The English curriculum

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KS3 English
Year 7 Curriculum Overview Click here
Year 8 Curriculum Overview Click here
Year 9 Curriculum Overview Click here
Progression mapping Click here


KS4 English Dual course Y10 and Y11 Click here


The aim of the English Department is to:

  • create literate, articulate students who are able to engage meaningfully in the written word and communicate effectively as individuals
  • provide students with a wide range of engaging, challenging and complex texts that broaden their understanding of the world and their investment in “cultural capital”
  • systematically teach students the fundamentals of grammar so that they are then able to manipulate linguistic structures  to communicate both accurately and effectively
  • explicitly teach and train students in the use of tier 2 vocabulary so that they build an understanding of the nuances of language, a rich and varied active vocabulary that effects success at GCSE but, more importantly, develops their potential to think with accuracy
  • develop students’ oracy so that they are able to articulate their ideas, develop their confidence and their individual voice


In order for our vision statement to be realised it is our intent

  • To plan our KS3 curriculum so that it Key Stage 3 builds upon the knowledge and skills developed in KS2.
  • To map explicit progression in skills and knowledge across KS3 so that it prepares students for KS4
  • To study five full works of fiction, two Shakespeare plays, a range of poetry as well as a wide range of non-fiction in KS3 which thematically and linguistically become progressively more challenging so that students are well prepard for the set and unseen texts they will study as part of the GCSE sjyllabus at KS4
  • To review  and consolidate KS2 grammar skills in the early years of KS3 so that students can become confident in recognising, applying and manipulating  grammatical structures at word and sentence level 
  • To explicitly teach and train students in the use of targetted tier 2 vocabulary so that they  are encouraged to become self-conscious users of a new and expanding active vocabulary range
  • To enable students to communicate effectively in discussion and to express themselves and form their own opinions
  • To promote our students’ ability to work independently and through our delivery of spaced and interleaved learning, a pedagogy that develops  mastery and incorporates regular assessment, we aim to give them the skills, knowledge and attributes that will help them succeed at GCSE and beyond.


Key stage 3


In each of the years 7 and 8, students will study two full novels and by year 9 students will also have read a classic 19th century work of fiction to promote cultural capital and an appreciation of our literary heritage. As well as the increasing challenge of the texts themselves,  the focus of our novel study extends students’ reading skills by studying both character and  thematic development. 

We study two Shakespeare plays at KS3 which have been chosen to engage, challenge and prepare students for their Literature course at KS4. Poetry study begins with a focus on the varied devices, structures and forms of poetry in year 7 whilst in year 8 students will study how poets explore the same subject matter and theme in a variety of contexts. Students are introduced to classic texts from the British literary heritage carefully chosen to engage and broaden our students cultural capital as well as prepare students for the complexity of the poetry they are introduced to in year 9 and in their Literature course. 

Non-fiction study begins with a focus on subject matter that is accessible and engaging but which then progresses in complexity and nuance, both of the topics and of the writers’ perspectives through KS3 so that students are able to engage with the challenge of the non-fiction they will study for GCSE Language.

They will  develop their understanding of  the different nuances of sophisticated (tier 2) vocabulary and use this to explain the effects of language and linguistic devices and structures.  We will teach a bank of target vocabulary to each year group and by encouraging and monitoring the use of this target vocabulary we can support students’ vocabulary acquisition across the key stages. They will learn to explain writers’ attitudes and viewpoints and compare different perspectives  in increasing detail so that they can engage meaningfully in a wide variety of text types.  They will also learn  how different contexts - historical, personal and thematic - create meaning in a wide range of texts and this will enhance their cultural capital.  


We begin by revisiting and consolidating the recognition of the various sentence structures taught at primary level and as students’ confidence in knowing and applying these various structures in their own writing develops, we teach how grammar can be varied for specific effects. 

Over Key Stage 3, students will develop their ability to write fiction and non-fiction with greater impact and control of how language is used for effect, adopting and adapting the different structures and conventions, such as those of genre,  when describing and narrating a story or manipulating a reader’s response when conveying a point of view. In year 7 we will consolidate their grammatical knowledge and then develop their ability to recognise and write with a full range of sentence structures in order to create effects and to engage the reader.  

Students will also be encouraged to develop subtlety in their application of tone and stylistic features particularly in the development of a  formal, critical style of  exploratory academic analysis. 


We give our students opportunities to develop their ability and their confidence in the skills of dialogue, discussion  and, when appropriate, public speaking in a formal context throughout the key stage.


KS4  Content

Students study both English Language and English Literature in  Key Stage 4 and this leads to two separate GCSE qualifications. We follow the AQA GCSE syllabus for both subjects. 

English Language is assessed by two examinations. Paper 1 includes an extract of fiction that students are asked to analyse before producing some creative narrative or descriptive writing themselves. Paper 2 assesses non fiction reading and writing  skills; it includes two extracts of non fiction linked by subject. One of the texts will be a 19th century extract. As in paper 1,  students complete a series of reading tasks before completing a piece of writing to express their point of view on a given subject.

Similarly, English Literature is assessed by two examinations and we cover the five key elements of the course over Key Stage 4: Shakespeare, a 19th century novel, modern prose or drama, poetry and unseen poetry.



We assess understanding and progress each lesson through speaking and listening using class discussion, participation in question & answer and monitored group talk.  We also regularly utilise mini whiteboards to quickly assess whole class understanding amd progress. 

Written work is marked regularly.  We focus on  six assessment objectives:  reading to identify information, make inferences, compare ideas and analyse language as well as context; writing that is effective, and accurate, for a range of purposes and in a variety of contexts. Classes will be set common agreed assessment tasks at regular times throughout the year that are  carefully moderated across the department so that standards are clear and coherent and confidently applied to student work by all staff. As well as assessments embedded in our schemes of learning, we also use some of the KS3 assessments created by AQA to prepare students for the AQA GCSE syllabus they follow in KS4.

In KS4, assessment continues as outlined above however as the Literature syllabus leads to a closed book exam - meaning students need to work from memory rather than take the text to be examined into the exam room with them as was the case previously, we put a lot of emphasis on students learning and retaining information that will be vital to their success in exams. Students are expected to learn key ideas and quotations to use in the various potential exam responses that will be demanded of them - this means we assess students recall and home based revision closely from the summer term in year 9 when we introduce students to the Literature syllabus, onwards.