Curriculum Statement - English

“Once you learn to read you will be free forever.” – Frederick Douglas

Powerful Knowledge in English

Our curriculum will endeavour to provide students with the powerful knowledge, which can too often be hidden from view. In doing so, our aim is to provide students with the knowledge to make the implicit, explicit.

The powerful knowledge curriculum in English will be deliberately and coherently sequenced to take the shape of a chronological narrative; a narrative that aims to support pupils in making sense of both the literary canon and texts from across a rich, cultural spectrum of literature. In particular, students will be tasked with exploring the timeless and universal threads that run through and connect written texts, regardless of their place in history or their place of origin. The sequence of the curriculum also endeavours to ensure that the knowledge taught is rich; in that it is taught to be remembered by our students, not merely encountered.

Our curriculum also aims to prepare every student for the demands of both the wider curriculum and the wider world through a conscious and explicit teaching of both Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary. This deliberate teaching of vocabulary goes beyond simply defining the meaning of a word but encourages students to fully explore the language. Through an exploration of word origin, change and usage, students will develop a vocabulary that is not only broad but rich in depth. In doing this, we hope to provide our students with the academic code that ultimately leads to school and life success.


Curriculum Features

As part of their experience in English, students will be guided to critically reflect and explore a set of key concepts:

  1. Behind every text ever written there is writer intent.
  2. All writers are influenced by the time, place and social positioning from which they write.
  3. There are a set of universal and timeless themes and ideas that have, and continue to influence, the intentions of writers.
  4. As readers we are connected to these universal and timeless themes and ideas and this connection can inform our own personal response to a text.
  5. Having a confident control over both written and spoken language empowers the individual.
  6. All readers can and should make predictions about any text, both fiction and non-fiction. They should do this by interrogating the intent of the writer and by considering the context within which it was written.
  7. A writer can manipulate the way a reader thinks about an issue through the use of grammar.

In order to examine, unpick and critically reflect on these key concepts, students will explore through both the written and spoken word a chronologically sequenced curriculum at KS3 that spans the following five periods of world and therefore literary history:


Romantics and Revolution
Great Wars and Hard Times

Across the Key Stages, pupils will fully engage with a rich diet of texts written during, about and related to these five areas with a focus on the following:

The Illiad, King Arthur and the Crusades, Twelfth Night, Gothic Literature, The Great War, The Odyssey, Beowulf, The Oral Tradition, Mythology, The Tempest, The Woman in Black, Ancient Greek Tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, Oedipus, Macbeth, An Inspector Calls, Crime Fiction – 19th Century to Modern day, Of Mice and Men, 20th and 21st Conflict Poetry.


Co Curriculum Enrichment

Students’ study of English will also be enriched by a super curriculum offer that provides opportunities both within and outside the classroom for pupils to experience the power of both the written and spoken word. The aim of these experiences is to enrich students’ understanding of the world around them and how they are connected to it. We also aim to encourage pupils to challenge ideas, concepts and traditions so that they develop their own voice and interpretations; a skill set that is crucial for both academic and life success.

This super curriculum offer will include: theatre visits, theatre workshops, creative writing workshops, academic lecture days, poetry competitions, creative writing competitions, oracy celebration events, visits to places of literary significance, visiting speakers, authors and poets, debate clubs and entry into wider school competition and network events.


Students begin their key stage three studies by looking at the Ancients. In particular, they focus on Greek mythology and the Iliad. Study then progresses to look at the Arthurian myths and legends.

The first Shakespeare text that students encounter is Twelfth night which is followed by a topic on gothic writing.

Students return to their study of the Greek myths with a particular focus on the Odyssey. This leads to work on Beowulf and folklore.

Students continue their studies with a focus on the poetry of the romantics, crime writing a literature review of Animal Farm and an in-depth study of The Tempest.


Students study the AQA GCSE English Literature and Language specifications. These involves detailed work on diverse topics and works such as Romeo and Juliet, A Christmas Carol, An Inspector Calls and poetry focused on love & relationships. Students also develop their reading and writing skills, with a particular focus on creative writing.

Further detail is available on the exam board website below