• GCSE English Language and English Literature: AQA Specification A (examinations summer 2016)
    • GCSE English Language (8700) and English Literature (8702) First teaching September 2015, examinations from June 2017
    • AS English Literature OCR English Literature (H072 / H472) first teaching September 2015, examinations from June 2016
    • A2 English Literature AQA Specification A (examinations summer 2016)

A love of literature is fostered in English lessons across the age range, with a diverse selection of literary texts from different generic traditions and historical periods studied by all year groups. Students attain a secure grounding in the literary canon while developing into critical thinkers who are able to analyse and discuss literary texts in thoughtful, sophisticated ways.

English Language teaching encourages the analysis and discussion of non-fiction texts and develops students’ ability to write in different styles for different purposes. English Language lessons also stress the importance of accurate spelling and grammar.

GCSEs from September 2015

Important changes have been made to the GCSE English curriculum for teaching from September 2015. These changes will affect students entering Year 10. The English department has produced a diverse range of resources to ensure that preparation for the revised GCSEs in English Language and English Literature is as informative and enjoyable as possible. Detailed information about the new GCSEs can be found on the English Firefly pages and on the AQA website.


Students are welcome to attend the Creative Writing Club, which provides opportunities to experiment with writing in different genres, and to enter writing competitions such as the Foyle Young Poets of the Year competition.

Visiting lecturers and published writers also come to the school, and students benefit from creative writing workshops and question and answer sessions with these visitors.

The English book club, Quercus, encourages students to read and discuss a diverse range of texts, from Shakespeare and eighteenth century French texts in translation through to modern poetry, drama and prose.

Students regularly visit the theatre, museums and literary conferences. Shakespeare is a recurring favourite; most recently, students have enjoyed trips to the West End to see David Walliams in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and to The Globe to see Othello. A trip to see Hamlet is planned for early 2016.

 GCSE and A Level revision classes also run after school.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a stand-alone qualification that helps students develop broader study skills, offering a route into further and higher education and employment. The department is keen to encourage gifted students from Year 7 upwards to undertake extended projects in aspects of language and literature in which they have a particular interest. To this end, as of the Michaelmas term 2015, Ms Wilks will be running a weekly EPQ club after school, open to any students considering completing an Extended Project.

Departmental Achievements

In 2015, 83% of students achieved A*-B grades at GCSE English Language and 90% achieved A*-B grades in GCSE English Literature. 67% of students achieved A*-B grades in A Level English Literature.

Five boys Year 9 are actively taking part in ‘The Author’s Apprentice 2015’ - a dedicated, invite-only virtual author-in-residence program designed to develop and deepen students’ love of fiction. The project involves students interactively engaging in a novel’s creation in real-time, as they offer feedback on a novel being written by Stephen Hunt across a period of twelve months.

In 2014, Year 9 students and members of the Creative Writing Club were encouraged to enter a national poetry competition called Poetopia. 17 of our students’ poems were selected for publication, and the students have since had the pleasure of seeing their poetry in print.

Head of Department

Dr S Foster BA PhD (Loughborough) PGCE (Anglia Ruskin)