Intent and Aims to Learning for English

A well-developed and all-round knowledge and understanding of English is key to being able to access the whole school curriculum. Students at Sexey’s thrive in English – not only due to the academic progress made in their reading and writing skills but also in the engagement they develop with the world around them.

Author Charlie Higson teaches English classBy studying a range of fiction from different eras as well as non-fiction texts covering a range of topics, each student develops an active interest in English and an understanding of our global society.

Students at Sexey’s enter KS4 with an enjoyment and enthusiasm for the subject as well as being fully prepared for entry to the GCSE curriculum and for further English study.

  • Students develop a deeper understanding of the key skills in both reading and writing ready for Key Stage 4 and beyond
  • Our varied curriculum in English will enable pupils to use their literacy skills to support their work across the whole school curriculum
  • We encourage students to engage with a wide range of literary fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays to develop their engagement with the world around them, both past and present.

Key Stage 3 curriculum plan

Year 7: Pupils build on the skills developed at KS2.

They will study:

  • Transition unit: Fiction and Non-fiction reading and writing.
  • Introduction to Shakespeare
  • Prose
  • Poetry Through the Ages
  • Island Adventures
  • Myths and Legends

Year 8: Pupils develop the skills from Year 7, through the introduction of new texts and genres.

They will study:

  • War and conflict poetry
  • Gothic fiction
  • The Woman in Black
  • Shakespeare
  • Language – Non-fiction
  • Drama

Year 9: Pupils consolidate and master the skills from Year 8, whilst preparing for the demands of the GCSE course.

They will study:

  • A modern text
  • Dystopian fiction
  • Writing to express a viewpoint – speech writing
  • Poetry from around the world
  • Shakespeare
  • Jekyll and Hyde – 19th Century prose


Details of assessment criteria for Key Stage 3 can be found here.

Key Stage 4 curriculum

All pupils follow the AQA GCSE English Language specification (Code 8700) and English Literature specification (Code 8702). All pupils will study two GCSEs: English Language and English Literature. The GCSE specifications for these courses have been in place since September 2015. The courses are assessed through final exams worth 100% of the course, to be taken at the end of the course

In both GCSEs, students will be encouraged to develop their skills in reading and writing, as well as spoken language, helping to improve their expression on the page and in discussion. In English Literature, and the reading elements of English Language, students will learn how to unpick an author’s intention, purpose, language, and structure. In English Language, 50% of marks are attributed to writing and students will be asked to demonstrate what they have learned through reading texts and apply their understanding to their own writing.

English Language course details:

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing
Students will analyse an unseen text from the 20th or 21st century and complete a writing task (descriptive or narrative writing, based on the same theme or topic as the extract).

Paper 2: Writer’s Viewpoints and Perspectives

Students will analyse two non-fiction extracts and complete a writing task where they present their own viewpoint.

Spoken Language Accreditation

GCSE English Language has an endorsed component covering spoken language. This is reported as a separate grade (Pass, Merit, Distinction or Not Classified) and will not contribute to the result of the GCSE English Language qualification. This module is assessed internally, and students will be required to prepare a speech or presentation for this component.

English Literature course details:

In English Literature, students will read and study a range of plays and novels chosen from a list of texts set by the examining board. The choice of text is made by the English Department, and the current texts studied are:

Paper 1: Shakespeare (Macbeth) and the 19th Century novel (A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens).
Paper 2: Modern texts (An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley) and a collection of poems, which will be supplied by the examining board.

Students will also have to write about two unseen poems in their final exam.

When are students assessed?
Assessment is a continuous process within the classroom. With regards to formal assessments, at Key Stage 3, students undertake one formal assessment each half term. This is usually twice a half-term at Key Stage 4.

Examination Board


Spiritual, Moral, Social or Cultural Opportunities

Students are encouraged to extend themselves as individuals both in and out of the classroom. We encourage students to develop their independent reading, writing and speaking skills and explore the world – and different cultures – in an interesting way.

What are the opportunities for all? Reading tower of books

  • Trips to the theatre (including the Globe Theatre, the Sam Wannamaker Playhouse, Poole Lighthouse Theatre to name but a few)
  • Creative Writing Club runs each week – open to all year groups. In 2018 one of our students was shortlisted for the finals of the BBC 500 Words Competition. We have also had finalists in the Year 9 Annual Reading Around the World Passport
  • Year 7 Annual Reading Challenge – Read your height in books!
  • Rotary ‘Youth Speaks’ public speaking competition

Most Able Opportunities/Support

Students are stretched and challenged through the various extra-curricular opportunities, the yearly reading challenges, diverse reading material in classrooms as well as exciting homework projects.

Special Educational Needs and Disability Opportunities/Support

Each student is given the full support needed, whether in the form of differentiated worksheets or extensions tasks. Students are routinely challenged and inspired by the extra-curricular activities.

Staff List

  • Mrs Samantha Grant (Head of Department)
  • Mrs Sarah Carpenter
  • Mrs Sarah Ryrie
  • Mrs Alice Hall
  • Mrs Vicky Wilson

Useful revision website links:



Updated September 2022