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SHU Sarah Hughes Director of Learning Communications (maternity leave till December 2020)
CHS Sabreena Cheema Key Stage 3 Coordinator for English
CAF Fiona O'Sullivan Deputy Head and Teacher of English
GRN Nicholas Griffiths Teacher of English and Lead Teacher of Media Studies


Five dedicated teaching rooms, all equipped with interactive whiteboards.

A range of educational texts, including class readers, textbooks and anthologies for all Year groups.

Access to ICT rooms.

English stock cupboard.

Media: One specialist room with computers and photography equipment.

Library: Stocked fiction library with access to computers for students..



Years 7 - 9 (KS3)



In Years 7 and 8, Schemes of Learning (SOL) are structured to closely reflect the aims of the National Curriculum. There will be explicit links in each SOL to the aims and objectives of the National Curriculum for English. The aims are to actively prepare students for the rigors of GCSE and all units directly relate to the GCSE course, with key assessment points. Students study the following:

Year 7: Telling Stories

All schemes of learning in years 7, 8 and 9 are based around a topic and are thematically linked. This sequencing allows students to build upon the skills they have already been taught and allows them to make links for themselves to prior learning. They all link in some part to a key area of the GCSE and therefore students are beginning to build up their skills right from the start of their Secondary education.

Gothic Literature

This is the second unit of study for year 7 and the first fiction unit covered in KS3. Students may have looked at some extracts from ‘classic’ novels and significant authors at KS2, but this unit will bring together a specific genre. As this unit is extract based, teachers can differentiate for all abilities so that they can be exposed to some of these classic texts. Gothic Literature features heavily in the GCSE curriculum in year 10 and is also studied in year 9. This introduction allows students to understand the key feature and expectations of a gothic text and begins to show them how me might analyse a text in some detail.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

This is the third unit taught in year 7 and continues the theme of telling stories. Although many students are exposed to Shakespeare at KS2 this is the first real text study where students must think more independently about the plot, characters, theme and language. This introduction shows students that fundamentally Shakespeare was an excellent storyteller. We also want to remove the barriers and prejudices that they have about the language and make it assessable to all abilities through creative and drama-based activities as present in the lesson slides.

Telling Non-fiction Stories

Students will explore a variety of media texts and techniques, looking at format, language and style. Once students have studied and analysed a range of media texts, they will produce their own magazine article, newspaper report, CV, letter of application and present, as part of group presentation, a TV news bulletin. The reading and writing activities in this scheme prepare students for some of the reading and writing demands of Year 8 onwards and specifically GCSE English Language Paper 2. Reading and writing skills are also developed in year 7 in the other units studied. This unit is the fourth unit taught in year 7. Students will be developing their analysis of non-fiction texts and will have already dealt with a variety of texts written in different time periods, including Constructing Narratives Lang1AB, Gothic Literature Lit1B and A Midsummer Night's Dream Lit1A.

Narrative Poetry

This is the fifth unit in year 7 and the first poetry unit in KS3. Students will have studied some poetry at key stage 2 (perhaps narrative in nature) and will understand the fundamentals of this type of ‘telling a story’. In this unit they will build upon their knowledge of story but also consider how poets write in a different way to other authors and think about the impact that this has on them, the reader. They will be able to analyse the techniques that poets use and lay the foundations for good poetry analysis to be built upon in year 8 and 9.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

This novel is the final unit in year 7 and concludes the telling stories theme. Students should read and study the whole novel; this has been a deliberate choice to attempt to tackle the decline in reading for pleasure in young people. Students will use their understanding of stories in their analysis of this simple but effective tale. The choice of text and the issues around race, religion and discrimination are still prevalent in modern society and this text opens opportunities for discussion and thought.

Year 8: Character and their contexts

Of Mice and Men

This classic American novel is the first unit that students study in year 8 and introduces the year 8 theme of characters and their contexts. This is a popular novel with young people and although the context is not familiar to them, it is one that they grasp well and can link their contextual understanding to the plot, theme and characters in the novel. This is an essential skill for their later study of English Literature. The stereotypical characters introduced in the novel can be easily explored by students of all abilities.

Poetry from Other Cultures

This unit of poetry is the second unit students focus on in year 8 and continues the theme of character and contexts. This unit contains 12 poems in an anthology divided thematically. It gives students the chance to build on their contextual knowledge in Literature as introduced in their first unit. Students must have an appreciation of factors that influence a writer in order to be successful students of Literature. These poems are accessible to all students as they deal with some familiar themes around identity, class ad life experience. Students can see how the poets have been impacted by these factors and how it has influenced their work. Students will have completed a poetry unit in year 7 and will therefore have some basic analysis skills can be built upon.

Analysing and writing non-fiction

This unit is the third unit taught in year 8 and has direct links to English language paper 2 taught at GCSE. In this unit students focus on two thematically linked texts and explore the viewpoints presented in each, looking at specific skills in reading and writing. The texts are paired by theme and come from different time periods, with one being 19th century. This enables students to look at the texts individually and consider the contexts in which they are written, before moving on and making comparison between these. Students will have studied non-fiction journalistic texts in year 7 and will now build upon their skills of inference, summary, analysis and comparison. Students will also be familiar with expressing their opinion in writing due to the weekly writing challenges completed throughout years 7 and 8.

Romeo and Juliet

This is the fourth unit of study in year 8 where students will build upon their analysis of ‘character’ in a text and consider the surrounding context which often determines behaviour and feelings. This text has been chosen because of the ideas that are similar in nature to other texts studied in year 8 such as identity, family, relationships and conflict. Students will have studied a more accessible Shakespeare text in year 7 and are prepared and ready for slightly more challenge. They have been taught how to understand and interpret the language of the work and now look at longer speeches and begin to analyse the use of language in more detail.


This novel is the final unit in year 8 and the second novel they read in the year. This has been a deliberate choice to attempt to tackle the decline in reading for pleasure in young people. The skills that they used in the first unit should have been strengthened throughout the year through various text study and students have the opportunity here to demonstrate these skills in the study of this popular novel. This concludes the character and context theme of year 8 by looking at a character who has a specific context around him and his medical condition. However, students can apply the treatment of him to many real-life situations they face and will not only learn lessons of Literature but of life too.

Year 9: Power and Politics.

We intentionally allocated Year 9 to study a selection of set texts from the GCSE curriculum to ensure that they acquire and develop the key skills that they will be tested in year 10 and 11. They skills that are explicitly taught across every topic are:  inference, analysis of language structure and form, the relationship between texts and contexts and technical accuracy.


 Rhetoric is not just empty words or fine political speeches. Rhetoric is the study and art of writing and speaking well, being persuasive, and knowing how to compose successful writing and presentations. Rhetoric teaches the essential skills of advanced learning and higher education. In Rhetoric classes, students learn to think logically, to discover wrong or weak arguments, to build a good case on a controversial topic, and to overcome the all-too-common fear of speaking in public so that they can deliver crisp and well-prepared speeches. This is the first unit in year 9 and the foundation for the rest of study in the year. All following units link back in some way to the key skills taught in this unit.

Animal Farm

This is the second unit taught in year 9 which is a transition to year 10 study. Students engage with GCSE standard texts under the thematic link of power and politics. This novel builds upon the skills taught in unit one rhetoric and students will be taught to make links back to the techniques previously studied. The novel contains a variety of speeches containing rhetorical techniques and they will be able to analyse them in the same way the looked at the non-fiction speeches in unit one. The theme of leadership is displayed throughout the novel with the big idea of what makes a good leader being developed across the text.

Julius Caesar

By the time students reach year 10 they will have studied three plays from Shakespeare so will be more than familiar with the language and the structure of his plays, with some knowledge of context. This text is their third play and has been chosen due to the clear links with the year 9 theme of power and politics. This play focuses on the desire to achieve power, to keep it and the impact that this can have on others. Students have been taught the rhetorical techniques in the first two units of year 9 and are now taught to apply it to a Shakespearean play. Students can successfully do this as they have explored modern texts previously. This unit explores key speeches made by powerful men and women and students explore the effect they have on the audience in the text as well as themselves.

War Poetry

Students will study one cluster of poems taken from the AQA poetry anthology, Poems Past and Present in year 10. The poems in each cluster are thematically linked and were written between 1789 and the present day. Students should study all 15 poems in their chosen cluster and be prepared to write about any of them in the examination. As well as the knowledge of each individual poem, students need to be taught to make links between the poems and be able to compare two poems in their examination. This unit directly prepares them for this poetry study and does feature several the poems that feature in the year 10 anthology. The rest of the poems have been chosen as they portray other aspects of war that may interest the students. The analysis skills taught here greatly help students as they progress into year 10. This is fourth unit studied in year 9 and the poems link to the overarching idea of power and politics. This theme will be explored through each cluster of poetry and although the techniques are different to previous texts studied, the theme remains a constant.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Students will study one novel from the list of set texts in year 10. This novel introduces Victorian Literature and prepares them for year 10 study with a story or concept that is familiar to them. This is the final unit studied in year 9 and students have had the opportunity to build up their level of analysis looking at fiction and non-fiction texts. This text continues the year 9 focus of the theme of power but deals with it in a more abstract way by looking at the power of the human mind and conscience. This can be a difficult concept for some students so teachers are able to select relevant aspects of the text to explore in closer detail so that they can introduce these ideas before all students tackle a complete examined text in year 10.

Year 10 and 11 (KS4)



Each Unit of KS4 Work explicitly touches on the core Assessment Objectives for GCSE. Assessments in Years10-11 embed a secure knowledge and deep understanding of the final requirements for GCSE success.  Students study the following:

Year 10: (AQA Literature and Language Specification – Language: 8700 and Literature: 8702)

Literary and Contemporary Non-Fiction GCSE set texts, Macbeth, An Inspector Calls, Conflict Poetry, A Christmas Carol, Examination Skills (GCSE Mock Exams) The Literature texts are taught across year 10 to ensure full coverage at the end of the year and so that students are able to develop their analysis skills across each text. There are distinct opportunities for language analysis in each unit.

An Inspector Calls

Students will study one from a choice of 12 set texts, which include post-1914 prose fiction and drama. Students should study the whole text. This is the first Literature text that students study in year 10 and has been chosen due to its accessibility for students of all abilities. The modern text is the first one to be studied as this helps students understand the demands of the Literature course through a plot which is quite straightforward. There is also scope for more able students to explore some of the more complicated social issues that are presented here. 

A Christmas Carol

Students will study one novel from the list of seven set texts. Students should study the whole text. This text was chosen from the options due to the familiar nature of the plot and the accessibility of the story for all ability groups. Students will have studied extracts from a Victorian novel at the end of year 9 so will have some prior contextual knowledge. This is the second text that students study in year 10 and timetabled as to link with the calendar so that issues around winter and Christmas are explored at an appropriate time.

Power and Conflict Poetry

Students will study one cluster of poems taken from the AQA poetry anthology, Poems Past and Present. There is a choice of two clusters, each containing 15 poems. The poems in each cluster are thematically linked and were written between 1789 and the present day. Students should study all 15 poems in their chosen cluster and be prepared to write about any of them in the examination. As well as the knowledge of each individual poem, students need to be taught to make links between the poems and be able to compare two poems in their examination. Comparison skills are also explored in year 11 in the Language paper 2 unit. This unit is the third Literature unit taught in year 10. Students will be developing their analysis of Literature texts and will have already dealt with texts written in different time periods.


Students will study one play from the list of six set texts. Students should study the whole text. This play was chosen for students as the fast-paced plot enables them to be fully engaged in the text and the establishment I Act 1 helps students of all abilities to understand the key ideas. There is scope for more able students to explore some of the more complicated language and thematic ideas. By the time students reach year 10 they will have studied three plays from Shakespeare so will be more than familiar with the language and the structure of his plays, with some knowledge of context. This is the final Literature text to be studied in the course and one that students can often find difficult. Therefore, they can use the skills they have been taught in language analysis of other texts and apply them to this.

Year 11: (AQA Literature and Language Specification - Language: 8700 and Literature: 8702)

In Year 11, students focus on the explicit examination skills for GCSE. Units include: Writing for Purpose and Audience; Creative Writing and Analytical Writing. These units will be underpinned by the study of the texts from Year 10 – which will also be revisited in preparation for GCSE Exams.

In English Language, students engage with texts from a variety of genres and time periods – both literary and non-fiction. They are expected to be able to identify and comment upon a writer’s intentions and purpose within a text – as well as being able to show a secure understanding of how to shape their own writing for effect.

Paper 1 Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

This unit is first taught towards the end of year 10 and prepares students for Paper 1 Language. In this unit they can explore modern fiction texts and can build upon their skills with each new text. This unit is taught after the four Literature units as the analysis skills which students have been developing are transferable here. Students have looked at longer texts and have shown that they can comment on the language and structural techniques of a writer. Creative writing will not have been taught since key stage 3 and should be revisited often across year 1 and 11 in order to build confidence and skill.

Paper 2 Non-fiction texts and Perspectives

This unit is first taught at the start of year 11 and prepares students for Paper 2 Language. In this unit students focus on two thematically linked texts and explore the viewpoints presented in each.  Students will have studied non-fiction in key stage 3 and will now build upon their skills. They will use their study of Literature in year 10 to aid them in this unit, analysis of language and comparison.  Students will also be used to expressing their opinion in writing due to the weekly writing challenges completed in key stage 3.

In English Literature, students’ focus on studying literary conventions, linguistic analysis, critical interpretation and contextual knowledge. There is a specific focus on the set texts listed above. For the poetry examination, there is an unseen element, meaning students should develop the ability to read widely.


Year 12 and 13 (KS 5)


Year 12: (AQA English Literature B Specification – 7716)

In Year 12, students will study a range of texts including: King Lear, Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Death of a Salesman.

Year 13: (AQA English Literature B Specification – 7717)

Students will continue with the texts from Year 12 and will also study the following texts: The Kite Runner, The Handmaid’s Tale, Songs of Innocence and Experience. Students will also be required to produce a Non-examined assessment (NEA)  portfolio based on TWO independently chosen texts and linked to the AQA Critical Anthology – one of which should be a substantive collection of poetry. These poems can be taken from several collections, however all text choices should be quality assured by the Director of Learning to ensure they meet the AQA criteria.

The aim of the course is to encourage students to further develop the critical analysis skills learned in KS4. They are expected to read widely around the set texts, particularly in Year 13, where this is a prerequisite for the NEA study. Students are expected to work independently and are encouraged to approach the study of each text from a critical and personal perspective. Students are expected to be comfortable with a range of texts – including Shakespeare and the Literary Heritage – and be able to articulate mature and cogent opinions on what they read.



We offer a range of extracurricular opportunities. These include, but are not exclusively limited to:

  • KS3 Transition Writing Competition. Winners to be announced in the first two weeks of the new term.
  • KS3 Readathon week
  • The Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge – an event which brings a professional speaking coach to The Academy to work with Year 10 students on their presentation skills.
  • Termly Writing Competitions giving students the opportunity to further develop the skills learned through their timetabled lessons.
  • Extra study sessions for KS4 students – these often take the form of a bespoke programme of activities linked to specific questions or skills in an examination. These sessions run on Wednesday for targeted students and those who wish to attend for extra support. Students are targeted as a result of Department assessment analysis.
  • The Library is open at lunchtimes to encourage and facilitate reading for enjoyment.

The English Department regularly provides support to aid student progression. This can take the form of GCSE Master Classes in the run up to final examinations, to drop-in sessions to support younger students’ development. In KS5 a comprehensive array of support and enrichment activities have been offered – both during school hours and often at weekends.


GCSE Bitesize -

A fantastic site, where students can access material relating to both the Language and Literature aspects of the course.

English Biz –

A very useful website, on which students can access tutorials on how to write for specific purposes and audiences. There are also some handy tips on how to analyse a text successfully and breakdowns of several key texts.

Education Quizzes –

A range of English quizzes available – entertaining and educational.

Universal Teacher –

 Another useful website geared towards GCSE Literature revision.

Poetry Websites

Novel Websites

English Revision Websites

English - Simon Armitage - Homecoming

English - Simon Armitage - Mother Any Distance

English Reading List

READING KEY:  *  =  enjoyable reading    *****  =  enjoyable but challenging

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time* by Mark Haddon

A murdered dog, a 15-year-old boy, a broken family… leads to a very unusual detective adventure story with a twist. The 'detective' is a fifteen year-old youth who will capture your interest from page one. If you enjoy this, move on to Vernon God Little** by the curiously named DBC Pierre; this has been likened to the The Osbournes inviting The Simpsons round for root beer!

The Life of Pi** by Yann Martell

Yann Martell will tempt you to ponder big issues as you accompany an orangutan, zebra, tiger, and a sixteen-year-old Indian boy trapped in a lifeboat adrift on the Pacific Ocean… this is a wackily imaginative yet thought-provoking adventure story that is also, at times, rather gruesome and disturbing.

Do try Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees** if you enjoyed having your thoughts provoked by this author!

Lord of the Flies*** by William Golding

A plane crashes on a desert island; all adults are killed; a group of teenage boys are forced to survive alone...all hell breaks loose. A disturbing tale and a modern classic from one of our acknowledged best writers. If you enjoy this move on to Conrad’s Heart of Darkness****.

Brighton Rock**** by Graham Greene

Sunny Brighton as you’ve never known it: a subtle and dark view of life in violent gangland. A modern classic from one of the undoubted g-r-e-a-t-s of British mid-20th Century fiction. You might easily find yourself hooked on Greene's brilliant writing and want to try others from this same author - The Heart of the Matter****, The Quiet American**** or his acknowledged masterpiece, The Power and the Glory**** certainly won't disappoint.

The Godfather*** by Mario Puzo

A big, fast-paced story about the Corleone family and their mafia lifestyle. Exciting reading that grips and entertains. Make sure you see the three films, too – fantastic entertainment. If you liked reading this, try Puzo’s Omerta*** , another absolutely five-star crime story.

The Lovely Bones** by Alice Sebold

A murdered girl looks back on her family as they try to cope and uncover her murderer. Totally gripping! If you enjoy harrowing autobiographical stories you'll want to read this author's other popular novel, Lucky** - adult themes in both stories but both equally gripping and moving.

Fever Pitch* by Nick Hornby

A football obsessed bloke deals with relationships and life. Still a top seller. If you like this one, you’ll love Hornby’s other best seller, the “guy’s novel”, High Fidelity* .

Heart of Darkness**** by Joseph Conrad

A journey into darkest Africa and into the darkness of the human soul – a theme shared by Puzo’s The Godfather. This is an extraordinarily well written, subtle and sophisticated classic of English literature. When you’ve read it, be sure to see Apocalypse Now – a modern film based on Conrad’s classic tale.

If you like this level of subtlety and sophistication in your reading, you might also enjoy James Joyce’s The Dubliners**** – a classic and brilliant short story collection by Ireland’s top writer.

The Da Vinci Code*** by Dan Brown

A page-turning adventure story that will provide food for thought – not to everyone’s taste but a current best seller. Well plotted and with very short chapters make this a quick and easy read. If you like page-turners, you might also enjoy P J Tracy’s Want to Play .

(Un)arranged Marriage** by Bali Rai

Boy/parents culture clash but… no cheesy romance this. A top-rated first story from this young new author.
Don’t miss his Rani and Sukh*, too – a five-star recommended read.

Jane Eyre*** by Charlotte Bronte

One of the accepted classics of English Literature, Jane Eyre is the story of a young orphan girl and her life and search for love and happiness. Filmed for the big screen and TV several times but so much more satisfying as a book. If you enjoy this, you could try Villette*** , Bronte's darker, more mature later story.

Northern Lights*** by Philip Pullman

Do you enjoy a story with big themes to ponder over, all set within an enthralling quest for Good against Evil? This book – and the two others in the trilogy, The Subtle Knife*** and The Amber Spyglass*** are
three of the best selling books of recent years. Quality reading.

Great Expectations**** by Charles Dickens

Dickens is rated by many as England’s greatest novelist and this is often considered his best work. Written in the mid-nineteenth century, this is the tale of young Pip, an orphaned village boy and his extraordinary development into a proper gentleman. If you like Dickens’ wonderful characters and absorbing plots, you’ll surely also enjoy Dickens’ own favourite, the semi-autobiographical, David Copperfield**** .

How I Live Now** by Meg Rosoff

Set in today’s England, a New York girl – 15-year-old Daisy – copes with her wacky family, love and the outbreak of war in this teen/adult novel. A truly gutsy work of fiction well worth your time! If you enjoy "coming of age" novels like this, try the two most famous of them all, J D Salinger's Catcher in the Rye*** and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar** .

The Great Gatsby*** by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Often called “The Great American Novel”, The Great Gatsby is set in 1920s New York; it captures the mood of the age to perfection. An acknowledged modern classic tale of wealth, power and loneliness. Move on to three other classic American stories, Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter**** , Stephen Crane’s short novel, The Red Badge of Courage** and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath** .

Pride and Prejudice**** by Jane Austen

The course of true love certainly does not run smooth for Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy in Austen’s most famous novel written at the end of the eighteenth century. Filmed several times, this is a tale of, erm… pride and erm… prejudice! If you enjoy Austen's writing and wry humour, try Sense and Sensibility**** , Emma**** and Northanger Abbey**** - this last one a tale with a fine, ironic gothic twist.

Daydreamer* by Ian McEwan

Weird and wonderful, this is fine imaginative writing from some say the top contemporary author. Surprisingly straightforward reading that you will not want to put down. If you become hooked, try one of McEwan's more
sophisticated yet still highly readable adult stories such as his outstanding Atonement*** .

Fahrenheit 451*** by Ray Bradbury

At exactly 451°F paper ignites. Books burn. And in this future society all books are burned. This is classic American sci-fi from one of their top writers. If you enjoy this - and you surely will! - try Bradbury's famous Martian short-story collection, the The Martian Chronicles** .

Wuthering Heights**** by Emily Bronte

A wild and darkly disturbing tale of passion leading to madness; written in the mid-nineteenth century and considered one of the greatest tales of English Literature.

The Colour of Magic** by Terry Pratchett

Zany, intelligent reading: a very funny and v-e-r-y weird story and the book that started the continuing and brilliant Discworld cult. A modern classic of its genre. If this hooks you into Discworld, you’ll have no trouble choosing your next book!

Chasing Redbird* by Sharon Creech

Teenage angst told in an utterly compelling tale by a well respected modern writer. An emotional yet deeply honest exploration of teenage issues. If you like this, you'll surely also enjoy Dear Nobody* by Berlie Docherty.

Dictionaries and Resources Websites