The English Department is a high achieving department which prides itself on consistently high standards, achieving some of the best results in York. It is a creative and supportive team whose aim is to ensure that all students receive the best possible education from teachers who have genuine passion and expertise in their subject. Teachers genuinely care about their students who appreciate the department’s ‘open door’ culture and the extra time and support always on offer.
Students are consistently encouraged to challenge themselves and take a creative approach to their learning through the well-developed and diverse programmes of study at all Key Stages. The department aims to set suitable learning challenges for all students, personalising the curriculum to overcome potential learning barriers. Examinations are approached both with confidence and rigour, equipping students with the skills needed both to achieve and for life!

Above all, we seek to make every student’s experience of English Language and Literature one that is rewarding, passing on a legacy that will instil a life-long love of reading.

How is English a sacred subject?

Through the study of English, we enable our students to discover the multi-faceted beauty of communication, understanding and exploration of relationships with themselves, each other, and the mysterious nature of God’s world; to recognise that language plays a fundamental role in the growth of our identify and self image, leading to human flourishing which transcends limitations and barriers. Exposure to a rich variety of literature and the development of high-level literacy skills gives them the tools to participate as global citizens.


Main Programmes of Study


Key Stage 3

Students are assessed through a variety of reading, writing and speaking and listening tasks to build up a portfolio of their progress as they develop skills that will prepare them for GCSE and beyond:

Year 7
Term 1 – Writing to Explain and The Novel
Term 2 – The Gothic
Term 3 – Shakespeare’s World and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Year Core Knowledge

Year 8
Term 1 – ‘Fighting Talk’ (Persuasive writing) and Animal Farm
Term 2 – Detective Fiction and Noughts and Crosses (Drama)
Term 3 – Victorian Lives and Becoming a Linguist

Year 8 Core Knowledge

Year 9
Term 1 – Of Mice and Men and Writing to Protest: Poetry and Dystopia
Term 2 – Shakespeare – The Tempest or Romeo and Juliet and Writing to Explain
Term 3 – Poetry (linked to GCSE) and Speaking and Listening: Creating Viewpoints

Year 9 Core Knowledge

Key Stage 4

Students are entered for two qualifications: English Language and English Literature, resulting in two GCSEs at the end of Year 11, based on two AQA examinations:

English Language

Paper One: Section A – Creative Reading: Literature fiction text

Section B – Creative Writing: Descriptive and Narrative writing

Paper Two: Section A – Reading non-fiction and literary non-fiction

Section B – Writing to present a viewpoint

Spoken Language: Students are assessed on their ability to present, respond to questions and their use of Standard English. This is a separate, but compulsory endorsement to the GCSE itself.

English Literature

Paper One: Shakespeare and The 19th Century Novel

Macbeth and (either) A Christmas Carol (or) Frankenstein.

Paper Two: Modern Texts and Poetry

An Inspector Calls; Poetry Comparison based on the pre studied anthology; Unseen Poetry.

Year 10 Core Knowledge

Year 11 Core Knowledge

Key Stage 5

A Level

English Literature
(AQA Specification B).

Paper One – Literary Genres: Aspects of Tragedy: Othello, Keats’ poetry, Death of a Salesman and Tess of the D’Urbervilles (students choose between Keats and Tess in the exam).  Worth 40% of the A Level.

Paper Two – Texts and Genres: Elements of Political and Social Protest Writing: The Handmaid’s Tale, Songs of Innocence and Experience and The Kite Runner. Worth 40% of the A level.

Coursework – Theory and Independent Study of two texts, one poetry and one prose, of students’ own choice studied through one of the critical lenses in the AQA Critical Anthology. Two essays of 1250-1500 words worth 20% of the overall grade.

Sociolinguistics: English Language

Paper One – Language, the Individual and Society – Textual variations and representations – Children’s language development (0-11 years) Methods of language analysis woven into the above.

Paper Two – Language Diversity and Change – Language diversity and change – Language discourses – Writing skills Methods of language analysis are woven into the above.
Coursework Language in Action Two pieces of writing 3500 words altogether:
1. A language investigation – 2000 words
2. A piece of original writing and commentary – 1500 words

Extra Curricular


Our KS3 students are invited to take part in a range of extra curricular activities including a debate club and drama club.  We also work very closely with the school library to provide book groups, creative writing clubs, reading and poetry competitions and the Headteacher’s Reading Award.


All KS4 students are encouraged to participate in theatre trips, creative writing and poetry competitions. We work closely with the library to celebrate our students’ talents and keen interest in literature as well as running a number of book groups.


KS5 students are offered a variety of voluntary theatre trips to complement their literary studies.  Our sixth form students take an active role in running Book Clubs at KS5 but also to support students lower down the school.  There are many opportunities for students to volunteer to support KS3 and 4 students in the classroom and to become reading mentors.