At St Edward’s School, the English department is committed to developing resilient learners who have a passion for language and literature.

Curriculum Intent

In English we have built a curriculum that has communication at its heart. We want our students to enjoy communicating their own ideas and feelings clearly and with zest, whether that is in writing or verbally. We seek to form self-motivated and resilient young people who enjoy discussing, debating, exploring and presenting their views and ideas. We value and encourage imagination and believe that writing in all forms and for all purposes should feel creative.

In each year at St. Edwards, students will build on previous knowledge and understanding, develop the skills they already have so that their reading is confident and analytical and their writing is not only accurate, but effectively crafted. Crucially, in Year 7 we will build on skills and knowledge taught in Key Stage Two.

We will build empathy and compassion, both for fictional characters, people in the real world and for each other. We encourage our students to look beyond the classroom and engage with the world through the wide range of rich and high-quality texts that we present. We encourage our students to read and write widely in and out of the classroom, for information and for pleasure.

As English teachers, we recognise our role in exploring with students, their own morality, spirituality and role as citizens of the world.

Key Stage Three

At Key Stage Three, our units of work follow a thematic approach and each unit covers a whole term. A high quality and challenging novel or play will sit at the heart of each unit and students will encounter a range of non-fiction and poetry texts based on the themes within the central text. Each year group will begin the academic year with a novel or collection of short stories and we place importance on reading whole texts in class and at home. Throughout the key stage our spiral curriculum will ensure that all students make expected progress by revisiting and developing key skills in reading, writing and oracy.

Click here for the Key Stage 3 English Curriculum Implementation

Year 7

In Year 7 we ensure that students begin their time at St. Edward’s with confidence by building on the skills and knowledge they have developed in Key Stage Two. We work with our Primary feeder schools to avoid repetition of texts and we also work together on approaches to learning in English to ensure a smooth transition.

Year 7 students will open the academic year with a study of Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, World War One poetry and non-fiction from and about the war. In reading they will build on skills of inference and language analysis. In writing, we focus on the form of speech writing and the purpose of persuading.

During the Spring term, students look at travel writing, study extracts from novels about journeys with a particular focus on pirates (including local tales), Treasure Island by RL Stevenson and Moonfleet by J. Meade Falkner with a particular focus on how texts are crafted to engage their audience. In this unit students will study a variety of texts in preparation for writing their own description.

Finally, in our summer term students will explore the world of Shakespeare, working towards becoming more independent in their exploration of his language and poetry. As well as Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, our unit, titled: We are such stuff that dreams are made on, enables students to visit a range of modern and 19th century poetry and non-fiction texts around themes such as love, marriage and dreams.

 Year 8

We begin Year 8 with the novel Boy 87 by Ele fountain. Students grapple with topical questions surrounding immigration and displacement. Students build on the inference and language analysis skills they have developed previously while introducing a range of more challenging ideas and themes surrounding current issues. During this year we also begin to explore how writers structure a text for effect and interest.

We begin the Spring term with 19th Century fiction. The Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle, introduces Year 8 to the world of Crime and Detection where students will engage in a selection of short stories, poetry and non-fiction texts on this theme. The texts in our Crime and Detection unit are more challenging than the ones studied in year 7 and as a result, enables students to become familiar with more demanding styles and vocabulary. Students will also explore how crime and detection stories are written and endeavour to use similar features and techniques to create a story opening in this genre.

We end the year with a play version of Frankenstein, adapted for study by Phillip Pullman. In our Trapped unit, students look at themes of identity, examine dramatic methods and consider how knowledge of Victorian England can enrich the meaning of the text as well as studying poetry of similar themes. They will study extracts from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In writing they will consider the theme of animal cruelty and captivity, and they will work on developing skills in writing to persuade that we teach in year 7, now in the more challenging form of article writing.

In oracy, students will discuss a range of themes in pairs and in groups with increased clarity and purpose.

Students will continue to build their confidence in analysing language and begin to consider how writer use structure: skills which are vital for Year 9.

Year 9

Year 9 opens with our gothic novel The Women in Black by Susan Hill. Alongside this, students will use their knowledge of gothic conventions to craft their own creative writing. During this term students will learn how to write about and evaluate a text critically as well as honing skills in language and structural analysis. The novel is an engaging read and is also a stepping stone to the 19th Century novel in Year 10.

In the Spring term of Year 9, students revisit Shakespeare from Year 7 with age-appropriate Romeo and Juliet as our core literary text. Students will examine the themes of love, loss and relationships through a range of poetry and non-fiction text. Poetry from writers such as Carol Anne Duffy, Seamus Heaney and Simon Armitage ensure that this year students are studying texts challenging enough to prepare them for Key Stage Four. In writing, students will revise, develop and practise skills in writing articles to argue and persuade again, building on their skills from Year 7 and 8.

We end Key Stage Three with Dystopian Discoveries. During this term students will build and develop analytical techniques needed to explore characters in depth. Through their engagement with short stories and extracts from a range of dystopian novels and a range of non-fiction texts, students will learn how to make links between the texts they are reading and the social and environmental issues that inspire such stories. In the second half of the term, students will explore persuasive writing, building on writing skills from Years 7 and 8.

In oracy, students will create and deliver an individual talk to the whole class which is something they return to at GCSE.

At the end of this year, students will have explored a range of texts and developed and practised skills in reading, writing and oracy, that will provide them with a solid foundation for their Key Stage Four studies as they move into GCSE.

Key Stage Four

In Years 10 and 11, students work towards completing two separate GCSEs: English Language and English Literature.

Students will study a range of topics which integrate the skills of reading, writing and speaking and listening. They will read a wide variety of non-fiction, poetry, novels and plays. These will build on and extent their knowledge of Literature and Language from KS3. For example, there are direct links from their study of 19th Century short detective stories in Year 8 and the gothic fiction they explore in Year 9 to their study of the 19th Century novel, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde or A Christmas Carol, in Year 10. Further, there is a link between their knowledge of Literature about and from World War One in Year 7 and their study of several war poems in Year 10 and 11. In this example, there is an additional link to their study of the First Word War in History. Our Curriculum Intent Maps show the links to KS3 and KS5 in more detail.

Click here for the Key Stage 4 English Curriculum Implementation.

GCSE students will study:

  • one Shakespeare play (Macbeth)

  • a full 19th Century novel (Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by RL Stevenson or A Christmas Carol by C Dickens).

  • An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley

  • A range of poetry by both heritage and modern poets, including the Eduqas Poetry Cluster.

  • A range of fiction and non-fiction texts from the 19th Century to present day.

In writing, the emphasis is on their individual style and voice. They will focus on:

  • Generating lively and compelling ideas about topics such as sport, travel, the environment;

  • Writing in different forms, with an individual voice and style, for different purposes;

  • Developing and communicating ideas, using an extended vocabulary and effective style and structuring sentences for effect;

  • Accurate punctuation for effect, correct spelling of ambitious and precise vocabulary and legible handwriting.

All examinations in the subject will be taken at the end of Year 11. Examinations are closed text (they will not be allowed any of the books in the exam with them) and that they are un-tiered i.e. all students will sit the same paper.

Method of Assessment

Exam Board: Eduqas

Exam Structure: External Assessment in the form of 4 exams (2 for English Language, 2 for English Literature).

 Pathways after Year 11

GCSE English Language and English Literature form the basis for all education or employment pathways after Year 11 as they contain the elements of reading, writing and speaking and listening which underpin all further education qualifications and jobs.

Key Stage 5

In the Sixth Form, we offer English Language and English Literature at A Level.

 In the two-year English Language A-Level course, students develop their knowledge and appreciation of English through learning about its structures and its functions, its developments and its variations.  It allows students to develop their ability to express themselves in speech and writing, producing texts for different audiences, purposes and in different genres. Students will study how language has changed from the 14th Century to the present day; look at regional variation of language use; how language is used to create and present identity and also how children learn to communicate.

Students studying A Level English Literature will be embarking on a two-year course of study.  The course enables students to enjoy, discuss and analyse major texts of both contemporary and past literature.  The course gives students an insight in to key literary influences on our culture and society. At present, students study The Tempest by William Shakespeare, a comparison of the Dystopian novels The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Nineteen-Eighty-Four by George Orwell, a comparison of The Merchant’s Tale by Chaucer and the 18th Century play, She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith. For their coursework they will read The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and also a collection of poetry by Simon Armitage.

Method of Assessment

English Literature

Exam Board: OCR

Exam Structure: External Assessment in the form of two exams and two pieces of coursework

English Language

Exam Board: Edexcel

Exam Structure: External Assessment in the form of three exams and one piece of coursework


Course Contact

Mrs J Mottaghi

English Subject Leader