Reading is 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 George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire to encourage debate and discussion of moral, social, emotional and political issues. We encourage reading for pleasure, be it graphic novels, nineteenth century Gothic horror or autobiographies. We firmly believe that there is a genre to suit everyone.
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.
Whether it is through 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 formal speech for an audience 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
|Term 1||Term 2||Term 3|
|Year 7||Modern Novel||Poetry||Modern short stories or modern play|
|Year 8||Reading Pre-1914 fiction |
Poetry - selection of pre- and post-1914
|Term 1||Term 2||Term 3|
|Year 7||Narrative writing |
|Descriptive writing |
|Viewpoints and Perspectives – non-fiction writing and reading|
|Year 8||Descriptive Writing |
|Narrative writing |
|Viewpoint and Perspectives
Individual novel study
GCSE Curriculum: Years 9-11
We study both English Language and English Literature across the three years. 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 a lot of opportunity for close analysis of how writers manipulate their readers’ responses.
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. 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. Students are required to read widely and independently both set texts and others that they have selected for themselves in their prose study (coursework).
The Enriched Curriculum
In English, there are a range of opportunities for students to engage on a wider level. The English Department runs creative writing clubs, a Dr Who club, an Ancient History club and a debating society amongst others. 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. 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.