‘Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time.’

Edwin Whipple

The English Department strives to inspire an appreciation for the English language and its literature, and to cultivate its effective use in creative expression and day-to-day life.  As a Department we encourage intellectual independence by stressing creative, critical thinking combined with informed reading and interpretation. The English Department team seek to teach language and literature from a range of perspectives while developing inquiring, knowledgeable and independent young learners.

At Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 we have a varied and diverse curriculum that allows our students to improve their literacy skills as well as develop the skills of reflection, resilience and resourcefulness.

Key Stage 3 English 

Year/Term First Half Term Second Half Term
7 Autumn Short Stories Structure and language in fiction

Assessment: Reading

Speech Writing Persuasive argument and debate                   

Assessment: Writing

7 Spring Macbeth An active approach to the play

Assessment: Reading

Gods and Heroes Myths and legends

Assessment: Writing

7 Summer My Sister Lives on the MantelpieceNovel Scheme

Assessment: Reading (3.1)

8 Autumn The OutsidersNovel Scheme

Assessments: Reading (1.1) Writing (1.2)

8 Spring Once Upon a Time… 

Creative Writing

Assessment: Writing

Poetry from Around the World

Reading and Writing poetry

Assessment: Reading

8 Summer A Midsummer Night’s Dream An active approach to the play

Assessment: Reading

Press Gang Non-Fiction – Using the conventions of newspapers.

Assessment: Writing

9 Autumn American LiteratureStudying various prose and non-fiction extracts from the 19th and 20th century, primarily To Kill A Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men.

Assessments: Writing (1.1) Reading (1.2)


9 Spring

Victorian Literature

Great Expectations, Sherlock Holmes and Christina Rossetti

Assessments: Writing (2.1) Reading (2.2)

9 Summer Shakespeare Study & War Poetry

EOY Exam Preparation

Assessments: Writing & Reading

Key Stage 4 English – Overview

Pupils will study for 2 GCSEs as part of their KS4 course – English Language and English Literature. We follow the AQA syllabus, and the details of these courses can be found on this page in the exam specifications.

In Year 10, pupils will study Paper 1 as part of their Language course, and ‘An Inspector Calls’, Poetry and a play by William Shakespeare.

In Year 11, pupils will study English Language Paper 2, ‘A Christmas Carol’, and will complete extensive revision for the courses.

Key Stage 5 English Literature – Overview

Students study a range of literature texts, including poetry, plays and novels, developing their analytical and critical responses to these texts. They follow the OCR syllabus, and the link to the specification is provided on this page.


Reading Lists

Key Stage 3 Reading List

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

As well as being humorous, The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden is also heart-warming and touching. Nobody knows hardship like Nombeko who was born in a shack in Soweto, before being trapped at the hands of a fraudulent engineer for over a decade for the unforgivable crime of being hit by his car. At one point in the book Nombeko meets Celestine, a young anarchist who’s angry at the capitalists, the Communists, people who eat meat and people who don’t. To this Nombeko thinks that, “the angry young woman ought to take a job as a black person in Africa for a few weeks … in order to get some perspective on her life.”

The story whisks you away along its dramatic twists and turns. One minute you’re with three Chinese girls with a talent for faking antique gooses, the next you’re watching a crazed man get attacked by a Swedish King. Therefore, if you’re looking for something with a bit of everything, Jonas Jonasson is your man and The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden is definitely your book

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb

The inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai, the girl who stood up for education and changed the world. This is a story of love, loss and tremendous courage, showing how a single voice can change the world. She is not ‘Malala – the girl shot by the Taliban’: she is ‘Malala – campaigner and activist for education, equality and peace’. Her story demands to be heard.

Wonder by R.J Palacio

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, is the moving and uplifting tale of August Pullman, a boy born with a facial deformity. It won’t do to give away too much of the plot but Wonder builds to a sweeping, uplifting finale. The book undoubtedly, and skilfully, manipulates the emotions of readers (watch out dog-lovers in particular) but it will delight children and adults because it’s a terrific story and Palacio is exploring some fundamental truths about how humans behave. And how they should behave.

Then by Morris Gleitzman

In the early 1940s, in Poland, an orphan girl and her Jewish friend escape from a cattle car heading to the Nazi death camps. Dazed with hunger and exhaustion, they seek shelter in the woods, stumble upon a pit filled with machine-gunned children, evade a local man collecting Jews for bounty, and are captured by a farmer who locks them in a barn with her pig. Fortunately, the farmer despises German soldiers somewhat more than she hates Jews, and offers the children refuge, along with a slim chance of survival.

The department is dedicated to supporting all its students offering a range of after school classes, as well as theatre trips, visits from authors, Saturday school and a reading club.

Key Stage 4 Reading List

The Man Who Smiled by Henning Mankell

After killing a man in the line of duty (in The White Lioness), Inspector Kurt Wallander finds himself spiralling into an alcohol-fuelled depression. He has just decided to leave the police when an old friend, Sten Torstensson, approaches him to secretly investigate the recent death of his father in a car accident. At first Kurt dismisses his friend’s suspicions as unlikely, when Sten is found dead, murdered with no doubt, in exactly the same manner as a Norwegian businessman shortly before. Against his previous judgement, Kurt returns to work to investigate what he is convinced is a case of double murder.

Happy as Larry by Scot Gardner

When a search for the happiest person on earth thrusts Larry into the spotlight, he becomes the planet’s newest superstar. His face is splashed across newspapers, magazines and cheesy merchandise, and soon millions of fans are following his life on TV, online, on demand. But fame brings new temptations, and soon Larry finds his relationship with his girlfriend falling apart. As the media reports every move and mistake he makes, he struggles to stop things spiralling out of control. There may be no happy ending for the worlds’ happiest man.

Other recommended books are:

Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres Wildthorn

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

The Time Machine by HG Wells

Specifications Used In English

For KS5:

OCR Specification for A Level: Dystopian Literature

A Level Specification


Component 1; Hamlet, A Doll’s House and The Poetry of Christina Rossetti

Component 2: 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale 

Component 3: Nemesis, Fences, A View From the Bridge and The Poetry of Langston Hughes

For KS4:

AQA GCSE Specifications:

GCSE English Literature Specification At A Glance

GCSE English Literature Full Specification

GCSE English Language Specification At A Glance