In English, our students gain a wide-ranging and thorough appreciation of both literature and language, in order to help to prepare them for the next stage of their lives. We aim to encourage a love of reading and writing that underpins academic success in the broader curriculum, as well as developing a deeper understanding of the links between ourselves, people from different times and across cultures. As a department, we feel that this reflects the world we live in, both in terms of our local community and in terms of our own school community. Our provision is designed to develop the high level skills that the students come to us with; we foster academic rigour, perceptive analysis and sophisticated communication skills, in order to match the needs of our academically selective cohort.

We firmly believe that there is a genre to suit everyone and that everyone deserves the time and space to enjoy reading for pleasure. Reading is also the key to success across all subjects, so we encourage our students to become critical readers of anything and everything, from Shakespeare to advertising slogans. As well as developing analysis and interpretation skills, we use texts such as Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns and Prebble’s Enron to encourage debate and discussion of moral, social, emotional and political issues. We encourage reading for pleasure, be it manga, graphic novels, nineteenth century Gothic horror or autobiographies. Reading helps our students to connect to each other and to the outside world, developing a sense of community. However, through reading we can not only see our own place in the world more clearly, but we can extend the horizons of many of our students, challenging mindsets and introducing new cultural ideas and practices.

Writing provides a crucial opportunity for creativity and conceptualised thinking. We encourage students to take risks, to develop sophisticated vocabulary and to craft their writing in an original and nuanced way, in both fiction and non-fiction writing. Whilst building on firm foundations of grammatical accuracy, structure and written form, students develop fluent and articulate writing. Through creative and innovative teaching, we encourage students to develop the skills to articulate their thinking and to express themselves concisely and coherently, not just for examinations but in order to support their academic success across subjects and throughout life. There are numerous competitions and opportunities to write both fiction and non-fiction, giving students a means to develop their own unique voice.

Oracy plays a vital role in our teaching of English, helping students to organise and develop abstract ideas and concepts both academically and personally. Whether engaging in the cut and thrust of debate, discussing themes in poetry, presenting research or taking part in a performance of a play, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to express themselves orally in lessons. Progress in speaking and listening is measured in various ways including a presentation at GCSE level. A-level lessons are often discussion-led, allowing us to explore ideas and perspectives whilst encouraging students to make independent judgments.

English at Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3, we build on the range of experiences that our students have had at Key Stage 2, working closely with primary colleagues in their literacy hubs and at regular meetings to discuss the changing nature of Key Stage 2.  Students arrive with a range of skills that are assessed through the Key Stage 2 Sats exam; the analysis of this data enables our staff to work with students in a focused way, informing our teaching and helping us to identify students who may benefit from challenge or support in specific areas. We also tailor our teaching style to encourage a smoother transition into secondary school English, for example scaffolding writing as we build up to independent, timed pieces needed at Key Stage 4.

The content of the curriculum at Key Stage 3 is designed to engage our increasingly diverse cohort, who are drawn from a number of primary settings. We begin with a modern novel in order to engage students and promote reading for pleasure. This also provides a smooth transition, using familiar skills but developing these for our high ability cohort. This is then built on with analysis and language production activities that stretch and challenge the students, such as poetry analysis and non-fiction reading in Year 7. We have introduced a Mechanics of Language unit that delves deeper into grammar and successful communication.

Year 7  Coram Boy/Witch Child  New CAP Flawed Short Stories Romeo and Juliet  
HT1 and HT2 (12 weeks) HT3 (6 weeks) HT4 + 2 weeks (8 weeks)  HT 5 (4 weeks) HT6 (6 weeks) 
Reading  Infer from a text Distinguish fact and opinion Explain the difference between analysis and inference  Revisit the difference between analysis and inference  Revisit the difference between analysis and inference 
Explain the effect of writer’s choices Explore the differences between viewpoints Explore and analyse language and imagery Analyse effects of first, second and third person narrators Deepen exploration and analysis of language and imagery 
Annotate a short extract simply Identify key features of poetry:  Analyse meaning without an acronym? Understand the differences between narrative voices Analyse meaning without an acronym? 
Annotate a quotation for technique and effect Identify the sonnet form and structure  Analyse an extract  Analyse how the writer uses structural features of the dystopian genre in the short story   Annotate an extract 
Select quotations Begin to analyse the effect of writer’s choices Identify and explain authorial purpose Revisit the three-part narrative structure Annotate a quotation for technique and effect 
Identify and describe the effect of similes, metaphors and personification Identify the features of the dystopian genre Identify and explain authorial purpose 
Introduction to Victorian context Understand the effects of using a first person narrative voice Identify and describe the effect of elements of stagecraft 
Between narrative voices (first/second/third )   Identify dramatic features: soliloquy, asides, blank verse, prose 
Identify and analyse how the writer uses structural features of the dystopian genre Begin to explore symbolic meaning 
Writing  Writing narrative openings HT1 Develop skill in controlling register (informal/formal)  Explain the difference between descriptive and narrative writing 
Plan and write a narrative using the three-part structure HT1 Write, and where appropriate, perform, texts that present different viewpoints  Write a first-person narrative Plan and write a narrative using the three-part structure  
Identify and explore the effects of the three-part narrative structure in the text HT1 Develop creative and experimental use of language, including figurative language Write a description using: varied sentences structure, varied punctuation, figurative language Revisit ways that writers control tension using structure and language and sentence structure 
Identify ways that writers control tension using structure HT1 Write a section of a narrative that includes rising tension  
Write a section of a narrative that includes rising tension HT1 Write a part of a narrative in different voices and explore the differences in effect 
Describe what transactional writing is HT2 
Identify the features of appropriate forms of transactional writing e.g. letters, podcasts, interviews, blogs, articles HT2 
Identify and use appropriate register (informal/formal) HT2 
Write, and where appropriate, perform, texts that present viewpoints HT2 
GrammarWhat is a sentence? Commas Brackets/dashes/colons Apostrophes/inverted commas Semi colons/hyphens 
Revise parts of speech Connectives and conjunctions Explore complex sentence structures for writing using figurative devices  
Year 8  Stone Cold Gothic Noughts and Crosses   Discovery? Twelfth Night 
HT1 HT2 HT3 HT4 and HT5 HT6 
Reading  Explain the concept of dramatic irony   List the features of the gothic genre   Describe the features of a modern play (prologue, epilogue, chorus, stage directions, props, acts and scenes)  Explain what an extended metaphor is  Read and analyse a play  
Identify tone and mood   Identify and analyse the use of pathetic fallacy   Analyse the development of character and theme  List the main rhetorical features of a speech (repetition, direct address, use of pronouns, imagery)  List the features of the sonnet form and structure (volta, 14 lines Shakespearean sonnet form rhyme scheme) - link back to sonnet in R and J 
Define linear narrative and dual narrative   List, identify and analyse language features of the gothic and the detective genres   Link texts (R and J/ N and C) Identify and analyse extended metaphor   Outline the features of comedy/misrule 
Analyse the effects of a dual narrative  List, identify and analyse the structural features of the gothic and the detective genres   Identify differing viewpoints and analyse how writers use language to convey differing viewpoints  Build on Y7 understanding of: exploration and analysis of language and imagery, dramatic features: soliloquy, asides, blank verse, prose 
Define flashback and foreshadowing, identify in the text and analyse the effect  Identify tone and mood and how it has been created  Analyse the use of rhetoric  
Describe the use of temporal structure in descriptive writing  Analyse how structure is used in non-fiction writing to create coherence  
Describe what is meant by a summary (focus, information retrieval, inference) 
Write a summary 
Synthesise information  
Writing   Write a narrative using the three-part structure  Produce descriptive writing using extended metaphor and temporal structure  Write dialogue   Use different ways of planning and structuring descriptive writing: using the senses, box planning, film method 
Write a dual narrative, creating two different narrative voices  Plan writing using the box method and the sense method  Write a monologue, creating a unique voice for a character  Write a speech 
Use flashback and foreshadowing as a structural device in a narrative  Makes links between ideas when writing a speech, using connectives/conjunctions, extended metaphor/semantic field, adverbial phrases 
Grammar Concepts of grammar  Nouns  Verbs, active, passive  Grammar / mood (imperative, interrogative)  
Word order  Adjectives  Sentence variety (complex/compound) 
Year 9 Of Mice and Men New CAP Shakespeare and non-fiction Station 11Short Stories 
HT1 and HT2 (8 weeks) HT2 (4 weeks) HT3 and HT4 (12 weeks)  HT5 and HT6 (8 weeks) HT6 (4 weeks) 
Reading   Describe how a cyclical narrative is structured and describe effect.  Define and identify poetic techniques, including form and structure.  Analyse extended metaphor use.  Plan an extract to whole essay  Define omniscient /limited narrators 
Analyse the presentation of character  Analyse the effects of language, form and structure  Describe the effects of tone, irony, dramatic irony.   Develop a line of argument in analytical writing  Define the terms: reliable narrator, unreliable narrator,  naïve narrator 
Explore how themes are presented  Explore poetic voice and intention  Define key features of language and structure in Shakespeare’s plays  Analyse the structure of a text/novel   Analyse the effect of structure of a short story  
Identify how context has shaped authorial intention  Describe how context has shaped authorial intention  List the features of the sci-fi genre  Make links between texts 
  Describe the features of tragedy (catharsis, anagnorisis, peripeteia, hamartia, hubris) and their effect on the audience  Develop vocabulary for academic writing 
Analyse the presentation of character development and effect Write an extract to whole text essay  
Analyse authorial intention in the exploration of theme  Begin to explore alternative interpretations 
Analyse the use of language and structure in a non-fiction text 
Identify and describe the effects of rhetorical devices 
Writing   Write a description using flashback/second person perspective  Write a description  Effectively structure a line of argument in non-fiction writing  Write a narrative using a flashback/non-linear  Write a split or dual narrative 
Use a variety of sentence structures for effect   Use a range of rhetorical devices and sentence structures in non-fiction writing 
Use an extended metaphor and/or semantic field 
Grammar  Vocabulary development Sentence structures  Whole text cohesion, discourse markers  Develop vocabulary for academic writing Register, tone, voice 

GCSE Curriculum: Years 10/11

All students study both English Language and English Literature across Year 10 and 11, reflecting the academic nature of our cohort. This follows on from a foundation year in Year 9 where we develop skills such as analysis of structure, as well as new skills such as the use of context to support literary analysis. The course builds upon skills introduced in Key Stage 3 and introduces new skills such as synthesis, evaluation and comparison of viewpoints and perspectives in texts written from different time periods.  Students are encouraged to develop their interpretation of texts, forming independent opinions and justifying their views in verbal and written forms.  There is opportunity for close analysis of how writers manipulate their readers’ responses, which includes reading polemic writing on worldwide issues and ethical debates, as appropriate for the academic ability of our students. Fiction texts are selected to open up discussions, promote cultural understanding and provide scope for high level analysis, for example using extracts from The Road, The Help, The Reluctant Fundamentalist and The God of Small Things.

A Level Curriculum

A-Level English Language

The A-Level English Language course focuses on how we use language as well as how language has developed over time. It is very popular with students and many go on to study either Language or Linguistics at University.  Students are given the opportunity to study an area of English that particularly interests them in their individual NEA project. They also develop creative writing skills in the Original Writing element of the course.

Students are given a strong grounding in grammar, syntax and linguistics from which to develop their own writing.

A-Level English Literature

The study of literature encourages enjoyment of literary studies based on an informed personal response to a range of texts. This course covers three components in discrete genres of study: poetry, drama and prose to allow learners to focus on the conventions and traditions of each genre in turn, whilst placing them in a relevant literary and historical context. A further component offers unseen prose and poetry to allow learners to focus separately on applying the skills of literary analysis acquired during the course as a whole. A vital aspect of the course is the development of interpretation and the discussion of the interpretations of others, a skill that promotes both autonomous thinking and an appreciation for the views of others.  Students are required to read widely and independently both set texts, such as Jane Eyre  and others that they have selected for themselves in their prose study ( coursework ), such as The Kite Runner, A Brief History of Seven Killings and Vernon God Little.

The Enriched Curriculum

In English,  there are a range of opportunities for students to engage on a wider level and develop cultural experiences as well as transferable skills, such as communication, team work and self-confidence.  The English Department runs various reading groups as well as a debating society. Each year, there are drama productions, either whole school or as part of the House Drama competition.  We have visiting authors, theatre groups, live streaming of national productions and a variety of reading and writing competitions, encouraging students to explore English in various different media.  There are trips to support the curriculum such as theatre trips, a visit to the Imperial War Museum North during Key Stage 4, residential courses for writing and lectures on texts that students are studying.  We firmly believe that the study of English extends well beyond the classroom and can enrich our lives well beyond our secondary education.

7 Year Curriculum Plan(s)

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