The Curriculum Purpose

The English curriculum is intended to provide a knowledge rich, engaging and inclusive curriculum for pupils of all abilities that inspires a love of reading and a love of English as a subject. We aim to provide the tools for success within the context of national exams and, most importantly, the tools for successful communication in life.


Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3, students will study a range of units focusing on three key skill strands: Reading, Writing and Speaking & Listening skills. The curriculum is a loosely spiral curriculum with units alternating on a half termly basis in terms of the key skill we are focusing on. We aim to promote a love of reading and encourage independent reading through the use of the Accelerated Reader programme with students receiving a reading lesson once a week in lesson time.


Key Stage 4 (Exam Board: AQA)

At Key stage 4, students study both Language GCSE and Literature GCSE content over two years in preparation for their exams. We use the AQA exam board and study the following key texts for Literature: William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls. We use the AQA Poetry Anthology and study the Power & Conflict cluster of poems. The Language and Literature content is spaced out across the two years; by the end of Year 10, students have covered all content for Literature Paper 1 and Language Paper 1. In Year 11, students cover the content in Literature Paper 2 and Language Paper 2 and in the Spring Term they revise content from the Literature 1/Language 1 exam papers. Students also complete a separate Speaking and Listening endorsement earning a Pass, Merit or Distinction. The grade awarded is separate to their exam grades and the task involves independently preparing and delivering a persuasive speech to an audience of their peers and teacher.


Key Stage 5 (Exam Board: AQA)

At Key Stage 5, students study a range of diverse texts including novels, plays and poems. We study Alice Walker’s The Colour Purple, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, and  as well as a prose and poetry unit. There is course work (Non Examination Assessment)  worth 20% of students’ overall grade which entails writing a 2500 word comparison essay on two texts of their choice. Each A level class will have two separate teachers to cover the full content of the course.


Key Concepts in the English Curriculum


Exam Board: AQA


Key Stage 4 Language

For GCSE English Language students should:

  • read fluently, and with good understanding, a wide range of texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including literature and literary non-fiction as well as other writing such as reviews and journalism
  • read and evaluate texts critically and make comparisons between texts
  • summarise and synthesise information or ideas from texts
  • use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing
  • write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately
  • use grammar correctly and punctuate and spell accurately
  • acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology, and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • listen to and understand spoken language and use spoken Standard English effectively.

GCSE English Language is designed on the basis that students should read and be assessed on high-quality, challenging texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Each text studied must represent a substantial piece of writing, making significant demands on students in terms of content, structure and the quality of language. The texts, across a range of genres and types, should support students in developing their own writing by providing effective models. The texts must include literature and extended literary non-fiction, and other writing such as essays, reviews and journalism (both printed and online). Texts that are essentially transient, such as instant news feeds, must not be included. The number and types of texts, and their length, are not prescribed.

For further information on the examination specifications, please visit the AQA website.


Key Stage 4 Literature

Reading comprehension and reading critically

  • literal and inferential comprehension: understanding a word, phrase or sentence in context; exploring aspects of plot, characterisation, events and settings; distinguishing between what is stated explicitly and what is implied; explaining motivation, sequence of events, and the relationship between actions or events
  • critical reading: identifying the theme and distinguishing between themes; supporting a point of view by referring to evidence in the text; recognising the possibility of and evaluating different responses to a text; using understanding of writers’ social, historical and cultural contexts to inform evaluation; making an informed personal response that derives from analysis and evaluation of the text
  • evaluation of a writer’s choice of vocabulary, grammatical and structural features: analysing and evaluating how language, structure, form and presentation contribute to quality and impact; using linguistic and literary terminology for such evaluation
  • comparing texts:comparing and contrasting texts studied, referring where relevant to theme, characterisation, context (where known), style and literary quality; comparing two texts critically with respect to the above


  • producing clear and coherent text: writing effectively about literature for a range of purposes such as: to describe, explain, summarise, argue, analyse and evaluate; discussing and maintaining a point of view; selecting and emphasising key points; using relevant quotation and using detailed textual references
  • accurate Standard English: accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar.

For further details on the subject specification, please visit the AQA website.


Key Stage 5

Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all AS and A-level English Literature specifications and all exam boards.

The exams and non-exam assessment will measure to what extent students have achieved the following AOs:

  • AO1: Articulate informed, personal and creative responses to literary texts, using associated concepts and terminology, and coherent, accurate written expression.
  • AO2: Analyse ways in which meanings are shaped in literary texts.
  • AO3: Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received.
  • AO4: Explore connections across literary texts.
  • AO5: Explore literary texts informed by different interpretations.

The course is designed to encourage students to do the following

  • read widely and independently both set texts and others that they have selected for themselves
  • engage critically and creatively with a substantial body of texts and ways of responding to them
  • develop and effectively apply their knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation
  • explore the contexts of the texts they are reading and others’ interpretations of them.

In addition, A-level specifications must encourage students to develop their interest in and enjoyment of literature and literary studies as they undertake independent and sustained studies to deepen their appreciation and understanding of English literature, including its changing traditions.


Key Features of Learning

The English department is a large department formed of enthusiastic, creative and dedicated teachers. We are organised to ensure all key stages are closely overseen and managed by a specific member of the team. Our roles and responsibilities include an SLT Link, Head of Department, 2ic with responsibility for Key Stage 3, 2ic with responsibility for Key Stage 4, 3ic with responsibility for Key Stage 5, 3ic with responsibility for Key Stage 3, and a Literacy Coordinator. We work closely as a department with the two librarians in our Learning Resource Centre as well as the SENCO and Deputy SENCo in Curriculum Support. We have ten classrooms with beautiful displays that work to encourage a love of reading and writing, a fully equipped ICT suite of computers and a department set of Ipads for use in our literacy lessons.


What will you see in English lessons?

  • Engaging lessons with appropriate levels of challenge for all
  • Consistency across all classrooms
  • Clear routines and high expectations of behaviour
  • Adaptive teaching – ensuring appropriate levels of challenge for all pupils
  • Positive classroom environment and excellent rapport with teachers
  • Emphasis on Oracy - opportunities for students to articulate their ideas verbally and improve their oracy
  • Promoting a love of reading
  • Explicit vocabulary instruction to challenge the vocabulary gap
  • Focus on SMSC and Personal Development through text choices and writing units with a focus on relevant literary, historical and social context
  • Promotion of a growth mindset and opportunities for acting on feedback form a regular part of our lessons


What you will see in student exercise books and class work?

  • High expectation for presentation of work exercise books
  • Midterm assessments with teacher feedback in red pen
  • Redrafted midterms in green pen to make improvements and act on feedback
  • End assessments in separate student folders
  • Consistent use of literary and marking key across department


SP – Spelling – students should look up in dictionary and write out correctly 3x

P – Punctuation error

G – Grammar (e.g. subject verb agreement error)

T – Target to focus on when improving work

? – Question – students should answer in margin in green pen

  • Midterm assessments not marked / levelled. Issued a positive comment and two targets to focus on
  • End assessments marked using specific and relevant mark schemes (KS4/5) or threshold grids (KS3)
  • Pride in presentation of work
  • Extended drafts of writing


What formative assessment will you see in English? 

In English, we aim to use a range of types of formative assessment to assess pupil understanding:

  • Teacher questioning of pupils and targeted questioning
  • Multiple choice quizzes to check understanding and comprehension
  • Opportunities for students to talk – ‘Think, Pair, Share’ is a regular part of our practise
  • Midterm assessments and acting on feedback lessons with a focus on whole class targets and misconceptions as well as individual feedback
  • Time in lesson for students to act on their teacher feedback in lessons
  • Expectation that students engage with teacher feedback as part of their weekly homework and correct literacy mistakes, respond to questions in their exercise book from teachers in their own time. Evidence of green pen and regular ‘DIRT’ or acting on feedback should be in student exercise books
  • Mock exams for Key Stage 4/5
  • Homework – not all homework will be marked by teachers however specific pieces will be in order to check understanding of the class and provide targeted feedback
  • Summative assessment – for Key Stage 3 this includes a range of short answer questions to check comprehension as well as extended essay / creative writing tasks. Assessments are marked using threshold grids. Students are given a threshold at the start of year 7 but their marked assessments simply state whether they are performing on target, below target or above target. Students receive a copy of the threshold grid to see the specific skills they have met.
  • Summative assessment – for Key Stage 4/5 this includes essay tasks and extended writing tasks based on the GCSE Language and Literature specifications. These are marked using the mark scheme from the exam for that individual question. Mock exams are marked using the full mark scheme from the exam board and assigned a grade.


What extra curricular is available in the English department?

  • Trips to the theatre – e.g. Globe Theatre to see ‘Measure for Measure’ with Year 12/13 in 2022
  • In house theatre performances – e.g. performance of ‘A Christmas Carol’ for all of Year 10/11
  • After school clubs vary year on year depending on staffing but have included in the past: Debate Mate, Creative Writing Club, Journalism Club, Wider Reading Club
  • Creative Writing Competitions – in 2022 we entered students for the ‘Twisted Tales’ competition
  • Paired Reading – senior KS4/5 students pairing with younger students to read with them during Personal Development Time in the mornings
  • Poetry Live - also known as Poetry Live! for GCSE, is a series of annual events in venues across the UK where poets perform their poetry to English school children. Year 11 students are taken on a trip into central London to hear poets perform their poems from the anthology they study as part of the literature exam specification. The event always includes a performance and speech by the current Poet Laureate.


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English Department Long Term Plan Curriculum Overview 05th Jul 2022 Download