English, Media and Film Studies

The English Department is based at Penn House, a short distance from the main school. The teaching accommodation is both beautiful and unusual; all rooms are idiosyncratic, whilst Penn House provides a pleasant and inspirational working environment for the staff and students.

The English Department is a team who enjoy sharing diverse enthusiasms and lively exchanges about the art of good teaching and effective learning. Our approach to teaching and learning is built on mutual respect and preparedness to learn from each other. We recognise the role we have as teachers and as members of the team in sustaining high expectations and success. We seek to provide equal access to a relevant and wide-ranging curriculum whilst recognising that students have differing potentials. We seek to provide an enriched curriculum for all our students.

Teaching and Learning


All English teaching in Years 7 and 8 is in mixed ability groups. The curriculum is based around units which develop skills and understanding required for the GCSE courses.

In Years 10 & 11 there is one ‘top set” and three parallel groups of mixed ability. All mixed groups follow the same exam board but the top set will be given more challenges, difficult texts and the teacher will have higher expectations for their eventual attainment.

‘A’ level
We have groups studying English Literature, English Language, Film Studies. Courses within the Faculty are consistently popular with the students and the results reflect the interest the students take in these.


The English KS3 curriculum has been written collaboratively, monitored and revised by the teaching team over the last years. The current scheme of work consists of a variety of units in each year with the aim of providing continuity and progression with a focus on a number of different text types. The Department regularly reviews and rewrites the KS3 curriculum in the light of the changes to GCSE and the needs of the students.

All students complete core assessments in Reading and Writing for each unit and their achievements are stored centrally for analysis of underachievement, re-grouping students etc.

A range of opportunities for Gifted and Talented students are available throughout the years and all students are involved in a number of enrichment events, both in school and provided by other organisations.

English KS3

Year 7

In Year 7 students study; Innocence and Experience; Caught in Conflict; Private Lives and Public Faces.

Year 8

In Year 8 students cover the following topic areas; A sense of Place; Visions of the Future; Society

Year 9

In Year 9 students follow the topics below;
1. Representation in the Media
2. Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet

3. Non-Fiction
4. C19th fiction, poetry and non-fiction, based on The Withered Arm

5 and 6. GCSE preparation – The American Dream unit. This unit looks at a core piece of American literature and the non-fiction topic of the civil rights movement in America during the C20th.

English Language and English Literature GCSEs

The KS4 curriculum is dictated by the Eduqas exam board whose syllabus we follow for English Language, English Literature and Media Studies.

Year 10

Terms 1 and 2
Development of skills required for the end of course examinations in Reading, Writing and Literature.

Literature: reading and initial notes on the set Drama Text. Examination based assessment.

Term 3

Literature: Poetry Anthology – poems with the themes of nature/childhood and love. Examination based assessment.

Language: non-fiction reading and writing skills.

Term 4:

Literature: Poetry Anthology – poems with the themes of nature/childhood and love continued.

Language: creative writing. Examination based assessment.

Term 4 or 5
Speaking and Listening presentation assessment and recording.

Term 5
Literature: Unseen poetry analysis.

Literature: reading and initial notes on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (C19th prose). Examination based assessment.

Language: Fiction Reading for Meaning. Examination based assessment.

Examination: English Language component 1.

Term 6

Literature: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to complete.

Language: skills development from examination paper.

Year 11

Terms 1 and 2
Literature: reading and notes on set text, Macbeth. Examination based assessment.

Literature: Anthology – poems on theme of death and war. Examination based assessment.

Term 3
Examination:  English Language Component 2

Language: non-fiction reading and writing skills

Term 4

Revision of Literature texts  and Language persuasive techniques. Examination based assessments.

Term 5
Examination preparation for English Language, and English Literature set texts.

Term 6

Examination preparation for English Language.

Sixth Form

In the Sixth Form, Film Studies, English Literature and English Language A levels follow the WJEC syllabi.

The Department is keen to provide courses which are of interest and relevance to the students. Units are frequently revised, new texts selected and interesting resources created to engage the students.

A range of opportunities for Gifted and Talented students are available throughout the years and all students are involved in a number of enrichment events, both in school and provided by other organisations.

GCSE Media and A level Film Studies

Students follow the WJEC/Eduqas Film Studies A level specification which involves both practical and theoretical units. The Media Studies GCSE establishes a good basis for students to develop at A level but it is quite easy for students to take up the A level without prior knowledge. Practical work develops and evolves through the use of Photoshop and the manipulation of images, to Adobe Premier Film Editing. Script writing is an option at A level.


Wondering how to help your child develop their English skills at home?

Well, look no further…

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG)

These sites contain a range of interactive resources suitable for students of all ages and abilities:


Reading Spelling and Vocab Booklet

Year 7 Spelling Programme

Year 8 Spelling Programme


Complex Sentences Revision Activit Sheet


In addition, students should be reading regularly at home – we recommend 20-30 minutes per night.

International research suggests that there is a positive relationship between reading frequency, reading enjoyment and attainment. In fact, reading enjoyment has been reported as more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status. Most importantly, it’s fun and provides a break from the smart phone!

If you’re struggling for inspiration, why not take a look at our Key Stage 3 and 4 Recommended Reading Lists:

KS3 Reading List

KS4 Reading List

Supporting Young Readers