Curriculum Intent

We provide a broad and balanced curriculum for students in Foundation years, Keystone year and GCSE. Students study a range of texts including plays, poetry, and novels, analysing these as well as using them to support their own original writing. Many of the genres that students meet in the Foundation years, Keystone year and GCSE units are those also studied in the A Level Literature course; this coherence is an extremely important aspect of the curriculum.

From foundation years right through to Key Stage 5, our broad and balance curriculum offers students opportunities to sharpen their reading skills as well as their writing skills simultaneously by using the reading sources as a stimulus for extended writing tasks. We teach students how to communicate clearly, effectively, and imaginatively, selecting and adapting tone for different forms, purpose, and audience. 

Our curriculum allows students to practice and demonstrate their speaking and listening skills by participating in class debate and presentation; responding to questions and to feedback; asking questions themselves to elicit clarification.

The aim of our text choices, right from Foundation years, is to give students opportunities to be conversant with a wide range of authors, genres, themes, and contexts across the Pre-1900 to Post-modern literary timeline. We lay the foundation in Year 7; students study a range of Shakespeare’s plays, looking at different themes and genres. This serves as a good groundwork to prepare them for studying a full play, as they move up through the years. We also create opportunity for students to be familiar with 19th century text in year 7 - students study A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Our choice of Anthology of Poems from Diverse Cultures and Traditions in Year 8 and Diverse Literary Short Stories in Year 9 is to promote multiculturalism and to enable students develop their cultural capital. At the same time, it prepares them for the GCSE Anthology Power and Conflict cluster and A Level Literature Pre-1900 Poetry Anthology. Our diverse curriculum develops students’ appreciation and understanding of global issues in terms of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development.

Foundation Years: Year 7 and 8

In the foundation years, English Language and English Literature are taught as a single unit which enable students to develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills as they study a novel or a drama text. Students develop critical analytical skills of authorial crafts; they learn the skills that enable them to produce convincing texts with consideration for effective tone, style and register to match audience and purpose. In our fortnightly literacy lessons, we give students opportunities to practice their extended writing of both fiction and non-fiction texts where they develop and improve the use of ambitious vocabulary in a convincing style.

Year 7

  • Fiction - Character and setting
  • Novel: Charles Dickens Oliver Twist
  • Writing to persuade – Analysis of non-fiction and persuasive texts
  •  Drama – Journey through Shakespeare’s play (A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Richard III; Twelfth Night; The Tempest, Othello, Hamlet, and King Lear)

Year 8

  • Gothic(suspense/mystery) fiction
  • Poetry – Anthology of poems from different cultures and traditions
  • Novel: George Orwell - Animal Farm
  • Drama: William Shakespeare – Much Ado About Nothing

Keystone Year: Year 9

The intent is to expose students to a range of challenging texts from different eras, enabling them to develop the full range of skills for Language and Literature. They will move from studying whole texts, developing an understanding of concepts such as context, language, and structure, before applying these skills to a range of extracts, both fiction and non-fiction. Resilience will be developed through regular extended writing. The final term will build on students’ cultural capital, enriching their knowledge of eras, genres, and literary movements ahead of the GCSE curriculum.

  • Novel - Class choice of: Lord of the Flies; The Woman in Black; Heroes and Noughts and Crosses
  • Non-fiction - The Language of Journalism
  • Drama: William Shakespeare - Macbeth
  • Diverse Literary Short Stories

GCSE: Year 10 and 11

Exam Board: AQA

The AQA syllabuses for English Language and English Literature allow us to teach literary non-fiction and non-fiction texts alongside the set Literature texts developing students’ understanding of the importance of context. The courses we have selected are rigorous, challenging and they prepare students well for A Level English Language and Literature courses as well as provide the necessary skills for life in the workplace after school. 

Year 10

  • An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestley
  •  Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing
  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  • Anthology Worlds and Lives Cluster
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Year 11

  • Writer’s Viewpoints and Perspectives
  • Unseen Poems
  • Anthology Power and Conflict Cluster

English Literature

Exam Board: AQA

English Literature A encourages students to explore the relationships that exist between texts and the contexts within which they are written, received, and understood. Studying texts within a shared context enables students to investigate and connect them, drawing out patterns of similarity and difference using a variety of reading strategies and perspectives.

A Level: Year 12 and 13

Year 12

  • Love through the ages
  • Shakespeare - Othello
  • Unseen poetry – Pre and post 1900
  • Comparing texts – Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Pre 1900 Poetry Anthology
  • Texts in shared contexts – Walker’s The Color Purple, Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire

Year 13

  • Poetry: Carol Ann Duffy - Feminine Gospel (post 2000)
  • Drama: Tennessee Williams - A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Prose: Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Non-exam assessment (NEA): Independent critical study: texts across time
  • Comparative critical study of two texts, at least one of which must have been written pre-1900

English Language

Exam Board: AQA

A Level Language is a challenging course which revolves around exploring how meaning is constructed through words, semantics, and grammatical constructions. Students develop an in-depth knowledge of the English Language and its components and use this to analyse non-fiction texts from up to 500 years ago. The course includes the study of language change and child language acquisition as well as exploring issues related to language and gender and language in the media. Students produce investigations into language that interests them, collecting their own data from current and real-life sources. There are also many opportunities for the creation of their own texts, both from fiction and non-fiction genres. 

A Level: Year 12 and 13

Year 12

Language, the Individual and Society

  • Textual Variations and Representations
  • Children's Language Development

Language Diversity and Change

  • Diversity and Change
  • Language Discourses

Year 13

Non-exam assessment (NEA): Language in Action

  • Language Investigation
  • Original Writing
  • Methods of language analysis are integrated into the activities


  • a language investigation (2,000 words excluding data)
  • a piece of original writing and commentary (1,500 words total)