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As a department, we aim to ensure that our students engage confidently with the world around them by developing their ability to communicate to the highest possible level. Our curriculum guides students to be careful and discerning readers, to write accurately, purposefully and creatively, to be reflective listeners and to voice their ideas with integrity. We see the literature we present to our students as the shape of human experience and as a cultural touchstone for our students’ lives.

Key Stage 3

In Key Stage 3 pupils develop their reading, writing and oracy skills by examining literature through three different lenses. Year 7 students engage with the ‘Power of Stories’ (both fiction and non-fiction), responding both analytically and creatively to culturally significant texts. Year 8 students examine a series of important literary movements and genres and their impact on ‘People in Society.’  In Year 9, our literary focus hinges upon ‘The Human Condition’, reflecting upon the way writers explore universal human experiences and concerns. Our programme provides rich stimulus for discussion and creativity and a solid foundation for our AQA GCSE syllabus. Throughout Key Stage 3, we explicitly develop written accuracy, vocabulary choices and independent reading.

Year 7: The Power of Stories

Powerful stories: A study of the Ancient Greek Myths. Whilst exploring some of the foundational stories to Western Literature, students will look at some key features of the epic genre as well as structural elements of a narrative.

‘The Odyssey’ – Homer
‘The Blind Bard’s Vision’- Akala
‘Circe’ – Madeleine Miller
‘The Penelopiad’ – Margaret Atwood
‘Pandora’s Box’
‘Daedalus & Icarus’
‘Persephone & the Pomegranate Seeds’

Exploring narrative: The Novel
Students will focus on how narrative is structured deliberately by a writer. They will continue their study of genre, themes and characterisation and read one of the following texts:

‘Clockwork’ -Philip Pullman
‘Stormbreaker’ – Antony Horowitz
‘Refugee Boy’ – Benjamin Zephaniah

Epic Poetry: Through studying one of the oldest works in English Literature, students will explore how the themes of good and evil truly stand the test of time. Students will further develop their understanding of the epic genre as well as beginning to look specifically at how the language has been crafted for effect.


Real-Life Stories: Autobiography
students will learn the common features of the autobiography genre and will be exposed to a range of voices from this genre.

‘Unbelievable’ – Jessica Ennis
‘Confessions of a Bad Boy- Vinnie Jones
‘Boy’ – Roald Dahl
‘The Endless Steppe’ – Esther Hautzig
‘Cider with Rosie’ – ‘Laurie Lee’
‘My Left Foot’ – Christy Brown

Tales with a Twist: Short Stories
Students will read a range of short stories that feature twists, turns and dramatic endings. We will study how writers use language and structure to create tension, drama and entertainment which students will then apply to their own writing.

‘The Man with the Yellow Face’ – Anthony Horowitz
‘The Land Lady’ – Roald Dahl
‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ – Roald Dahl
‘Hey You Down There’ – Harold Rolseth

Shakespeare: Students will be introduced to the comedy genre and will explore issues contemporary to the Shakespearean audience that are still relevant today such as identity, the role of women and the nature of true love.

‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

Poetry & Non Fiction: In this thematic unit, students will explore a range of poems and non-fiction texts covering themes of childhood and the experiences and challenges of growing up.

‘The Identification’- Roger McGough
‘A Case of Murder’ – Vernon Scanell
‘Timothy Winters’ – Charles Causley
‘I am Malala’ – Malala Yousafzai
‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’- William Kamkwamba
‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ – Anne Frank

Year 8: People in Society

Science Fiction: Students will develop their understanding of genre through exploration of a range of Science Fiction texts. They will learn the conventions of this genre as well as about the history behind Science Fiction and dystopian texts.

‘A Sound of Thunder’-Ray Bradbury
‘The Weapon’ -Frederic Brown
‘The Test’-Henry Slesar
‘Harrison Bergeron’-Kurt Vonnegut
‘Brave New World’- Aldous Huxley
‘Fahrenheit 451’- Ray Bradbury

Victorian/Edwardian Britain: The Novel
The novel study in Y8 will offer insight into life in Britain in either the Victorian era or Edwardian Britain. Students will focus specifically on how language is used to portray the writers’ ideas.

‘A Christmas Carol’ – Charles Dickens
‘Private Peaceful’ – Michael Morpurgo

The Gothic Genre: A range of 19th century and contemporary Gothic horror stories will be read. In this unit, students will continue to develop their grasp of genre and explore specifically how writers create meanings through language and structure.

‘The Tell Tale Heart’- Edgar Allen Poe
‘The Heart of Another’- Marcus Sedgwick
‘The Writings on the Wall’ – Celia Rees
‘The Ghost in the Bride’s Chamber’- Charles Dickens
‘Cause Unknown’- Benjamin Hulme-Cross

Exploration and Discovery: This unit will give students the opportunity to read a wide range of non-fiction texts from the travel genre. Students will begin by looking at early exploration texts from the 19th century whilst also specifically exploring a range of texts from female explorers.
Finally, students will look at how the very question of travel has become a contentious issue through the idea of climate change. Throughout the unit, students will explore how writers use language effectively in this genre.

‘Through the Dark Continent’-Henry Morton Stanley
‘Finding the Victoria Falls’-David Livingstone
Extracts from the diaries of Robert Scott
‘The Voyage of the Beagle’- Charles Darwin
‘The Cruellest Journey’- Kira Salak
‘A Lady’s life in the Rocky Mountains’- Isabella Bird
‘On Sledge and Horseback to Outcast Siberian Lepers’- Kate Marsden
‘Where the Musk Oxen Roam’- Annie Lloyd Evans
‘Building Bridges’- Misba Khan
‘Red Dust: A Path through China’-Mia Jian
‘Touching the Void’- Joe Simpson
‘Behold Mount Everest, reduced to adventure tourism’ – newspaper
‘The Wild Places’ by Robert McFarlane

Colonialism and Power: Shakespeare
Students will have the opportunity to make connections between what they learnt about colonialism and power in their previous unit to Shakespeare’s play ‘The Tempest’. We will focus on exploring Shakespeare’s ideas about power, colonialism, and human nature and how he illustrates these in the text.

‘The Tempest’

Poetry: Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy Students will read a range of poems by Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy. Many of the poems that they will study feature marginalised characters and those that feel alienated within society. We will explore some of the historical contexts to some of these poems and how they were written against the backdrop of 1980’s Britain.

Year 9: The Human Condition

Detective Fiction & Sherlock Holmes

Students will learn about the detective and mystery genre. They will read a range of Sherlock Holmes stories and begin to recognise the patterns and common features in them.

 ‘The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle’

‘The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb’

‘The Adventure of the Speckled Band’

‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’

Poetry Anthology:  Students will read a range of poems that link together by theme. The unit is designed to take students through different ideas and devices and to develop their skills in analysis. Students will also develop their comparison skills required for GCSE.

Power and Protest: The Novel

Through their study of a 20th century canonical novel, students will explore big ideas connected with discrimination, oppression, and identity.

‘Of Mice and Men’ – John Steinbeck

‘Animal Farm’ – George Orwell

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ – Harper Lee

The Art of Rhetoric

In this unit, students will explore the art of rhetoric and how it is used in different contexts to powerfully persuade. Students will read a range of speeches both fiction and non-fiction. Students will be given the opportunity to apply what they learn about rhetoric to their own writing by creating a persuasive speech of their own.

‘Climate Change address to the UN’- Greta Thunberg

‘Education, Education Education’- Tony Blair

‘I have a Dream’- Martin Luther King

‘Yes We Can’- Barack Obama

‘Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech’ Malala Yousafzai

‘We Shall Fight on the Beaches’- Winston Churchill

‘Freedom or Death’- Emmeline Pankhurst

‘Friends, Romans, countrymen’ Julius Caesar – William Shakespeare#

‘St Crispin’s Day Speech’ Henry V – William Shakespeare

Diversity and Tolerance: Short stories & Non Fiction Throughout the year, students will read a range of texts designed to develop their understanding of and empathy towards a range of issues and all people within society.

‘Loose Change’ – Andrea Levy

‘The Colour of Humanity’- Bali Rai

‘May Malone’- David Almond

‘This Changes Everything’- Naomi Klein
‘Becoming’- Michelle Obama

‘The Good Immigrant’ – Nikesh Shukla

‘Black, Listed’ – Jeffrey Boakye

‘Humankind- A Hopeful History’- Rutger Bregman

‘The Lonely Century’ – Noreena Hertz

Love and Conflict: Shakespeare

The Y9 Shakespeare play will focus on how his characters help us to understand universal human experiences – such as love, desire, anger, and conflict.

‘Romeo and Juliet’

‘Much Ado About Nothing’

Key Stage 4

Students follow the AQA syllabus in both English Literature and English Language. We build on students’ Key Stage 3 skills in reading, examining both fiction and non-fiction texts for meaning, to engage with writers’ ideas and to explore their techniques. Students develop their writing skills, learning to construct creative and persuasive texts. In English Literature, we aim to deepen students’ understanding and appreciation of some of the greatest written texts and how their writers comment on the human condition.  Students learn to read in depth, reflect critically and to write analytically.

English Language

Students explore and analyse a range of fiction and nonfiction texts. They also write creatively for a range of purposes, including descriptive and persuasive writing.

Students are assessed in three areas:

Component 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing


Students sit an exam (1 hr 45 mins) at the end of the course in which they answer a series of questions on an extract from a piece of fiction and then complete their own piece of creative writing.

Component 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives


Students sit an exam (1 hr 45 mins) at the end of the course in which they answer a series of questions about two nonfiction extracts. They also complete their own piece of persuasive writing.

Component 3 – Spoken Language


Students must give a presentation on a topic of their choice to the class. They receive a Pass, Merit or Distinction for this component.

English Literature

Students study a range of literary texts in English Literature. These include:

  • Shakespeare
  • Poetry Anthology
  • 19th Century Novel
  • Modern Text

Students are assessed in two areas:

Component 1 Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel


Students sit an exam (1 hr 45 mins) at the end of the course in which they answer questions on their chosen Shakespeare play and 19th Century Novel.

Component 2 Poetry and Modern Texts


Students sit an exam (2 hr 15 mins) at the end of the course in which they answer questions on their chosen modern text, the poetry anthology and two unseen poems.

Key Stage 5

Students follow the AQA syllabus in both English Literature and English Language in order to build skills cohesively from their Key Stage 4 foundations.

In English Language, students refine their analytical skills through the exploration of meanings and representations in a wide range of non-fiction and spoken language source material. The technical language and methodology acquired at this stage is at the heart of the syllabus. Students then transfer these skills to a fascinating range of sociolinguistic fields including Language Diversity, Language Change and Child Language Acquisition. Creative Writing is also integral to both examined and non-examined modules.

In English Literature, students study texts through two genre lenses: ‘Aspects of Tragedy’ and ‘Social and Political Protest.’ The nature of this focus develops the depth of analysis and interpretation encouraged at Key Stage 4 but also challenges students with the breadth of the subject matter: the exploration of connections between texts places genre as a dynamic process. Students’ analytical perspectives are enhanced by a new understanding of a range of critical theories which can then be applied independently to prose and poetry texts as part of their non-examined assessment.

In both courses, we encourage students to read a wide range of both fiction and non-fiction to enhance their appreciation of the subject and their understanding of linguistic and literary concepts.

A Level Language

·  Paper 1 (40%) - This is the study of language in both an individual and societal context. This paper builds on the knowledge gained from GCSE and includes the study of the spoken and written language acquisition of children from 0 – 11 years.

·  Paper 2 (40%) - This unit draws on students’ study of language diversity and furthers this knowledge with the investigation of how language is changing throughout time.

Non-exam assessment (20%) – This unit allows students to explore and analyse language data independently and develop and reflect upon their own writing expertise through creative writing and analytical investigation.

For further details, please visit: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/as-and-a-level/english-language-7701-7702

A level Literature

A-level consists of two written exams and one coursework unit.

Paper 1 (40%)- Option 1A: Aspects of Tragedy: Study of one Shakespeare play, one further drama text and a novel.

Section A: one passage-based question on set Shakespeare text (25 marks) (Othello)

Section B: one essay question on set Shakespeare text (25 marks) (Othello)

Section C: one essay question linking two texts (25 marks) (Tess of the D’Urbervilles / Death of a Salesman)

Paper 2 (40%) - Option 2B: Elements of Political and Social Protest Writing: Study of three texts: one post-2000 prose text; one poetry and one further text, one of which must be written pre-1900

Section A: one compulsory question on an unseen passage (25 marks)

Section B: one essay question on set text (25 marks) (‘The Kite Runner’ / Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’/ ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’)

Section C: one essay question which connects two texts (25 marks) (‘The Kite Runner’ / Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’/ ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’)

Non-Exam Assessment (20%): Students study a range of critical theories in class, then select two of these to apply to quality literary texts of their own choosing: one prose fiction and one poetry.

Exam Board: AQA

For further details please visit: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/as-and-a-level/english-literature-b-7716-7717