English

The English Curriculum

Our vision:

‘We will develop our students into empathetic, resilient and hardworking learners who will have the world opened up to them through the study of English. Through the drive of a collaborative and supportive team of teachers and an ambitious, challenging, skill-driven curriculum, our students will become confident readers, writers and speakers. They will achieve outstanding outcomes; they will compete with anyone, anywhere.’

Robert Louis Stevenson’s English Literary Heritage text Treasure Island allows students to experience the adventures of Jim Hawkins. Students develop their inference skills as they are transported into an exciting world of action, treasure and the iconic pirate Long John Silver.

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet opens up the world of Elizabethan England to students. Students develop their analytical skills as they are captivated by the ill-fated love story of Romeo and Juliet and their warring families.

Malorie Blackman’s modern novel Noughts and Crosses transports students into an alternate world where black people or crosses are the ruling class. Students develop their analysis of writers’ methods as they follow the journeys of Sephy and Callum in this unjust world.

Students study a range of fiction and non-fiction texts from Sherlock Holmes to true crime. Students use these texts as inspiration for their own writing from producing their own crime writing to creating a trial winning closing argument.

Students delve into the world of political rhetoric They learn to become both critical citizens analysing the rhetoric in politicians’ speeches and budding politicians themselves. They master the art of rhetoric constructing and performing their own election-winning speeches.

The dystopian genre allows students to experience alternative worlds and reflect on the comments writers are making about our society. Students study a range of short stories analysing elements of form and genre before producing their own dystopian story.

Modern Play Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers allows students to develop their analysis skills whilst exploring ideas of class and tragedy through the journeys of lovable scouser Mickey and sensitive public schoolboy Edward. 

American writer Ray Bradbury’s modern novel Fahrenheit 451 transports students into a dystopian world where books are banned and technology rules. The journey of fireman Guy Montag allows students to develop their analysis of the writers’ methods and reflect on both the imagined world and their own world.

The chosen poems by current Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy explore topical issues such as terrorism and isolation. Students compare the speakers’ ideas and experiences and develop their empathy by using these to create their own imaginative writing.

Shakespeare’s Othello expands students’ knowledge of Shakespeare, particularly his tragedies.  Students develop their analysis of form and writer’s methods as they react to villain Iago’s masterful manipulation and the downfall of the tragic hero, Othello.

Through the study of Victorian Novelist Charles Dickens’ iconic characters such as Oliver Twist, Fagin, Pip and Miss Havisham and the worlds in which they live, students develop their understanding of Victorian England. Students also improve their analysis and writing skills as they analyse key ideas and create political appeals.

Shakespeare’s Macbeth builds on students’ existing knowledge of Shakespeare whilst allowing them to probe further into the political intrigue of the Jacobean period. Students evaluate ideas of ambition, loyalty, and power as they follow the downfall of the murderous Macbeths. As they delve into a world of deceit, murder, and witchcraft, students develop their contextual, evaluation, and analysis skills looking particularly at dramatic methods.

The much-loved Victorian novella A Christmas Carol builds upon students’ knowledge of Dickens and teaches students empathy and kindness as they experience Scrooge’s transformation. Dickens’ novella and its famous characters of Scrooge, Jacob Marley, and Tiny Tim allow students an insight into the poverty of Victorian England and develops their contextual, evaluation, and analysis skills.

J.B. Priestley’s modern play An Inspector Calls develops contextual ideas explored in the study of A Christmas Carol as Priestley highlights the disparity that remains in Edwardian Britain. Students explore ideas of class, morality, and gender as they are gripped by the Inspector’s visit to the privileged Birling family. As they are enthralled by the tense progress of the play, students develop their contextual, evaluation, and analysis skills looking particularly at dramatic methods.

Students study the ‘Power and Conflict’ cluster with poems by both modern poets such as Jane Weir and literary heritage poets such as Percy Shelley. Students gain an understanding of various contexts from the Crimean War to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Students explore important ideas such as power, trauma, grief, and poverty through these seminal poems whilst mastering their contextual, evaluation, and analysis skills focusing on poetic form and methods.

In English Language Paper 1, students have the opportunity to read and analyse a range of extracts from fiction texts from the 20th and 21st Centuries. Students develop their independent reading skills as they learn to comprehend texts, analyse methods and evaluate ideas in unseen fiction texts.

Inspired by their study of fiction texts, students then create their own imaginative writing inspired by images and other creative prompts. Students create descriptive and narrative writing developing their own use of structure, methods, vocabulary and punctuation for effect.

In English Language Paper 2, students have the opportunity to read and analyse a range of non-fiction texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries which focus on topical issues. Students develop their independent reading skills as they learn to comprehend texts, analyse methods and compare ideas and opinions in unseen non-fiction texts.

Inspired by their study of non-fiction texts, students then create their own argumentative writing inspired by provocative statements. Students create writing explaining their own points of view on various topical issues and developing their own use of structure, methods, vocabulary and punctuation for effect.

Students also complete a Spoken Language Endorsement in which they produce a speech on a topic of their choice on which they then answer questions. Students practise their writing skills by creating organised speeches using sophisticated vocabulary but also their oracy skills which will prove invaluable in life after school.

Fresh Start 
Some of our students complete Fresh Start which teaches older struggling readers to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. It is rooted in phonics and uses age-appropriate decodable texts. 

Accelerated Reader
Our Year 7 students take part in Accelerated Reader. Accelerated Reader puts students in the driver’s seat. Students are guided which books to read while engaging in quizzes and activities which help to hone students’ reading skills with authentic practice—encouraging growth. 

Bedrock Vocabulary
Our Year 8 and Year 9 students take part in Bedrock Vocabulary which has a simple mission: to narrow the word gap that exists between different groups of students and improve outcomes across the curriculum for all students. 

Let’s Think in English
Our Year 7 students take part in a teaching programme that helps primary and secondary students develop higher-order skills needed for success in English. 

 "I love reading. The texts we study show us a range of different genres and I love reading new genres." – Brodie, Year 7 

"I really like the oracy tasks in English. We linked together all of the best characters from the texts we looked at this year and it was great" – Hamida, Year 7 

"I really liked the extra-curricular activities we got to do with English. The Carnegie and National Literacy Quiz were excellent." – Aaron, Year 7 

"This year in English we have learnt different skills and read about world lessons in brilliant fiction books. I have really enjoyed English in year 7." – Charlie, Year 7 

‘I like reading as you have fun creating images in your mind and predicting what will happen next. I also like discovering the history of a book and finding out so many things I didn’t know.’ Scarlett, Year 8 

I enjoy English as it improves my grammar and reading skills. I really like reading books as a class and improving my understanding of what the author is trying to tell me.’ Bindi, Year 8 

‘I like English because it helps me to improve my speaking skills and my spelling, grammar and punctuation.’ Joshua, Year 8 

‘English improves my vocabulary.’ Kane, Year 8 

‘I enjoy reading as it broadens my vocabulary. I also enjoy group work because I am able to discuss my ideas and be creative with the people I am working with.’ Ellie-Mae, Year 9 

‘English opens up careers all over the world. I enjoy English because there are so many new words you can learn and stories you can read.’ Ahmed, Year 9 

‘English is really fun and interesting. I am encouraged to read books I would never think of reading but then really enjoy such. We learn lots of skills like spelling, using sophisticated vocabulary and much more.’ Francesca, Year 9 

I enjoy English as it teaches me the parts of the story I would have previously overlooked. I also like learning reading novels and plays as a class and analysing the characters and their personalities.’ Olivia, Year 10 

I really like the books we study, the teacher’s enthusiasm about the lesson and how quickly the lessons go.’ Jazmin, Year 10 

‘I really like English because it allows me to have a greater knowledge of plays and poetry which could also relate to drama and musical theatre. This includes how writers form these well-known characters through language and techniques. I always learn something new in English and it never gets old.’ Keira, Year 11 

‘The thing I like most about English is that not only do we learn analysis skills, I’ve also found English has helped develop my understanding of the society we live in and how it has developed over different eras and the need in the past for social reform. In addition to this, the poems we study are incredibly diverse and explore both British and foreign cultures. The structure of lessons is always cyclical starting with recaps of previous learning and ends with a recap of new learning to ensure we take away something new from each lesson!’ Shanika, Year 11 

‘In English, the texts we study are enjoyable and certainly fun to pick apart and analyse the hidden messages. The 'Quote offs' are also very fun and help you to retrieve and remember key quotes and information. English is made enjoyable through the texts we study and the fun activities when analysing them.’ Jack, Year 11