We develop the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening which are needed in every subject as well as for the development of the individual pupil.

The English Department’s philosophy is grounded in an awareness of the value of a developmental progression through from Year 7 to A Level and our schemes of work are therefore based on cross-phase development. For example, Year 7 work on pre-1914 texts and linguistics which, although beginning in simplified form, could lead on significantly to advanced work for GCSE and A Level.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9)

  • Reading: we cover fiction and non-fiction, English literature and literature from other cultures, poetry, drama and prose throughout this stage. Personal reading is encouraged and recommended reading lists are provided to help to guide choices. Reading aloud in class is a regular activity, from novels to poetry and plays.
  • Writing: a wide variety of writing is covered with the purpose of entertaining, informing or persuading various audiences in a range of genre. Good presentation is encouraged, and word processing is regularly permitted. Class time is also spent learning the basic skills needed for accurate use of punctuation, spelling and grammar. The process of drafting is emphasised, with pupils being taught to check and edit their work with care.
  • Speaking and Listening: in addition to natural speaking and listening that occurs during classroom teaching, there are also assessed speaking and listening tasks. The tasks vary but aim to encourage pupils to explain, explore ideas and persuade others effectively through presenting and discussing. Drama is also used to explore texts and ideas – see how Year 9 interpreted Romeo and Juliet.

Key Stage 4 (Years 10 to 11)

At GCSE we follow the Edexcel specifications for English Language and Literature. Pupils apply the skills that they have gained during Key Stage 3.

They will study a Shakespeare play, a post-1914 British novel, a nineteenth-century novel and a poetry collection which focuses upon the theme of conflict. They will also analyse a variety of non-fiction texts and extracts from nineteenth-century fiction. These are interesting and challenging texts which will develop their ability to interpret, analyse and evaluate in relation to content, structure and language.

In addition, pupils use their contextual knowledge of these texts to explain their understanding of each writer’s purpose. They will also write imaginative and transactional pieces using language that is specifically adapted to suit genre, audience and purpose.

Speaking and listening is formally assessed and is examined separately on the GCSE English Language qualification.

Pupils are required to carry out individual presentations throughout their studies which equips them with the necessary skills for Higher Education and later life.

Trips and visits

Theatre visits are organised to watch performances of plays, especially those which the class has studied or is studying. There are also opportunities to join Reading club and Film club. Previously, pupils have been to see productions such as: A Christmas Carol, Macbeth, To Kill a Mockingbird, An Inspector Calls, plus many others.