The Faculty of English, Media Studies and Drama aims to develop the whole child; equipping them with the skills which will enable them to perform to the best of their ability in all subjects, not just English.

Rationale and Aims:

To ensure a safe, positive learning environment in which our students’ curiosity can be fostered and built upon; motivating students to reach their full potential.

To promote both a standard of excellence, through celebrating success and aspiration as well as promoting the importance of resilience, helping all students to progress and achieve.  

To acknowledge the relevance of students’ own experiences and value their individual contributions.

To model and promote a love of English, through outstanding teaching and a rich variety of extracurricular opportunities which will encourage students to explore their own understanding of the world and themselves as well as using positive examples of contemporary individuals who have achieved in our subject area.

In essence, we want to open students’ eyes to the possibilities in the world around them and equip them to explore that world in full.

Key Stage 3: The engine room for learning

Our schemes of learning are designed to follow the principles of the national curriculum, drawing upon the latest ideas and innovations in pedagogy and practice as well as creating links to further education and the community. We also recognise the importance of a continuum model, recognising that success in Key Stage 4, begins with the skills, experiences and values instilled in our students from Year 7. As such, all students begin in Year 7 upon a path of progression that is in line with the 1-9 grading descriptors at GCSE and reflect their Key Stage Four targets.      

Therefore, throughout KS3 we have a firm focus on combining a rigorous approach to securing the core literacy skills required to be successful readers and writers with collaborative learning that is engaging, exciting and dynamic.

Accelerated Reader for all KS3 students

The English department continues to embed and refine our exciting new approach to improving standards of reading called Accelerated Reader (AR).  Every student in Year 7 and Year 8 is STAR tested at the beginning of the year and a ZPD score is generated.  Students are then able to select a book from the library that will be accessible, but also challenging for them based on this score. All KS3 students then complete a period of 20 mins engaged reading every lesson; this involves reading their book, but also taking online quizzes designed to test each child’s understanding and allows us to offer intervention and support to those that need it.

In addition, all students study a Shakespeare play and a selection of poetry as well as multi modal texts that are integral to 21st century life.  We always look to promote additional learning opportunities that really enthuse learners such as literacy in the outdoors and visits by published authors.

In year 8 the focus is on reinforcing and developing the skills acquired, whilst also increasing the level of challenge so that all learners thrive.

Planning for progression is at the heart of all English lessons so teachers work together to share their knowledge of students and their progress.  Group and collaborative work is a core aspect of lessons as students have opportunities to discuss, probe and evaluate texts.  There is a strong focus on developing writing skills as students are offered opportunities to write for real life audiences and purposes.

During year 9, students begin the transition from being KS3 students to GCSE level learners.  Assessment of students’ verbal and written work is thorough and regular to ensure essential skills for GCSE success are being cemented and the introduction of

KS4: Our Key Stage Four students follow a curriculum model that is adapted and refined each year, to best deliver the content and skills need for them to secure success.

In year 10 all students begin their GCSE courses in earnest. The curriculum is designed to deliver content based lessons that are built to integrate a core of transferrable skills that will enable them to achieve their potential. By the end of Year 10, all students will have successfully studied the core literature texts. Our core texts include A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers.

As students’ progress into year 11, they are entering the final stages of their GCSE and examination preparation becomes the primary focus.  Students have many opportunities to develop their exam skills through collaborative and independent tasks.  There are numerous opportunities for students to share their work and learn from one another.  The teacher offers regular feedback, ensuring students are always clear about their next steps to success. 

Examination board and Syllabus

AQA English Language (8700)


AQA English Literature (8702)


KS 5:

There are several options for post 16 English students to consider and their teachers are always available to offer advice and guidance as to the best route for each individual.  Students that choose to study English language will learn all about the language of life, exploring the variations of language used in different contexts.  Literature students will have the opportunity to read some of the greatest literary works ever written; they will study a wide range of genres including drama, poetry and prose.  Media students will develop similar analytical skills when exploring a range of media products ranging from newspapers to films to documentaries to web based platforms.  They will explore the impact of the media on modern culture and the representations constructed in the media.

We are entirely committed to the progress of all students at all ages and firmly believe that through English and the securing of key literacy skills, students are offered the key to success in all of their subjects.  However, we do not want English to be an uninspiring diet of grammar and punctuation so are constantly seeking ways to relate the subject to their world and their interests, bringing the subject to life through group work and extracurricular opportunities.

Examination board and syllabus:

AQA GCE English Language (7702)


AQA English Literature A (7712)


OCR Media Studies (H409)


Beyond the Classroom

Finally, we also consider it essential to provide diverse opportunities to learn within and beyond the classroom.  We regularly organise visits to the theatre, with the opportunity to see live performances of set texts at Key Stage 4 such as Blood Brothers, A Christmas Carol, and Shakespeare. Also in collaboration with Plymouth University, we have hosted a series of specialist lectures delivered by the Universities English specialists. We also work in conjunction with the Books Trust, promoting initiatives to raise the profile of reading, such as Book Buzz as well as entering other competitions such as KYBA and the Carnegie Medal competition.