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English Language


The study of English allows pupils to explore ideas and a variety of issues, and to improve their spoken and written communication. Pupils are encouraged to work with others as well as individually, gaining confidence by understanding what they do well, and as they develop their ability. We encourage and enable pupils to become increasingly confident, precise, expressive, accurate and flexible in all aspects of the communication skills of speaking, listening and writing: skills which they will transfer and apply to all areas of the school curriculum and beyond.

Form 3 to Upper 4th (years 7 to 9)

From Form 3 to Upper 4th we are seeking to embed the core skills of reading, writing and speaking and listening so our pupils can face their exam years with resilience, confidence and independence.

In Form 3 our pupils study the class novel (Darkside by Tom Becker), a poetry collection covering pre- and post- 19th century poems and a Shakespeare scheme of work, such as Heroes and Villains. The Lower 4th study a novel (for example, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins), a travel writing scheme of work and a Shakespeare play.

In Upper 4th the units of work are a novel (such as Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck), Creating Characters (a creative writing unit) and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.


GCSE English Language offers students the opportunity to develop reading and writing skills in a variety of ways, alongside encouraging an appreciation for language in its many forms. When reading, students will analyse both fiction and non-fiction texts, focusing on the writers’ methods and their effects upon the reader. Supplementing their study of literature, students will read a range of challenging, engaging extracts by writers such as George Orwell, Angela Carter and Ian McEwan. Students will analyse them both linguistically and structurally, developing an appreciation of how writers are able to engage and manipulate their readers. Students will also engage with non-fiction writing, studying 21st century texts such as broadsheet newspaper reports and magazine articles and 19th century literary non-fiction texts such as letters and articles by DH Lawrence and Charles Dickens. Using this enhanced appreciation of language, students will hone their own creative writing skills. For fictional writing, students will focus on their descriptive and narrative skills, while for non-fiction, students will learn to draft assured letters and newspaper articles, fostering informative, rhetoric and polemic tones.

Developing these skills and an appreciation of the various forms of writing will provide pupils with an invaluable confidence. Language skills inevitably transfer to many other subjects and remain highly sought after in the modern, technological age.

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

  • Section A: Reading (one literature fiction text)
  • Section B: Writing (descriptive or narrative writing)

Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives

  • Section A: Reading (one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text)
  • Section B: Writing (writing to present a viewpoint)

Non-examination assessment: Speaking and Listening

Students will undertake a prepared spoken presentation, lasting no more than ten minutes, on a specific topic chosen by them.