The English Faculty’s intent is to inspire a love of English, both Language and high quality Literature. This will open doors in thinking and connect students to the issues, ideas and feelings which shape our lives, thus encouraging students to find their voice in the world. This is, indeed, the human experience.

Departmental Approach to the Curriculum

We believe in the centrality of reading, writing, speaking and listening in life and as key skills which underpin every child’s education.

We encourage students to read, write and speak like an expert in all situations. We are teachers who love and value reading and aim to promote it widely: within the classroom, in library lessons and through the school’s Tutor Read programme.

We have developed a demanding, stimulating and sequenced curriculum, based around knowledge and skills, which considers how the progression in curriculum content will enable students to achieve their best possible outcomes whilst enjoying and celebrating the richness of language, our literary cultural heritage and the range of literary voices in today’s diverse world. For example, the study of literary villains in Spy stories in Year 7 builds to exploring  more complex tragic heroes in Shakespeare’s plays in Years 11 and 13; whilst empathising with the story of a climate refugee in Year 8 will enable students to explore the world around them and lay the foundations for writing opinion pieces at GCSE and studying how language is used to represent people at A Level.

The context in which texts are written and received is essential knowledge to build comprehension, as is a rich and developed vocabulary.

We also offer extra curricular writing opportunities through both writing groups and competitions, encouraging students to write for real. We value author visits and most recently welcomed Hilary Mantel and Nicky Singer. In addition we have a junior drama group for budding thespians!

The English team recognises the invaluable support of parents and guardians and aims to communicate clearly and openly.

We have a thematic, fresh and creative  curriculum in years 7-9, with students studying the literary canon alongside new, contemporary fiction that embeds the skills required for GCSE and beyond.

We take every opportunity to adapt our teaching to current events and the work of new writers, for example the inclusion of a unit on Iconic Women in Year 8 which includes a focus on Malala and the class novel, The Survival Game by Nicky Singer with its focus on the climate crisis.

We put emphasis on developing clarity and accuracy in writing and the ability to interpret and analyse the written word We are also focused on enabling students to develop their vocabulary and master the skills they need to be clear communicators.

English Language

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein

English is invaluable for your future no matter what you are aiming for. A good command of the spoken and written word will help you every day – and benefit all your other GCSEs too. Whatever you end up doing, English is a must have subject for college, university and life!

This AQA GCSE is studied alongside a separate GCSE in English Literature.

AQA English Language GCSE
(All texts in the examination are unseen)

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

Section A: Reading

  • one literature fiction text

Section B: Writing

  • descriptive or narrative writing

  • written exam; 1 hour 45 minutes

  • 50% of GCSE

Paper 2: Writer’s Viewpoints and Perspectives

Section A: Reading

  • one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text

Section B: Writing

  • writing to present a viewpoint

  • written exam; 1 hour 45 minutes

  • 50% of GCSE

Progression and Career Opportunities

From Architecture to Zoology, GCSE English will help you to:

  • Work independently

  • Be creative

  • Think critically

  • Communicate your ideas with confidence

  • Think logically

It could also help you to land your dream job in (to name a few) . . .

Sports Journalism – Lawyer – Film Director – Public Relations Executive – Author – Actor

“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.”
Charles Dickens

English Literature allows you to: be a time traveller; visit foreign countries; become a mind reader; and understand how a single word can change everything. Through the study of texts both from contemporary writers and those of the literary heritage, English Literature allows you to develop your close reading skills and justify fresh interpretations of texts which have been discussed for hundreds of years.

AQA English Literature GCSE

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the C19th –novel

Section A Shakespeare: students will answer one question on their play of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.

Section B: The C19th- novel: students will answer one question on their novel of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.

  • Written exam:1 hour 45 minutes

  • 40% of GCSE

Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry

Section Modern Texts: students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on their studied modern prose or drama text.

Section B: Poetry: students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.

Section C Unseen poetry: students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.

  • Written exam: 2 hours 15 minutes

  • 60% of GCSE

Progression and Career Opportunities

Reading is only the beginning - GCSE English Literature will help you to:

  • Think analytically

  • Use evidence to propose an argument

  • Be empathetic to points of view and cultures that are not your own

  • Make links between writing and its context

  • Appreciate Literature in all its forms

It could also help you to land your dream job in (to name a few) . . .

Lawyer – Acting – Media Relations – Teaching - Journalism

Drama is an exciting, creative and challenging course. Students who pursue this course can develop an insight into and an understanding of a wide range of dramatic activities.

A balance between controlled practical assessment tasks and the written examination gives the candidates the best opportunity to succeed. Opportunities to visit the theatre; devise own performances; act out and study published plays; work with professional theatre practitioners and work individually and in small groups, are all unique characteristics of this course.

‘Drama is life with the dull bits cut out’
Alfred Hitchcock


Drama is divided into three components: 1. Understanding drama; 2. Devising drama; 3. Texts in practice.

Component 1: Understanding Drama:

Knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre. Study of one set play from a choice of six   

Assessment: Written exam: 1 hour and 45 minutes; Open book; 80 marks; 40% of GCSE; Marked externally

Component 2: Devising Drama (practical): Devising log (60 marks) Devised performance (20 marks) 80 marks in total; 40% of GCSE; Marked by teachers; Moderated by AQA

Component 3: Texts in Practice (practical): Performance of Extract 1 (20 marks) and Extract 2 (20 marks)

 40 marks in total; 20% of GCSE; Marked by AQA

Progression and Career Opportunities

The content of this course enables a smooth transition to GCE specifications in Drama and Theatre Studies and other performing arts courses. It provides a basis for pursuing a career in the Arts in future; yet students from a wide subject background, including Humanities and Science find skills gained in Drama really add breadth and depth to their academic experience. It also develops confidence and public speaking skills which are invaluable for all courses at KS5 and beyond at university level. Past students have moved on to work in business, law, marketing, acting, journalism, teaching, as well as stage management, lighting and set design and other jobs linked to the theatrical profession.

Exam Board: Pearson Edexcel

"Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest places in human society and in the human spirit, where I hope to find not absolute truth but the truth of the tale, of the imagination and of the heart."
Salman Rushdie

Entrance Requirements: a 5 in English Literature is essential; a 6 desirable.

English Literature is an engaging and thought provoking subject; the course is designed to open the mind to new ideas and ways of thinking. It’s about people and their lives; it’s about making connections between the past and the present and understanding how writers influence us. It is designed for those who possess an ability to analyse language and who love reading. You need to be willing to discuss your ideas and listen to those of others – strong opinions are always welcome!

What does the course involve?

The course centres around the study of the three genres: poetry, prose and drama.

Component 1: Drama 30%

Shakespeare: King Lear and Other Drama: A Streetcar Named Desire

Component 2: Prose 20%

The Handmaid’s Tale and Frankenstein

Component 3: Poetry 30%

Metaphysical Poetry  and post-2000 poetry compared to unseen poetry

Component 4: Coursework 20%

Students produce one comparative assignment 2,500-3,000 words

The coursework offers students the opportunity to pursue their individual interests and to become increasingly independent in their study.

Another stimulating and enjoyable aspect of the course is attending performances of the textswe study and engaging with academics and experts in the field. Most recently we havetravelled to Cheltenham Literary Festival to a talk on Mary Shelley by her biographers; been to Malvern Theatre to see “King Lear” and attended an A Level poetry day run by Ledbury Poetry Festival.

English Literature has the power to make those who engage in it more tolerant, sophisticated, civilised and creative. It helps you develop communication skills, cultural knowledge and the power of independent thought. These skills encourage a versatility of approach and breadth of response which could prove to be a blessing in an age in which you may change career several times. The obvious career paths that lead from it are teaching, journalism, publishing, advertising and law.

Every year students go on to study English Literature at a range of universities including Cambridge.

I love English Literature because we draw parallels between the writers’ worlds and modern life. I have been able to develop my interest in reading and thinking critically. I also enjoy arguing my point of view and expressing my own opinions! Isobel Brieley, Year 13

Exam Board: AQA

You will study Language, the Individual and Society. In this module you will learn how to analyse spoken, written and multimodal language from an amazing variety of texts. You will develop a keen understanding of how these texts are structured and how the writer or speaker uses language to create meaning.
The module Language Diversity and Change is taught alongside the first module. From the start of the course you will explore topics such as Representation, Accent and Dialect and Language and Gender. Moreover, in the second year you will also study how language changes and how children acquire spoken language and learn to write. You will write about your findings in a variety of ways, from academic essays to articles and blogs.

The A level is assessed through two examinations, each counting for 40% of the A level, plus a Non-Examination Assessment worth 20%.

The Non-Examination Assessment will ask you to write a short piece that shows off your own writing skills, combined with an analysis of your own writing. You will also undertake a Language Investigation in which you will discuss spoken language data and evaluate linguistic theories and ideas.

 ‘Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone.’ (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

The course will challenge your perceptions about language and help you to look beyond the widely held beliefs we so often encounter. It will furnish you with an excellent understanding of how the English language works and how its speakers and writers use it.

You will develop your own writing and communication skills, making English Language an excellent preparation for future study and further employment. Students who are considering a career in Law, teaching, management, or any other job in which higher understanding of language and excellent communication skills are imperative, will find this course invaluable. Students who have completed this course have gone on to be: journalists, teachers, lawyers, prison warders, doctors and scientists – you name it!

Exam Board: WJEC
What does the course involve?

Paper 1: Hollywood 1930-1990; American film since 2005; British Film since 1995

Paper 20: Global film; Documentary film; silent film; experimental film 1960-2000
Coursework: short film (4-5 mins) or a screenplay

What can this course lead to?

Aside from studying film as an undergraduate, students move into other arts/humanities degrees transferring their analytical and critical skills and thinking into fresh areas.
Students have gone onto to Foundation year arts degrees or have gone into the industry as, for example, post-production technicians such as colourists, editors, etc.

For more than anything else, cinema consists of the eye for magic – that which perceives and reveals the marvellous in whatsoever it looks upon. Maya Deren, filmmaker
Some Ex-Students Jake Edwards is currently completing a PhD at the University of Warwick in film after gaining a First and a MA, with a view to joining the university as a lecturer.

Ben Londesborough was the top-performing student in the country in 2014 (over 6,000 candidates) at A level and gained an award in a ceremony at the WJEC headquarters in Cardiff.

Rosy Cowell is currently on a civil service training programme with the Foreign Office in London, having graduated from Warwick University with a First in Film Studies.