Curriculum Intent

Key Stage 3

The study of English is fundamental for academic achievement and success in life beyond the classroom. Students need to be able to read, write and communicate effectively (with fluency and at an age appropriate level) to access the rest of the curriculum. We strive to ensure that students master the relevant knowledge that will develop them as well-rounded individuals, with English underpinning all that they know and do. ‘The Big Four’ (Reading, Writing, Vocabulary and Spoken Language) are a priority, enabling us to support all pupils to achieve successful educational outcomes across all subjects.

At Key Stage 3 we aim to provide an engaging, exciting and challenging curriculum that delivers essential knowledge and enables students to engage in a variety of literature which is wide and challenging. Learners will read whole texts right across KS3 which will also support their development of independent writing and knowledge of the world’s ‘cultural capital’. We aim to fully prepare students throughout their Key Stage 3 studies to read in depth for both pleasure and information and to instil a love of reading within every pupil. Our lessons support Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education through reading challenging texts. Pupils will learn to become confident speakers through our subject, as the department take on a keen approach when it comes to the importance of oracy. We also work closely with the literacy and SEN coordinators to instil a love of reading, adapting lessons in order to ensure all pupils develop confidence within the course at all stages.

We believe that the driving force to unlocking the full curriculum at KS3 is reading. As reading is the master skill of English, reading for betterment will be prioritised to allow pupils to access the full curriculum. Through reading, children have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. The college and the department have always understood that reading is crucial, even more so in the current climate, as we are developing our English curriculum to be the best that it can be for all. We also believe in the power of reading and how this helps to shape inquisitive minds and critical thinkers; as well as passionate writers; giving pupils access to a wide range of vocabulary knowledge.

Our KS3 English curriculum provides all pupils with the opportunity to:

  • Read a wide range of high-quality, challenging, classic literature and extended literary non-fiction.

  • Read for betterment; accessing a range of texts from different cultures and genres, including: young adult fiction, poetry, plays.

  • Choose and read books independently for enjoyment and interest.

  • Write for different audiences and purposes.

  • Develop their knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.


Key Stage 4

The intent of the curriculum at Key Stage 4 is to equip students with the substantive knowledge and disciplinary knowledge they need to prosper at GCSE and at A-level, as well as providing rich learning experiences that will help them broaden their cultural literacy.

Students are taught a range of texts that they are assessed in the English Language and English Literature GCSE exams at the end of Year 11. The exam board (AQA) offer schools a range of texts to teach and schools must decide which texts are most appropriate for the students to learn and which texts best fit the context of the school. As a department, we consider what our students need to know and what we want them to know and then we select texts that link to their cultural background and that will make them more knowledgeable young people. We aim to provide reading opportunities and activities in class that build their knowledge so that they can understand the core texts and the world in which they live. We believe it is the job of teachers to open students’ eyes to the world and improve their cultural knowledge.

Through the Key Stage 4 curriculum, our intent is to:

  • Raise the aspirations of our students by nurturing a passion for learning.

  • Enrich students’ learning experiences, providing the substantive knowledge and disciplinary knowledge they need to be successful in adult life.

  • Enable students to achieve above their expectations and achieve qualifications which allow them to follow their career aspirations.

  • Equip students with an aptitude for life-long learning and an ability to continue to build substantive knowledge and disciplinary knowledge.

  • Build confident, resilient and well-rounded adults who have an aspiration for self-improvement and who are able to compete equally with their peers in a world beyond school life.

  • Foster a love of learning that will remain with the students for the rest of their lives.

At key Stage 4, we also aim to provide students with opportunities to acquire knowledge and develop their cultural literacy to improve attainment.

  • Allow students to become confident readers, fluent writers and articulate speakers.

  • Enable students to be better equipped to make sense of the KS4 assessments.

  • Instil the passion for the subject through providing opportunities to read widely and to celebrate the arts. Success in English will ensure success across the curriculum.


Key Stage 5

The Key Stage 5 Curriculum follows the AQA English Literature A Level course providing students with the opportunity to read and explore a range of genres, themes, characters and contexts. Studying English literature opens up a world of inspiration and creativity, while also developing skills that are essential for today's global environment. It is a chance to discover how literature makes sense of the world through stories, poems, novels and plays. Students are encouraged to read for pleasure and teachers recommend novels that will broaden their understanding of the set texts as well as their knowledge and perception of the world around them.

By the end of the course, students have a rich knowledge base and a deep understanding of the subject. Students undertake a learning journey during their two year study of English Literature and are genuinely ready and prepared for the next step in their education.

M​aking the Leap to A-Level English

Department Staff 

Ms R McKean (Subject Lead)

Ms J Chamberlain

Mrs A Jones (KS3 Co-Ordinator)

Mr R Hill (KS4 Co-ordinator and Second in Department)

Miss R Hindle (Literacy Co-ordinator)

Mrs N Hodgson [p/t]

Miss E King-Davies [p/t]

Miss C Markey [p/t]

Mrs C Roberts (Deputy Head)

Miss C Strode

Curriculum Content


  • We are currently following a three-year scheme of work for Y7, Y8 and Y9. Each year group will cover at least three ‘stem’ texts, one per term that centres on a main text and a series of spring-board texts and themes. Within each topic, all teachers will deploy the explicit powerful knowledge enabling all pupils to access the range of; fiction/non-fiction reading, poetry, creative writing, transactional writing, grammar, vocabulary. These topics are adapted for each class to account for the ability level of all pupils. We use a planned curriculum map to ensure that all key areas of knowledge are taught and revisited through the years, and to ensure pupils end year 9 as capable English students in both reading and writing preparing them for the knowledge needed in their KS4 studies.

  • Pupils are placed in mixed ability classes from Y7 and will move onto sets in Y8 and 9 based on their assessment data. These sets may be subject to alteration during teacher observation and judgement after the completion of class work. Our subject curriculum map and topic overview documents offer recommendations for the duration of each year group; it has ideas for embedding key knowledge requirements for pupils at each phase of the key stage.

  • Schemes of work are carefully designed to ensure that the right components are embedded in long-term memory to enable pupils to acquire subsequent performance in more complex tasks as they move through the curriculum. Clear intent behind what knowledge needs to be learnt and how it will be learnt will be considered at each stage in the sequencing of our curriculum.

Curriculum Map


AQA GCSEs in English Literature and English Language

In Years 10 and 11, students study GCSEs in English Language and English Literature. In Year 10, teaching focuses on the texts that students need to know for the English Literature GCSE. Students study a variety of fiction, drama and poetry and build knowledge of how to analyse writers’ methods and of the contexts in which the texts were produced. Students practice essay writing and take part in frequent class discussions.

In Year 11, teaching focuses on the English Language GCSE and students build knowledge of how to succeed in the two exam papers, by analysing writers’ use of language and structure and identifying writers’ viewpoints. In Year 11, students are taught how to write to describe and how to write to explain and argue.

Sets are reviewed at the end of year 9 based on KS3 data to ensure minimal movement during the two years of KS4.

Year 10

Term 1: Romeo and Juliet / Power and Conflict Poetry

This play is studied at the start of the year to build on prior knowledge from KS3 and to extend into GCSE learning by discovering new Shakespearean themes and characters. This story of young love will ask pupils to consider the importance of relationships, family, violence, love, death as well as examining how characters are presented throughout the whole play. Students will need to be able to make their own judgements, prove their understanding and effectively link in key contextual factors of the time. Students will also study some Power and Conflict poems which link to themes in Romeo and Juliet.

Term 2: A Christmas Carol / Power and Conflict Poetry

Students will read the novella and build knowledge of themes such as class, discrimination, poverty and transformation and analyse the writer’s use of language. Students will also consider the social and historical context of the novel and explore the writer’s moral message about class and society in the Victorian era. Students will also study some Power and Conflict poems which link to themes in A Christmas Carol.

Term 3: Language Papers One and Two

Teaching will focus on preparing students for the English Language GCSE. There are two papers that students need to know how to approach and do well in. Students must read and explore a range of fiction and non-fiction texts and build knowledge of how to infer information, analyse writers’ use of language and structure, compare and evaluate texts and identify a writer’s viewpoint. Students will also practice writing to describe and writing to argue and explain.

Year 11

Term 1:An Inspector Calls / Power and Conflict Poetry / Unseen Poetry

Students will read a modern drama text and explore key themes such as class and gender. They will analyse the writers’ methods and will consider Edwardian industrialist views and the social attitudes held by the rich for the poor. Like A Christmas Carol, students will also explore the views and attitudes of the writer and his reasons for writing the play.

Students will also study some Power and Conflict poems which link to themes in An Inspector Calls. They will also read some ‘unseen’ poetry and build knowledge of how to respond independently to them.

Alongside the teaching of An Inspector Calls and poetry, students will also be given opportunities to practice the writing to describe and writing to explain tasks that are part of the English Language exams. The writing tasks that students are given to practice in class will link to the work that students have been covering in the Literature lessons.

Terms 2 and 3: Language and Literature revision for exams

In these terms, teaching will focus on revising the Literature and Language content that has been covered in previous terms. 2 lessons a week will cover a Literature text and 2 lessons a week will focus on Language.


AQA A Level in English Literature

In Year 12, students focus on the following topic: Modern times: literature from 1945 to the present day. Whilst following this scheme of work, students will primarily focus on reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams. Students will also study a wide range of prose extracts from this era in order to further develop their knowledge and understanding of the overriding themes, characteristics, contextual issues and styles of this time period in English Literature. In addition to their examination texts, students are also encouraged to read widely outside of the College environment to enhance their learning. Teachers provide a suggested reading list and students are given copies of Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad to read in term 1 as an optional class reader.

In year 12, students are also required to complete their Non-Exam Assessment. For this compulsory assessment, students must submit an extended assignment that compares an aspect of two texts of their choice, including one pre-1900 text. Students are encouraged to read and choose texts that they enjoy and are passionate about which could be poems, plays, prose texts or a collection of short stories. Students are assigned an NEA tutor who will guide them throughout the process and assist them with key decisions around text and task choices.

In Year 13, students focus on the following topic: Love Through the Ages. Initially, students will read and study The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and a collection of pre-1900 love poems. Students will develop their knowledge and understanding of the author’s craft and will carefully consider how many different aspects of love are explored and presented in both the novel and the poetry. Teachers will guide students to draw out the similarities and differences between The Great Gatsby and the poetry and students will learn how to analyse and explore connections between texts whilst also drawing on the social and historical contexts of each text. In addition to this, students will also be expected to draw on their knowledge of poetry in order to analyse unseen poetry and demonstrate that their understanding is embedded and can be drawn upon outside of the anthology poems.

The final text students will study for their Literature A Level is William Shakespeare’s Othello. Students will explore the themes, characteristics, dramatic structure and methods within the play and will again draw upon their knowledge of love through the ages and examine which aspects are relevant within the play. Wherever possible, students will be invited to watch the play being performed in order to enhance their knowledge and understanding but other options are available when the play is not being performed locally.

Students complete two examinations and submit their NEAs at the end of year 13.

Department Courses

Online AQA training: Preparing for new specifications at key stage 4 & 5, Subject network meetings delivered by School Improvement Liverpool, Subject network meetings delivered by authors on writing styles and poetry, Teaching Leaders, NPQML/NPQLT.

Exam Board 


AQA A level

If you are interested in language, literature or poetry then why not try one of our book recommendations all about English - simply select the 'English' Reading List image, and click on the book cover that you are interested in. Looking for more books based on this subject? Then check out our further book recommendations on Accessit here: English Reading List

BBC Bitesize
Lit Charts
BBC Teach
York Notes
Cliff Notes
Spark Notes

Extra Curricular Activities

Monday - Lunch Time:

  • Y​7 - Y9 Debate Club with Miss Chamberlain

T​uesday - Lunch Time:

  • Y​7 Creative Club with Mrs Jones

  • Y​10-Y11 Book Club with Mrs Hodgson

T​hursday - After School

  • Y​11 Revision Sessions


The English department have put together reading lists to guide the students in their reading for pleasure and encourage them to try new books.

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