Welcome to The English Department

English Department

English is an incredibly important subject, encompassing skills that empower individuals to pursue their own aspirations and contribute positively to society as a whole.

In the English Department, we ensure that our students recognise the beauty of language as an art-form and value the role language has to influence, engage and liberate. Our curricula at Key Stage Three and Four is structured to enthuse and instil curiosity in our students, enabling them to harness language as a means of expressing themselves confidently and meaningfully, with empathy and self-respect. We nurture independent and collaborative thinking and celebrate success at every opportunity.

We have ambitious expectations of presentation, originality, creativity and quality of work because we know this is how to build resilience and a life-long love of learning.

Key Stage Three

In Years 7, 8 and 9, students follow a broad and varied course which combines different aspects of reading, writing, speaking and listening.  Lessons are grouped into units of work designed to cover each  of the six terms.  These units are designed to develop students’ confidence and spark students’ curiosity, whether it is writing for a given purpose, or reading and responding to challenging nineteenth-century or modern literature.  Within each unit, students will be assessed twice on an aspect of the topic studied each half term. “Mini-Milestone” assessments occur halfway through each unit, allowing teachers to gauge each student’s progress. “Milestone” assessments occur towards the end of each unit, allowing students to apply themselves to a new task that is similar to the “Mini-Milestone” assessment. As it follows and builds upon prior attainment and skills, the “Milestone” assessment affords students the opportunity to show progress, demonstrating deeper understanding and more-detailed thinking on the subject or topic of the unit.

For one lesson each week, students in Key Stage Three are timetabled a lesson in the library, wherein students focus on reading through the Accelerated Reading Programme. During this lesson, students have approximately 30 minutes silent reading time and are encouraged to take book quizzes in order to manage and monitor their reading progress. Teachers will also listen to students read in these lessons, and will provide written feedback in students’ reading logs.

Homework expectations

All Key Stage Three students are issued with a reading log. Reading  homework is issued weekly and monitored by class teachers and tutors weekly. The reading log is an important means of communication between home and school regarding a child’s progress with independent and shared reading.


All Key Stage Three students are expected to read for at least three 20-minute sessions each week. Students need to record their reading in their reading logs, including book title, pages read and Accelerated Reading quiz scores. Parents are required to sign their child’s reading log at least once a week to acknowledge their child’s reading engagement. Dialogue between teachers and parents regarding reading is actively encouraged, as a child’s achievement is governed by their ability to read.

Key Stage Four

Exam Board: AQA

Course content

Years 10 and 11 students are entered for both  GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature.  The curriculum is structured so as to balance the demands of both specifications.

Students will sit four public exams (two for each of the English GCSEs) which take place at the end of the two-year course and are marked externally.

English Language

Paper 1        Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing (fiction)

Paper 2       Viewpoints and Perspectives (non-fiction)

English Literature

Paper 1       Shakespeare and the Nineteenth Century Novel

Paper 2      Modern Texts and Poetry


Students are awarded Grades from 1 to 9, where 9 is the highest and 1 is the lowest.

At the time of writing, a Grade 4 is considered a standard pass and will allow students to pursue Level 2 and some Level 3 vocational courses at college, or enrol on an apprenticeship. Students who do not achieve a Grade 4 in GCSE English Language will have to resit this qualification.

At the time of writing, a Grade 5 is considered a good pass and will allow students to pursue most Level 3 courses in Further Education establishments.

At the time of writing, several Sixth Forms and colleges request that students wishing to pursue English Language or Literature at A-Level have a Grade 6 or above.

Homework expectations

Year 10 and 11 students have fortnightly writing homeworks that are designed to prepare students for the demands of the GCSE English Language Exam writing sections.  Students are expected to spend 45 minutes planning writing and checking their work. Responsibility for marking and assessing these tasks is shared by the teacher, the individual pupil and peer assessment. Lesson time is given to the activity of marking so students are familiar with how their examinations are assessed.