.

English is at the heart of everything. We believe our students have the right to be articulate – in speech and in writing. They should feel confident in making themselves understood, in explaining their feelings and ideas and in arguing a point of view. As well as communicating in a lively and informal way to a group of peers, students should be taught to realise that there is variety in language and in audience. We should empower them and enable them to make the appropriate decision in the right context.

An important part of English is learning to understand and engage with the multiple ‘voices’ of our world. They should be encouraged to question the meaning of what they see, hear and read – that which is presented to them as ‘truth’. In this way students find their own voice, learning to become more subtle and perceptive communicators.

Encountering poetry, prose and drama from different cultures, historical periods and perspectives is another vital aspect of English, broadening students’ horizons and allowing them extraordinary insights into the experiences and minds of others.

Writing creatively and with a real purpose is central to what we do. It is the opportunity to explore who we are – a way of ordering and making sense of our experience. The audience for this can be yourself or others. Rather than seeing writing as a dull chore, we want our students to recognise it as a liberating force. Excitement and enthusiasm for writing is at the core of English teaching and learning.



Key Stage 3

Year 7: In the Autumn Term, students study Private Peaceful and the influence of the First World War upon Literature. We find this especially appropriate as we remember those who have lost their lives on Armistice Day.

In the Spring Term, students explore a range of age and stage appropriate poetry, looking at poets, context and poetic techniques.

In the Summer Term, the focus moves to the Gothic Genre and literature of the 19th century. This is accompanied by Writing to Argue, with clear links to the new GCSE specification.

Year 8: In the Autumn Term, students further develop their knowledge of the 19th century by studying The Picture of Dorian Gray, alongside creative and descriptive writing.

In the Spring Term, the focus changes to William Shakespeare, where students will explore a wide variety of texts and will look at Letter Writing Through the Ages, something that very much supports their ability to be able to create texts of different genres.

In the Summer Term, students have the opportunity to explore Of Mice and Men, a text that is no longer part of the KS4 curriculum but we believe to be an important part of a young person’s literary journey. There is a heavy focus on the context of Steinbeck’s celebrated novella.

Year 9: In the Autumn Term, students begin to explore dystopian literature through the vessel that is the extremely popular The Hunger Games. Alongside this, as a perfect accompaniment, runs a Language module on Reporting the News.

In the Spring Term, students begin to prepare for the upcoming KS4 curriculum by studying the AQA Power and Conflict poetry cluster as unseen poetry. This is accompanied by Writing to Persuade.

In the Summer Term, GCSE preparation begins in earnest, with students studying a specific Shakespeare play from the AQA list, alongside the Language Paper Two: Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives.


Key Stage 4

Year 10: In the Autumn Term, students continue to develop their Language skills, looking at Paper Two in more detail, alongside the Literature focus of Modern Texts, which currently comprises An Inspector Calls or Animal Farm.

In the Spring Term, focus switches to Language Paper One: Creative reading and writing and this is accompanied by further development in the studies of Shakespeare.

In the Summer Term, students will revise for Language Papers One and Two ahead of a mock exam at the end of the year. The Literature focus is poetry from the Power and Conflict cluster as well as unseen poetry.

Year 11: In the Autumn Term, the focus begins with Language Paper Two and Literature Paper One, with the teaching of the 19th century novel.

In the Spring Term, students return to focus on Language Paper One and Literature revision for Modern Texts (Paper Two) and Shakespeare (Paper One).

In the Summer Term, students will revise as appropriate ahead of the external terminal examinations.

Useful links:

GCSE English Language Specification

GCSE English Literature Specification

Key Stage 5

Anyone who has not achieved a grade 4 in English Language will carry on studying the course and sitting the exam until at least a grade 4 is achieved. Students follow the AQA GCSE English Language specification (as above).

Students can study AS and A Level English Language and English Literature (B) which are both AQA specifications.

The relevant specifications and assessment overviews are as follows:

AS and A Level English Language

AS and A Level English Literature B


Curriculum contact: Red Bensley or Josephine de Garis for all enquiries, or Bernadette Kirby if your enquiry relates specifically to AS or A Level English Literature.



Subject Leader: Red Bensley

Second in charge :  Josephine de Garis

English teachers: Katya Gibbs, John Thurston, Natalie Sim, John Gibbens, Joanne Hammond, Michelle O’Neill and Bernadette Kirby.