Secondary > English

English Welcome

The English Area incorporates all aspects of the teaching of English and English literature. As a team, we seek to make all of the different strands and topics enjoyable and rewarding for students. The curriculum is designed to challenge all students, both in terms of their skills in use and understanding of different modes of communication and also in their broader thinking about the world in which we live.

We aim to develop in our students the ability to communicate effectively in both talk and writing, while providing ample opportunity for students to work individually and in group settings to this end. Similarly, we endeavour to enable students to be analytical participants in society, able to explore the meanings in texts that they read and images that they see in the media as well as evaluating the effects intended by writers, advertisers and movie makers to name a few.

Our curriculum is designed to be knowledge rich, increasing students’ cultural capital at every opportunity.  As a team one of our primary goals is to unlock the potential of all students by promoting reading for pleasure across the school.  We study a range of texts from a diverse collection of authors, across the history of the English language.

English News

English Staff

  • Mr G Ellis : Learning Director : English
  • Mr S Hutchinson : 2nd in English
  • Miss M McCabe : 2nd in English
  • Ms C Woodhouse : Assistant Headteacher KS3 and Teacher of English
  • Mrs L Palmer :  Assistant Headteacher Literacy and Teacher of English
  • Mrs C Spalding : Assistant Headteacher KS4/5 and Teacher of English
  • Miss B Kara : Deputy Headteacher and Teacher of English
  • Mr M Turner – Teacher of English
  • Miss A Bloor – Teacher of English
  • Miss S Cruickshank : Teacher of English
  • Mrs T Patrick : Teacher of English
  • Miss S Akhtar : HLTA English
  • Ms D Lowe : Librarian

English Visits

Year 7 visit

  • Theatre
  • Pantomime
  • Cinema

Year 8 visit

  • Theatre and/or cinema

Year 9 visit

  • Theatre and/or cinema

English Course Outline

Years 7-9 course description

Years 7-9 English at The Bemrose School builds on what students have achieved at primary school. Our course is designed to be clear, accessible and stimulating for each student, with an emphasis on providing students with feedback on where they are at and showing them how to progress. Our aim is to develop each student’s ability to interpret and use English imaginatively, effectively and successfully. As well as preparing students for the GCSE, we also equip them with language skills for life beyond school.

Year 7 students follow a series of topics exploring the development of English across time. Students get a chance to explore the etymology of the English language and look at the development of early literature, the way texts differ across the world and an introduction to Shakespeare. Students learn to become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama as well as non-fiction and media texts, gaining access to the pleasure and world of knowledge that reading offers. Looking at the patterns, structures, origins and conventions of English will help students understand how language works. Using this understanding, they develop their ability to choose and adapt what they say and write in different situations, as well as appreciate and interpret the choices made by other writers and speakers. We also encourage students to develop essential social skills so that they can shine in group activities. Students are introduced to the teaching strategy of ‘Reciprocal Reader’ when exploring texts.

Having developed students’ ability to learn, Year 8 provides opportunities for students to extend their study of more complex areas of English. Topics include an introduction to gothic fiction, an entire Shakespeare play, romantic poetry, and the novel Animal Farm. There are many writing opportunities throughout the year, including an introduction to transactional writing styles. Reciprocal reader skills are developed.

Year 9 focuses on a range of characters from different types of literature, builds on students’ gothic knowledge with extracts of Frankenstein and allows students to use a variety of style models to produce their own creative writing. There is further study of an entire novel and an introduction to the use of social and historical contexts in literature.  This use of context is built upon further with the study of the ever-popular play Blood Brothers. Reciprocal reader is further developed.

Years 10-11 course description

In years 10 and 11 students follow the Edexcel GCSE courses in English Language and English Literature. Students explore a variety of poetry, prose and drama texts in preparation for written exams at the end of the  two-year course. A particular focus is on unseen texts; a range of fiction from the 19th century and a range of non-fiction from the 20th and 21st centuries. Students need to be able to understand the information in the text, comment on writers’ use of langage and structure and evaluate texts in detail. Comparison is also a key skill required at GCSE level. Students’ knowledge and use of reciprocal reader as a reading strategy is paramount to understanding unseen texts.

Texts among the programme of study include Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, JB Priestley’s play An Inspector Calls, and the poetic works of Robert Browning, John Cooper Clarke, Carol Ann Duffy, Lord Byron and John Keats, among others. Novels commonly taught include either Dickens’ A Christmas Carol or Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. All students in years 10-11 must complete the spoken language endorsement, which involves creating and performing a presentation to an audience about a given topic.

Both of the GCSE course studied in English count towards the English Baccalaureate.

There are two examinations in English Language:

  • Paper 1: Unseen 19th Century Fiction and Imaginative Writing
  • Paper 2: Unseen 20th/21st Century Non-fiction and Transactional Writing

There are two examinations in English Literature:

  • Paper 1: Shakespeare and Post-1914 Literature

(Romeo and Juliet and An Inspector Calls)

  • Paper 2: 19th Century Novel and Poetry since 1789
  • (A Christmas Carol/Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Relationships Poetry, Unseen Poetry)In additional, students with English as an additional language may also follow an extra ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) or Entry Level in English course alongside the GCSE.

English Assessment

English is assessed through a combination of reading and writing tasks throughout the year. These can include formative assessments, often knowledge based in the form of quizzes, or summative assessments, such as more formal essays or practice examinations. Our aim in English is to assess that students have understood the knowledge and skills taught in this unit of work in order for teachers to address any misunderstandings or gaps in knowledge. Students have the opportunity to address feedback given by teachers in ‘Red Pen Time’ following ‘Key Tasks’ at different points in the year.

Key task topics for each year

Year 7:

  • Aut 1: Stories through time
  • Aut 2: The Odyssey 1
  • Spr 1: The Odyssey 2
  • Spr 2: Introduction to Shakespeare
  • Sum 1: The Purple Lady and other Fairy Stories

Year 8:

  • Sum 2: Introduction to gothic literature
  • Aut 1: Macbeth 1
  • Aut 2: Macbeth 2
  • Spr 1: ‘Songs’ of William Blake
  • Spr 2: Animal Farm
  • Sum 1: Horrible Histories

Year 9

  • Sum 2: Heroes and Villains in prose fiction
  • Aut 1: Frankenstein
  • Aut 2: Creative writing
  • Spr 1: Of Mice and Men 1
  • Spr 2: Of Mice and Men 2
  • Sum 1: Blood Brothers

Year 10

  • Sum 2: Romeo and Juliet 1
  • Aut 1: Romeo and Juliet 2
  • Aut 2: Creative writing
  • Spr 1: Unseen 19th century fiction
  • Spr 2: An Inspector Calls 1
  • Sum 1: An Inspector Calls 2


Year 11

  • Sum 2: Practice exams
  • Aut 1: Unseen 20th/21st century non-fiction
  • Aut 2: A Christmas Carol/Jekyll and Hyde 1
  • Spr 1: A Christmas Carol/Jekyll and Hyde 2
  • Spr 2: Practice exams
  • Sum 1: External exams

Speaking and listening:

All students must develop and perform a presentation to an audience.Students must demonstrate their presentation skills in a formal setting, listen and respond to questions and feedback, and use spoken English effectively.


The spoken language presentation may take a variety of forms, including:

(a) a speech or talk by a student, followed by questions from the audience or

(b) a formal debate or dialogue, such as an interview where the student is able to prepare      extended responses to questions or prompts which have been shared in advance,         followed by questions from the audience.

Key Task titles across Key stage 4 change each year in line with the GCSE task banks. The task bank headings are as follows:

English Extra – Work

Extra curricula activities

  • Lunchtime reading clubs
  • After school literacy catch-up for students in years 7-9
  • After school revision sessions for years 10-13
  • BBC School Report
  • Story writing competitions
  • Homework Club
  • Poetry writing club