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Course description 

The English faculty aims to inspire and encourage every student’s enthusiasm and passion for English.

By promoting high standards of literacy and equipping pupils with a strong command of the written and spoken word, we aspire to ensure that all students are prepared for life-long learning in education and society.

Through being taught to write fluently, pupils learn to communicate their ideas with others; through reading widely they have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally and morally, and through speaking confidently and listening carefully they are able to interact with the people and the world around them.

Literature plays an important role in this process, and we aspire to ensure that students access a broad range of high-quality literature to allow them to develop their own thoughts and responses to complex issues and learn how to evaluate meaning in texts.

Technical accuracy with correct spelling, punctuation and grammar, together with clear handwriting, is also key to students’ development in English, and they are taught to write clearly, confidently and fluently in an appropriate style and for a variety of contexts.



Course structure 

English is one of the core subjects taught to all students in Years 7 to 11. All students are taught English in sets which are matched to their ability, and these sets are reviewed each year.

Key Stage 3 

What topics are studied in Key Stage 3?

Key Stage 3 English is a vital time of preparation for the GCSE course, and the schemes of work focus on the key criteria and objectives set by the AQA exam board. Students will look at a range of writing from several eras and at various types of writing aimed at different audiences and different purposes.

Year 7

Students are introduced to the three key areas of English: reading, writing, and speaking and listening. They begin to develop ‘reading for understanding’ skills as well as the skill of writing in different forms for different audiences. Opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills are also built into each of the following units:

  • Mysterious Characters
  • Horror and Fear
  • a modern prose text
  • a Shakespeare text
  • Childhood
  • The Generation Gap

Year 8

In Year 8, students continue to build on their skills in narrative and creative writing, as well as exploring writers’ perspectives and viewpoints. High quality literature is explored to allow students to be exposed to works of cultural significance and also to provide inspiration for their own writing. The Year 8 units of work are:

  • Good vs. Evil
  • Heroes and Villains
  • Superstition
  • The Love of Reading
  • Animals
  • The Natural World
Key Stage 4 

Year 9

All students begin the GCSE course in Year 9. They look at unseen extracts from the 19th, 20th and 21st century from both fiction and non-fiction texts. We also study two of the main texts for the Literature exam. The following units will be studied by all students:

  • People in War
  • Education
  • “Poetry and Conflict” poetry anthology
  • “An Inspector Calls”

Years 10 and 11

In Years 10 and 11, students will conclude the remainder of their GCSE course. At the end of Year 11, they will sit their final exams.

Year 10 units include:

  • Fiction Reading
  • Fiction Writing
  • “Macbeth”
  • “A Christmas Carol”

Year 11 will focus on revision for the final exam papers:

  • Language Paper 1 – Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing
  • Language Paper 2 – Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives
  • Literature Paper 1 – Shakespeare and 19th Century Novel
  • Literature Paper 2 – Modern Text, Poetry Anthology and unseen poetry

Exam Board

Students are entered for the 8700 English Language and the 8702 English Literature specifications with the AQA exam board.


Students complete a baseline diagnostic test at the start of the half-term and an end of unit test at the end of the half-term. These papers are modelled on the AQA GCSE exam papers.


For Key Stage 3, a two week Home Learning Project is set every half-term. There are two elements to this: one part is set, marked and has feedback provided on Doddle; the other is set to dovetail with the Accelerated Reader programme to allow students time to read independently or to complete quizzes.

For Key Stage 4, a six week Home Learning Project is set every half-term. This may be set on Doddle or on GCSE Pod. Extra time is also set aside for independent reading or exam revision.

All homework tasks and instructions may be found on the Show My Homework website.

Books, Equipment, Materials and Resources Recommended/Needed: 

All students are encouraged to read a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction outside of class. Individual reading books will be required in class for the Accelerated Reader programme – these may be selected from the school library.

Opportunities For Study Beyond Key Stage 4

Both GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature provide an excellent preparation for the study of English Language, English Literature, Creative Writing and Media Studies at AS and A2 Level. The analytical skills developed during the GCSE years would also prove useful for courses that require critical, objective consideration such as History, Psychology and Law.

Career Opportunities Supported By This Subject 

Many employers may require at least a level 4 or a level 5 in GCSE English Language to prove that candidates have a sound level of literacy competence. This qualification is often specified as a requirement for FE and HE college courses. A good pass in English Language demonstrates that the student has acquired a range of communication skills that would be essential in a wide variety of careers.

Useful Links

AQA Specifications

GCSE Bitesize English Language

GCSE Bitesize English Literature