Welcome to the English Department


KS3 and 4 English is driven by the National Curriculum, providing our students with a broad and balanced education and ensuring that they are taught the necessary knowledge, skills and content through a sequentially and thematically linked curriculum. This ensures that students make connections between a wide range of forms, time periods, genres and ideas. A thematic and sequential curriculum allows students to study canonical works of literature, alongside contemporary texts. It allows non-fiction to be interleaved with fiction. It ensures students make links and do not see English as a series of disjointed skills, content and contexts.

  • Foster a love of literature, encouraging students to read widely and independently.
  • Encourage pupils to read like writers and write like readers.
  • Design a curriculum which is thematically and sequentially linked. This will allow pupils to see links between knowledge, skills and ideas. 
  • Develop discerning critical readers whose transferable analytical skills will allow them to interpret the ever more complex linguistic world around them.
  • Teach students to express themselves succinctly, confidently and creatively, according to purpose, with clear and correct use of English.
  • Inspire students to express themselves imaginatively, appropriately and effectively by using our rich and diverse English language.
  • Encourage students to become successful learners and responsible citizens.
  • Increase motivation by providing authentic, meaningful and relevant learning experiences.
  • Develop empathy. 
  • Ensure that progress is sustained. 

Why learn English?

Studying English literature is not about grades and it really shouldn’t be framed that way. Literature unlocks the world, allowing an understanding of culture, history, society and politics that might otherwise be closed off. It is about people and emotions, unlocking feelings we might never have seen played out or felt ourselves. It allows humans to think deeply, and form an understanding about, issues that might never have been in their consciousness without it. And, besides all that, it’s fun.

Studying English literature also helps to sharpen your analytical skills. If you can take a text and find the themes plus connect it with other texts, theories and historical events, you are showing that you can handle complex ideas, search for patterns and interpret information in a wider context.
You will also develop your planning and research skills. 

Year 7

During year 7, students will study the following topics:

Fertile question: Is a villain born a villain?


  • Reading ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ and understanding how our opinions about a character might change. 
  • Explore how structure in a novel is used. 
  • Exploring different literature extracts which contain villains and developing a tool kit for creating a successful villain. This will include extracts from pre 19th century such as Magwitch in ‘Great Expectations’.  


Fertile question: Can a text capture real life experience and take you to another world?


  • Explore different types of travel writing – linked to the Seven Wonders of the World. This will include film, non-fiction and fiction, pre 19th century, poetry.


Fertile question: How do writers use humour ?


  • Reading ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’ and exploring how playwrights use humour. 
  • Explore the historical and cultural context of the play and how this shapes the meaning through non-fiction extracts.
  • Look at a range of texts which use humour including poetry such as sonnet 130 , Boy -Mrs Pratchett and funny non- fiction /autobiographical writing. 

Fertile question: Is everyone responsible for each other?


  • Explore the idea of homelessness and who is responsible through the text ‘Stone Cold’.
  • Look at other texts regarding homelessness including non- fiction, pre 19th century articles about homelessness and poetry. We will also explore the idea of bias. 


Year 8

During year 8, students will study the following topics:

Fertile question: Is nature a powerful force in our lives?


  • Studying the novel ‘Of Mice and Men.’ Focussing on the power of nature as a theme and how writers often use nature in their writing. We will explore this using a range of texts. 
  • Explore non-fiction extracts that look at natural disasters. 

Fertile question: Do we still live in a marginalised world?


  • Continuing to study ‘Of Mice and Men’ looking at  the idea of racism through literature and the character Crooks. Using a range of other non- fiction texts such as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird ’and ‘Roll of Thunder’.
  • Explore the story of Rosa Parks and non- fiction accounts of slave ships. We will also study a number of poems such as: ‘Nothing’s Changed’, ‘Half caste’,’ Limbo’ and Emmet Till.

Fertile question: How does a writer build suspense/tension?


  • Using the genre of Gothic and Horror explore how writers create mood and atmosphere. This will be done by exploring fiction using a range of texts such as: ‘Woman in Black’ extracts, Gibson’s extracts, ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Jekyll and Hyde’.
  • Explore how dramatists create tension and suspense through ‘Hamlet’. 
  • Look at non-fiction text that explore this idea such as articles on Do ghosts exist?  
  • Explore the idea of mood and atmosphere through poetry such as ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘Song of wandering Aengus’. 

Fertile question: Do stories from the past stand the text of time?


  • Exploring the history of our language and how the English language developed and the vocabulary and grammar rules we use today have grown.  This will be done through a range of texts including: Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales’ and ‘Beowulf’ ‘Shadow of the Minotaur’and  Medusa. 

Fertile question: Is a woman capable of corrupting a man?


  • Studying ‘Macbeth’. Looking at the role of women and manipulation.
  • Exploring works of literature which subvert the traditional roles of women.
  • Exploring the role of Curley’s wife again from the studying of the novel of ‘Mice and Men’ in term 1.
  • Exploring the idea of women as witches through a range of literature such as Circe in ‘The Odyssey’.
  • Looking at non-fiction accounts of witches and local history such as Pendle Hill.

Fertile question: Can you ever be too ambitious?


  • Continuing to study ‘Macbeth’ Exploring the idea of ambition as both a positive and negative trait.
  • Looking at characters who through ambition have succeeded or it has been their downfall. We will explore characters such as Jane Eyre, Jo March and Anne (Anne of Green Gables). 


Year 9

During year 9, students will study the following topics:

Fertile question: Are we heading towards a dystopian future?


  • Exploring what our Future might hold. Immerse the students in fiction such as ‘1984’, ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘Brave New World’, and ‘Divergent’.
  • Look at the idea of Big Brother and explore if we are moving towards a dystopian future.
  • Explore the idea of dictatorships and democratic societies and how this reflected in the texts that we read through both non-fiction and fiction. 

Fertile question: Do aliens really exit?


  • We will be using our imaginations here to explore worlds that may not exist and sciences and technologies that haven’t yet been invented.
  • We will be studying sci-fi texts (both non-fiction and fiction such  ‘War of the Worlds’).

Fertile question: Do we still live in classless society?


  • Studying the class system through Blood Brothers.
  • Non-fiction Workhouses (“ragged schools” versus modern school).
  • Looking at modern day issues regarding class with a focus on food banks.  We will explore real Titanic survivor accounts / articles.
  • We will also look at the Industrial  Revolution and factories using texts such as ‘Hard Times’. 
  • There will also be a trip to a mill (Quarry bank) to explore how the industrial Revolution impacted on the North West and what it was like to be a factory worker. 
  • We will also explore poetry such as ‘London’.

Fertile question: Can text ever really capture someone’s feelings or experiences?


  • Studying the novel ‘Heroes’.   
  • Exploring the war and how literature can capture the soldiers’ experiences. 
  • Looking at real life experiences through documentaries and non- fiction texts. 
  • Exploring conflict in: ‘Poppies’, ‘War Photographer’, ‘Bayonet Charge’ and ‘Exposure.’ 

Year 10

During year 10, students will study the following topics:

Fertile question: Love or hate? Which is the most powerful emotion?


  • Studying the role of love and hate as theme in ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ Explore key scenes. 
  • Exploring love and hate and conflicts through non- fiction extracts. 
  • Looking how this theme links the poems: ‘Kamikaze’, ‘Storm on an Island’. 
  • Checking out my History’, ‘Bayonet’ and ‘Exposure’ (e.g. love of a country). 

Fertile question: Do we control our own lives or does fate play a part?


  • Exploring the idea of fate in Romeo and Juliet through for instance - Queen Mab.
  • Exploring fate in the poems such as: Kamikaze.

Fertile question: Do we live in man’s world?


  • Romeo and Juliet - explore Juliet, Nurse, Lord Capulet and Lady Capulet. 
  • The role of women in Marriage, through Romeo and Juliet and non-fiction texts. 
  • The view of women as wives and how this has changed. 
  • Exploring the role of Juliet and how she challenges conventions. 
  • ‘My Last Duchess’ and the power of men. 
  • ‘Extract from a Prelude’ and man against nature. 
  • Arthur Birling and his power as a man and how Priestly challenges this. 
  • Exploring the skills used by writers and use them ourselves to create.
  • Explore the roles of women in ‘An Inspector Calls’ such as Eva Smith and Shelia Birling.
  • How the role of women has changed?
  • Asylums and madness - language questions. 
  • How dramatic irony can be used in two ways e.g. to discredit or add tension. 

Fertile question: Do we live in man’s world? and how has religion shaped the world we live in today?


  • Looking at the role of Friar Lawrence in ‘Romeo and Juliet‘.
  • Exploring the tension in Ireland through ‘Storm on an Island’.
  • Exploring the significance of Christmas in ‘A Christmas Carol’.
  • Linking this with the sense of religious morality in ‘An Inspector Calls’. 
  • Looking at the language of religion in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ when they meet. 
  • Exploring the poem ‘Exposure’ and how religion and loss of faith is explored in this poem. 

Fertile question: What creates inequality? Greed and gratitude? Class systems? White British ideas ?


  • Looking at prose and blank verse and how this is used to determine class. 
  • Exploring class and capitalism in ‘An Inspector Calls’.
  • Explore workhouses and factories. 
  • Looking at class and inequality in the poems; ‘London’, ‘Tissue’, ‘Checking out History’, ‘Emigree’ and  ‘Ozymandias’.
  • Exploring division in ‘A Christmas Carol’ through for instance ignorance and want.
  • Exploring non-fiction extract on inequality including pre 19th century texts. 

Fertile question: Can a person change?


  • Explore the idea of people changing through experiences and redemption through: ‘Remains’, ‘Kamikaze’, ‘Extract from a Prelude’, Poppies and ‘War Photographer’. 
  • Look at the idea of redemption in ‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘Romeo and  Juliet’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’. 


Year 11

During year 11, students will study the following topics:

Fertile question: Are the qualities virtue and honour something to be admired ?


  • Explore the idea of honour in ‘Romeo and Juliet’. 
  • Look at theme in ‘Checking out my History’ ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ and ‘Emigree’, ‘Kamikaze’, ‘Exposure’ and ‘Remains’.
  • Look at honour and virtue as a theme in ‘An Inspector’ Calls and ‘A Christmas Carol’. For instance, when characters have misguided view of what honour and virtue are. 

Fertile question: Is nature more powerful than man?


  • Explore the idea of the power of nature and how man is seen as more powerful.Look at this in ‘Inspector Calls’.
  • Explore the power of nature in: ‘Ozymandias ‘‘Exposure’ ‘Storm on an Island ‘and ‘Tissue’. 

Fertile question: How powerful can place and memories be?


  • Look at the power of memories in a ‘Christmas Carol’ and ‘An Inspector Calls’.
  • Look at ideas such as how we can be haunted by our memories and past. Explore this theme in the poems: ‘Emigree’, ‘Remains’ and  ‘War Photographer ‘.

Fertile question: How does everything connect?


  • Students will now use this time to revisit and apply the knowledge and skills that they have been taught during the 5 years. There will be lots of opportunities to revisit the themes, practise exam papers, retrieval and reflections. 


English GCSE Syllabus

Mrs C. Murray

Head of Department & Whole School Leader of Literacy

Miss A. Horton

Second in Department

Miss E. Crook

Miss S. Kaur

Teacher of English

Mrs M. Pilkington

Assistant Headteacher & Teacher of English

Mrs J. Robinson

Teacher of English

Mr D. Thomas

Teacher of English


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