Why love English?

English holds a mirror to the world.  It reveals the best and worst of humanity and teaches kindness, tolerance and understanding.  English creates the ability to express ourselves clearly, to imagine fantastical worlds and different lives, to understand difference and empathise; it enables us to connect with the world and the people in it.

Big Ideas in English

English covers a range of skills, incorporating Literacy, Language and Literature.  We explore how the language of English has changed over time, but the themes, ideas and messages remain constant.  We think big, exploring the ideals of different time periods and how society impacts on the literature and the language that is produced.  We also think small, looking at how individuals use language and literature in order to express themselves and share their stories with the world.

Why study English?

English is the ultimate resource for communicating effectively, with both the spoken and the written word.  It allows you to access all areas of society and interact with it in a way that is meaningful and purposeful.  Being good at English means that you can ‘sell yourself’ to people in all walks of life and create an impact wherever you go.  You will be able to write to people so that you are taken seriously, whether that is for a job interview, making a complaint or expressing your opinions online.  You will be able to understand what you’re reading; that might be for pleasure, but it might be contracts or legal documents, for example when getting a job or moving house.  English teaches you to work effectively as part of a team, listening to and understanding the ideas of others as well as how to speak confidently in difficult and stressful situations – skills that are useful however you would like to progress in life.  Finally, English teaches you to spot bias or ‘fake news’; it challenges you to research and to look for the truth, to find evidence to support the things that you say and to question what you read, see and hear rather than simply accepting it.

Curriculum Map
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Students are taught to explore new ideas and are encouraged to decode and analyse texts and information independently.  We study a range of challenging texts from a variety of time periods, considering Homer, Chaucer, Shakespeare and Mary Shelley. There will be ideas, concepts, vocabulary and syntax that are new and unfamiliar in these texts; being resilient and developing strategies in order to decode and understand these texts is vital and will build more confident adults who are not fazed by unfamiliar and difficult reading materials in the world of work.

Vocabulary (Tier 2 & 3)

Knowledge Organisers are used for important key words and ideas in English.  These allow an easy way to begin to learn and reference the required vocabulary and knowledge to be a successful reader and orator.  Subject specific terms such as metaphor, anecdote, rhetoric, form and metre are learnt.  Additionally, everyday words such as analyse, synthesise, compare, contrast, imagine and create are used in order to understand the subject fully.


Numeracy is addressed in English lessons.  For example, understanding different time periods is critical to understanding the context of texts which, in turn, is essential for accurate analysis.  We use graphs, diagrams and continuums in order to understand how stories are created; explore relationships between characters, ideas and concepts and see how our language has evolved over time.

Links with other subjects

English is vital in accessing every subject in the curriculum: without reading comprehension and writing skills, nothing can be excelled at.  English also has specific topical links with many subjects. The closest links are with History, Religious Studies, French and Media Studies.  Lots of topics cross through these subjects such as understanding the Victorian era, being knowledgeable about people with different beliefs to your own, understanding how sentences are made up and that many words in English are ‘borrowed’ from other languages, and that the media uses various techniques, including the language used, in order to manipulate the receiver.

Assessment in English

At Key Stage Three (Years, 7,8 and 9) assessments are built into the curriculum with half termly assessments.  Students conduct a ‘cold assessment’ which allows for identification of areas for development and additional teaching before they complete a ‘hot assessment’ at the end of each unit.  All Key Stage Three students complete an exam during the summer term in order to acclimatise them to an exam hall and to prepare them for stresses of external exams at Key Stages Four and Five.

At Key Stage Four (Years 10 &11), half termly assessments are completed which cover all of the skills required in both the English Language and English Literature exams.  Year 11 students also have two mock exams during the year in order to prepare them for the upcoming GCSEs.

At Key Stage Five (Years 12 & 13) students are assessed regularly (about once a half term) on the topic they have been covering.  These assessments are tightly linked to the A-Level assessment criteria and their final exams.  Year Twelve students complete a mock exam in the summer term and Year Thirteen have two sets of mock exams in order to prepare them for their final external exams.

Extra curricular opportunities

Trips to the theatre and theatre visits within school

Masterclasses run by universities for A-Level students

Author visits into school

Entry into competitions

Writing Club

ESB – a nationally recognised speaking qualification

Who to contact if you want further information

Miss H Bithell