Curriculum - English

Mrs Susan King with students

Intent (based on the National Curriculum)

Key Stage 3

Our English curriculum aims to teach students to:

  • express themselves fluently, articulately, powerfully and precisely via their writing and the spoken word
  • comprehend, analyse and evaluate information via their reading and listening
  • think and write creatively, inspired by the craft of successful writers and established forms
  • understand the way in which words have, and continue to, shape the world
  • take joy in appreciating great writing, both from the cannon and the present day, building common cultural capital, to become empowered and engaged global citizens

It is structured to build on the skills developed in KS2 and secure the foundation for reading, writing and oracy at GCSE. Most crucially, KS3 English offers time to immerse students in the power and creativity of language and develop empathy and understanding, through engaging in the views and lives of others, both real and imagined.

All students will participate in:

  • regular reading for information, analysis, comparison and pleasure across a range of prose, poetry, drama and non-fiction, using both extracts and whole texts across a range of genres and forms.
  • securing, extending and editing their vocabulary and knowledge of grammar and linguistic conventions, for reading, writing and spoken language, building on relevant learning from Key Stage 2
  • appreciating our rich and diverse literary heritage, alongside contemporary writing, and the links to their contexts and students’ own lives
  • speaking and writing for a range of different audiences, with awareness of the conventions of purpose, audience, text type and tone
  • understanding the relationship between the classroom and the subject of English in the wider world e.g. through links to the world of work, the media, participation in visits and events and establishing contextual links between literary texts, real lives and world events.


Students will develop the reading, writing and spoken language skills above through coverage of the text list below in each year group:

  • Pre-1900 and modern non-fiction and fiction extracts
  • Pre-1900 and modern poetry
  • A complete modern novel and/or play text
  • Two Shakespeare plays across KS3

Reading texts will present increasing levels of challenge and maturity as students move through Key Stage 3. Students will encounter a range of genres and periods, including texts that reflect a range of literary traditions and writers who represent the diversity of our modern society. They will understand and analyse language, structure and form using subject specific vocabulary, as well as considering context and writer’s purpose. The importance of text annotation as a precursor to writing about reading will taught in all year groups.

  • In Year 7, particular focus is given to the notion of The Big Picture. Students will consider the text as a whole, to provide secure reading foundations via setting, character themes and events, before moving close-up, to analysis of the finer detail.
  • In Year 8 students will learn more about The Writers’ Craft – analysing the detail of language, structure and form in the context of the whole.
  • Year 9 students will consider Voice, Intent and Perspective to understand and compare how texts work to convey different ideas and viewpoints. Students will establish their own viewpoint, understand those of others and how these relate to context of production and reception.

To develop writing skills students will:

  • write in a range of genres (fiction, poetry and non-fiction) having understood the conventions of purpose audience, text type and tone through secure models of such writing.
  • be given opportunities to write creatively, for pleasure, and hear and play with language to understand the power and joy of words for their own sake.
  • secure and extend their knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, spelling and punctuation, via contextualised activities, to enable them to understand their application and apply them in their own writing. They will practice these elements via peer and self-marking, teacher-marked work, personalised feedback and response to marking.

To develop oracy, students will:

  • be given opportunities to develop both formal and informal spoken language skills via class discussion, paired and small group work, as well as presentations and readings of texts aloud.
  • secure and extend their knowledge of register and vocabulary and draw on their knowledge of text conventions to embed relevant aspects in their own spoken delivery.

Key concepts

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Spoken English and related listening
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • Subject terminology

Links to Key Stage 2

Our curriculum extends and applies the relevant grammatical knowledge selected from English Appendix 2 to the Key Stage 1 and 2 programmes of study to analyse more challenging texts.

Relationship to the wider Key Stage 3 Curriculum

Cross-curricular literacy: summarising and organising material, and supporting ideas and arguments with any necessary factual detail; amending the vocabulary, grammar and structure of writing to improve its coherence and overall effectiveness; paying attention to accurate grammar, punctuation and spelling; applying the spelling patterns and rules set out in English Appendix 1 to the key stage 1 and 2 Programmes of Study for English.

Music, Drama, History and Art: knowing the purpose, audience for and context of writing and drawing on this knowledge to support comprehension.

Drama: improvising, rehearsing and performing play scripts and poetry in order to generate language and discuss language use and meaning, using role, intonation, tone, volume, mood, silence, stillness and action to add impact.

Links between KS3 and KS4

The English curriculum builds on knowledge of a range of text types, contexts and writers, with a major focus on skills’ building from Key Stage 2 to 4. Students experience a spiral curriculum for English skills, revisiting the key areas of reading, writing and spoken language to address the increasing level of challenge in these areas at Key Stage 4. The range of texts across fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama, and pre-and post-1900 texts provide a foundation for this pattern of text coverage at Key Stage 4.

Extra-Curricular Experience across KS3 and 4

Students are given opportunities to select from a range of activities, both within school time and after school, that develop their love of reading, writing and speaking and recognise the subject of English as alive and relevant to their world outside school. These may include:

  • Theatre, cinema and performance experiences, both virtual and face-to-face
  • Visiting writers
  • Creative writing competitions/clubs and writing for a real audience
  • Reading groups
  • Debating societies
  • Links with or speakers from businesses where qualifications in English are particularly relevant
  • Homework/transition/project work that requires students to draw on links between the subject of English and the real world including the media, world events and the wider arts

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4 students study the Edexcel GCSEs in English Language and English Literature. They will:

  • Study a range of fiction and non-fiction, poetry and drama from both the established canon and twentieth and twenty-first writing, developing their knowledge of the breadth of texts introduced across Key Stage 3.
  • respond to seen and unseen texts, using their reading skills (comprehension, inference, analysis, evaluation, synthesis and comparison) to comment on writer’s methods, intentions, ideas and perspectives using textual evidence.
  • draw on their creative and transactional writing skills to write for a range of purposes, planning, organising and editing their writing in line with skills developed from Key Stage 3.
  • develop their oracy skills via paired, group and class discussions as well as more formal presentations for a given purpose as part of the GCSE Spoken Language Endorsement.

Students will be supported in understanding the application of English and English Literature to their lives, to empower them in reading and writing for a range of purposes - for life, work, academic furtherance and personal fulfilment. To this end, they will be supported as young adult readers to pursue a range of wider reading, springboarding from the curriculum, as well as their personal interests, to develop their cultural capital and confidence as readers of the world around them.

Key Stage 5

At Key Stage 5 students study the Edexcel English Literature A level. They will

  • read, analyse and respond to drama, poetry and prose from a range of periods, from medieval literature to literature of their own time, and understand the relationship between the texts of today and the writers that have gone before them.
  • establish informed personal responses to the literature they read and, in the second year of the course, develop confidence in reading and responding to the critical academic views of others.
  • study context and its impact on the production and reception of literary texts
  • understand the development of genre over time.
  • build on their reading and writing skills established at Key Stage 4, by extending their planning, analysis and essay writing skills. Study will be supported by guided wider academic reading.
  • develop research and referencing skills, supported via a range of online academic sources for the subject. Academic rigour, research, wider reading and independent study will increase in the second year of the course, as students approach coursework via a supported taught text. Students will link this to a text of their own choice, establishing links and connections between those texts and proposing an area of study.
  • be encouraged to see live performance and immerse themselves in the literary opportunities within their communities, as well as national theatre and the wider media.  
  • develop their ability to respond to unseen literature begun at KS4, by responding to unseen contemporary poetry both on the page and via recorded and/or live readings.

During the course, students will develop detailed and close relationships with their prescribed texts which, at this point in their academic journey, we hope will be the texts they will know most intimately for the rest of their lives, whatever they go on to do next. They will be guided in their literary reading for pleasure, both in relation to their prescribed texts and informed by their own particular interests, so that they develop a sustained and confident reading passion for life.