The English department aims to build on the reading, writing and the speaking and listening skills learned at primary school.  Students begin studying the GCSE course in year 9, which gives them a firm foundation for success in their examinations at the end of year 11.    


In each of the years 7 and 8, the curriculum covers a novel, a play, poetry, writing skills and opportunities to study literature from different time periods and cultures.

In year 7, students begin by revisiting the rules of good writing through a unit on expressing emotions, following which they study poetry from a range of periods and literary traditions. Students are also introduced to some of Shakespeare’s plays in order to prepare them for a detailed study of a full play in year 8, before studying a modern horror text and a play based on a classic novel.

In year 8, students begin with a detailed study of a classic novel and are expected to work with some challenging vocabulary. Students then go on to explore experiences of conflict through a range of poems from different cultures before refining and developing their ability to express complex emotions through writing. In the final term students study a Shakespeare play in detail, exploring a range of social and historical contexts.

The English Department encourages students to read widely through the ‘Accelerated Reader’ scheme; dedicated library lessons are used to monitor students’ reading progress.


All students follow the Edexcel GCSE English Language (9-1) (1ENO) and English Literature (9 -1 ) (1ETO) courses. The units taught across years 9-11 alternate between the language and literature courses.

In English Language, students study 19th Century fiction, 20th Century and 21st Century non-fiction, imaginative writing and transactional writing.

In English Literature, students study a Shakespeare play, post -1914 literature (a play), a 19th Century novel and a wide range of poetry.  Students sit four exams in the summer term of year 11.  There is no coursework element; assessment is 100% final exam.

Students are also awarded a separate grade for Spoken Language; this is recorded separately from the two GCSE grades.