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Key Stage 3

English lessons in year 7 follow the English Mastery curriculum. This approach focuses on using rich texts and getting the details of the basics absolutely right to ensure students fully understand how English works. English lessons take place eight times a fortnight and will be divided into one of three types:


  • Literary Heritage – In these lessons, students have the chance to learn about classic texts, such as Oliver Twist, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a collection of classic poems. The lessons are designed to be engaging and challenging, building up key skills and knowledge that prepare students for their future studies and encourage a lifelong love of reading.
  • Mastery Writing – Mastery writing lessons explicitly build up key knowledge that we all need to write fluently, such as grammar and vocabulary choices. Each lesson also allows an opportunity for writing imaginatively to put these skills into practice.
  • Reading for Pleasure – creating students who can read fluently and can enjoy reading is central to our aims and will help them to thrive as they continue through life. The Reading for pleasure lessons allow students some more freedom in the texts they choose to read, at the same time as offering guidance on what would be challenging and fun for them. https://www.englishmastery.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/2019-20-Reading-for-Pleasure-booklist.pdf


All students study the same texts, but teachers plan carefully to ensure that lessons are adapted to address the needs of the individuals in each class and also to allow flexibility to meet their interests. Evidence suggests that the English Mastery approach will enable students to progress quickly and flourish in their English lessons and wider reading and writing.


In Years 8 and 9 students have eight lessons a fortnight.. The curriculum is designed around developing key skills of reading, writing and speaking and listening through a range of units, including Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men and a range of Shakespeare and poetry, exploring more complex ideas, texts and concepts in each year.  Each unit has a variety of opportunities through which to assess students.


Key Stage 4

All students study two GCSEs in their English lessons: English Language and English Literature. In English Language, students develop skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. In English Literature, they study a range of texts, developing analytical skills and understanding of the literary genres of prose, poetry and plays. Both qualifications are from the AQA exam board.


Each unit is designed to build the skills needed in all areas of English. The texts we study are An Inspector Calls, A Christmas Carol, Macbeth and the Love and Relationships poetry anthology. Students begin Key Stage Four in Terms 5 and 6 of Year 9 to prepare them for the demands of the GCSE course.


Key Stage 5

The A level course has a thematic element.  The themes that will be studied are LOVE THROUGH THE AGES and TEXTS IN SHARED CONTEXT. The second element of the A level course is INDEPENDENT CRITICAL STUDY: TEXTS ACROSS TIME. This means that a variety of texts will be studied around the theme of ‘Love,’ specifically human relationships.


All students will study the following texts in preparation for their exams:

  • A selection of pre-1900 poetry
  • Othello by William Shakespeare
  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • Feminine Gospels by Carol Ann Duffy
  • A Streetcar named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood


Students will also study The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde in preparation for their non-exam assessment. The task involves the student self-selecting an additional text to compare to The Picture of Dorian Gray, from a list of options offered by the department. Students will also develop skills in unseen reading by approaching a variety of different extracts from different time periods and genres.

Enrichment and Study Support

The department offers a range of enrichment activities that change regularly. Currently, there is a creative writing club and journalism week, and debating clubs for all levels. Our debating club has been hugely successful in recent years, winning the “Youth Speaks” Competition at both Intermediate and Senior levels. In addition, we have sent teams to participate in Oxford Union training and competitions such as “Debating Matters” and “Oxford Schools”.


We also work closely with Mrs Smith in the Library to arrange visits from authors such as Cathy Cassidy and Marcus Sedgwick.


English Clinic runs each week for Key Stage 4 students who would like help with any aspect of their English work.