English, Media and Film Studies

The English Department is mainly 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 broad ability groups. The curriculum is based around units which develop skills and understanding required for the GCSE courses, whilst being discrete units of work suited to the age group.

In Years 10 & 11 there are four ‘top sets’ and four parallel groups of mixed ability. All groups are prepared for the same exam board but the top sets 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 and Film Studies. Courses within the Learning Area 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 three 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 needs of the students and the changing demands of the GCSEs.

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, prioritising those needing support or stretch.

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 these topics; Innocence and Experience; Caught in Conflict; Private Lives and Public Faces.

Year 8

In Year 8 students study these topics; A sense of Place; Visions of the Future; Society

Year 9

In Year 9 students study these topics; Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet, War Poetry, C19th fiction, poetry and non-fiction, based on The Withered Arm, non-fiction reading and writing.

In Terms 5 and 6 students are re-organised into potential GCSE groups and study 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 and Sixth Form

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

Year 10

We study these literature texts, with a view to revising them in Year 11;

Drama – either Blood Brothers OR An Inspector Calls

Eduqas Poetry Anthology – selected poems

C19 Prose text – Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde OR A Christmas Carol

Students also work on the reading and writing skills needed for English Language – such as;

Creative Writing – a range of formats and styles

Transactional writing – letters, articles, reviews, reports, speeches

Reading of fiction and non-fiction, with a focus on the different requirements for the examination comprehension questions.

Speaking and Listening – all students complete their presentation for this separate qualification.

Year 11

We study these literature texts;


Eduqas Poetry Anthology – the remaining poems

Unseen Poetry

We will revise all texts studied in Year 10.

For English Language we prepare students for the two examinations, covering both reading and writing requirements.  Regular in-class and mock examinations prepare students for working in the time available in real exams.

Sixth Form

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