English

Curriculum Intent

At the centre of our curriculum is the belief that through the reading of fiction and non-fiction, we can better understand ourselves and how the world around us forms our identity.  Our curriculum is designed to expose students to a range of challenging and enriching texts that will fulfil this purpose. Our curriculum and the texts we teach are constantly evolving to better support us in this purpose. We have increased the breadth and diversity of texts in our curriculum that students are exposed to, considering genre and text type, as well as ensuring that we represent diverse voices reflective of our community, so students have a richer and more complex understanding of themselves and the worlds they live in.  

We also believe that our curriculum must equip students to enter the world with the knowledge they need to thrive. Therefore, our curriculum aims to support students to read, write and speak with fluency and confidence allowing them to express their identity, feelings, arguments and opinions in the wider world. Our aim is to ensure that every student, no matter their background or experience, is able to articulate ideas with confidence. By embedding this knowledge strategically, revisiting and testing it, we seek to close the gap for disadvantaged students and to enable them to deepen their ideas and expression of them. 

Homework and explicit teaching of revision skills is fundamental to this. Our curriculum has a rigorously planned rich knowledge base that aims to develop the cultural capital of our students and develop their vocabulary. Our classes are mixed-ability, and we are passionate about teaching to the top and including challenging content, while offering scaffolding and modelling so every student can access the curriculum. 

In constructing key knowledge for units, we reflect also on the moral purpose of key knowledge, for example spending significant time addressing the civil rights movement and the history of feminism because we believe it will enrich our students as human beings as well as students. We constantly reflect on and evolve the knowledge for each unit, considering what are the bigger questions that the unit seeks to address. Each unit and lesson are centred around key questions that are shared with students and answered through our curriculum: the knowledge and vocabulary supports students to answer these questions perceptively and conceptually. Inspired by Julia Sutherland’s study on the impact of reading (‘Just Read’), we ensure that every module, whether reading or writing focused, includes a core set of reading and treat this as integral to learning in lessons, not just a vehicle for other tasks. 

The English Curriculum is sequenced to develop student propositional and procedural knowledge, as well as their conceptual knowledge of literature and the wider world. In Key Stage 3, each year has a specific procedural knowledge focus, developing an understanding of language, followed by structure and finally purpose. Each year develops students’ conceptual understanding of how themselves and others are impacted by the world around them, focusing on the impact of settings, society and relationships on the individual. Through the sequencing of modules in a year, students will encounter texts of increasing rigour, length and challenge. 

Overview by Key Stage:

Key Stage 3

The central focus of the Year 7 curriculum is for students to master an understanding and control of language and its effects. They achieve this through a series of reading and writing modules. We also develop their understanding of the impact of setting on the individual. 

In Year 8, the central focus of the curriculum is to build on the language knowledge acquired in Year 7 and master the understanding of structure; this includes understanding how writers use structure for effect and how themes and characters develop over the course of longer texts. We also shift the conceptual focus to understand how individuals are treated in society and the barriers to social justice that exist. The texts focus on the concept of being an outsider in societies that celebrate conformity. 

Finally, in Year 9, the focus shifts to understanding writer’s purpose and the contexts that influence their works, building on student understanding of language and structure. The conceptual focus shifts to understanding human relationships and the impacts they have on individual lives. We also focus on the societal barriers relationships can face and how they are overcome. 

Our nurture curriculum runs parallel to our mainstream curriculum but with more explicit teaching of literacy skills, streamlining of knowledge and texts, smaller groups, more metacognitive steps and scaffolding to support students back into mainstream.  Some units are given more time and space to allow for this, so the Module 5 units just cover one text.

Key Stage 4

At key stage four, students put into practice the propositional and procedural knowledge acquired from Key Stage Three.  

English Literature

To be successful in English Literature, students need to be able to create coherent arguments where they track how a character’s journey across a text is used to convey an idea. Each unit introduces detailed critical, historical and social context in relation to the writer’s purpose. We then close read texts as a whole class, with metacognitive steps, and use of the visualiser to model effective close reading. This close reading is alternated with lessons that teach how to write explicitly, again with metacognitive steps, clear success criteria and modelled examples. Revision is explicitly taught, and homework is revision planned into manageable steps for students. The units culminate in planning essays with a clear ‘thesis’ statement with space for explorative talk, linked to vocabulary grids for each text.  

As of 2022, we will begin with An Inspector Calls as we believe that our students are passionate about the theme of inequality, class and gender and this text is excellent for generating debate. The poetry unit allows us to explicitly focus on close analysis, alongside the more challenging comparison focus which supports close reading of the Shakespeare extract which follows. The final literary text after Macbeth is Dr Jekyll and Hyde. The reason for this is we believe that Dr Jekyll and Hyde lends itself well to a more evaluative and ambiguous reading which we build up to. Macbeth and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde share several themes so make excellent companion texts. 

English Language

In English Language, the knowledge from key stage three allows students to analyse, summarise, infer and compare with confidence, as well as constructing convincing and imaginative fiction and non-fiction texts. This knowledge is interleaved and build upon and this is also developed implicitly through our teaching of literature. Obviously, strategies and approaches to question types are key in supporting students to be able to demonstrate this knowledge so we are very explicit in sharing steps and structures for success in short Language reading units that occur half-termly. As with Key stage 3, our writing units are linked to the reading of texts, with key techniques and knowledge foregrounded for students. We spend a great deal of time teaching planning and emphasising the importance of text structure, as well as exploring conventions of different text types and forms.

Key Stage 5

English at Key Stage 5 builds on the propositional and procedural knowledge students have developed throughout Key Stages 3 and 4, increasing the depth, breadth and rigour. Students are taught by two English teachers, who each focus on different aspects of the course.  


At the start of Year 12, students begin by studying ‘The Great Gatsby’ (as part of their unit on American Literature) and ‘A Doll’s House’ (drama and poetry pre-1900). Both texts focus on writer’s purpose, linked to context and engaging with critical interpretations. During these first modules, we focus on explicitly teaching students academic essay writings skills as well as dialogic talk for learning. In the second term, students’ study ‘The Tempest’, where they focus on close analysis and develop their engagement with criticism, and Christina Rossetti poetry (compared with ‘A Doll’s House’), also focusing on context and writer’s purpose. In the Summer term of Year 12, students begin working on their non-exam assessments, a close analysis of Carol Anne Duffy’s ‘The World’s Wife’ and a comparative study of Tennessee William’s ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and McEwan’s ‘On Chesil Beach’. All these texts explore the theme of gender, sexuality and relationships, with students free to choose their specific essay questions and focuses. 

In Year 13, students begin by studying ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, in comparison with ‘The Great Gatsby’ and as part of the wider American Literature contextual unit. They also continue working on their comparative coursework. In the Spring Term, students complete a module on broader American Literature, reading and presenting on a wider variety of texts written between 1880 and 1940. This unit also develops students’ close analytical skills and ability to ground a text in its specific context. In the final term, the curriculum shifts to focus on revision and exam preparation; lessons focus on essay planning, testing and effective revision skills before students sit their final assessments. 

Overview by Key Stage:

Key Stage 3

The central focus of the Year 7 curriculum is for students to master an understanding and control of language and its effects. They achieve this through a series of reading and writing modules. We also develop their understanding of the impact of setting on the individual. 

In Year 8, the central focus of the curriculum is to build on the language knowledge acquired in Year 7 and master the understanding of structure; this includes understanding how writers use structure for effect and how themes and characters develop over the course of longer texts. We also shift the conceptual focus to understand how individuals are treated in society and the barriers to social justice that exist. The texts focus on the concept of being an outsider in societies that celebrate conformity. 

Finally, in Year 9, the focus shifts to understanding writer’s purpose and the contexts that influence their works, building on student understanding of language and structure. The conceptual focus shifts to understanding human relationships and the impacts they have on individual lives. We also focus on the societal barriers relationships can face and how they are overcome. 

Our nurture curriculum runs parallel to our mainstream curriculum but with more explicit teaching of literacy skills, streamlining of knowledge and texts, smaller groups, more metacognitive steps and scaffolding to support students back into mainstream.  Some units are given more time and space to allow for this, so the Module 5 units just cover one text.

RSE Overview

At key stage four, students put into practice the propositional and procedural knowledge acquired from Key Stage Three.  

English Literature

To be successful in English Literature, students need to be able to create coherent arguments where they track how a character’s journey across a text is used to convey an idea. Each unit introduces detailed critical, historical and social context in relation to the writer’s purpose. We then close read texts as a whole class, with metacognitive steps, and use of the visualiser to model effective close reading. This close reading is alternated with lessons that teach how to write explicitly, again with metacognitive steps, clear success criteria and modelled examples. Revision is explicitly taught, and homework is revision planned into manageable steps for students. The units culminate in planning essays with a clear ‘thesis’ statement with space for explorative talk, linked to vocabulary grids for each text.  

As of 2022, we will begin with An Inspector Calls as we believe that our students are passionate about the theme of inequality, class and gender and this text is excellent for generating debate. The poetry unit allows us to explicitly focus on close analysis, alongside the more challenging comparison focus which supports close reading of the Shakespeare extract which follows. The final literary text after Macbeth is Dr Jekyll and Hyde. The reason for this is we believe that Dr Jekyll and Hyde lends itself well to a more evaluative and ambiguous reading which we build up to. Macbeth and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde share several themes so make excellent companion texts. 

English Language

In English Language, the knowledge from key stage three allows students to analyse, summarise, infer and compare with confidence, as well as constructing convincing and imaginative fiction and non-fiction texts. This knowledge is interleaved and build upon and this is also developed implicitly through our teaching of literature. Obviously, strategies and approaches to question types are key in supporting students to be able to demonstrate this knowledge so we are very explicit in sharing steps and structures for success in short Language reading units that occur half-termly. As with Key stage 3, our writing units are linked to the reading of texts, with key techniques and knowledge foregrounded for students. We spend a great deal of time teaching planning and emphasising the importance of text structure, as well as exploring conventions of different text types and forms.

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