English lessons at St. Peter’s are active and interesting. Pupils extend their writing, speaking and listening skills and are encouraged to develop a love of reading. They are actively involved in their own learning through lessons which incorporate a wide range of strategies and resources.  ICT, Drama and Film are all popular approaches used to encourage the best in teaching and learning. All rooms are equipped with an interactive whiteboard and a visualiser.

English at Key Stage 3 is delivered through an integrated programme of reading, writing and speaking and listening activities. All pupils follow the same core programme with activities differentiated in order to cater for the full range of abilities. In Years 7 & 8 pupils are timetabled for three 50 minute periods of English per week. In Years 9 & 10 pupil have four periods a week. In Year 11 pupils have five periods a week.

Pupils are placed into mixed-ability sets on arrival in Year 7. Following the completion of baseline tasks and skills tests, teachers can then tailor their delivery of the curriculum to individual needs whilst following the Curriculum Map for Year 7. Pupils' work is frequently monitored and their progress reviewed at timely intervals during each year to inform further planning and inform any support strategies.

At Key Stage 3 Pupils work through a series of units during which they focuses on the development, enhancement and assessment of key skills in reading, writing, literature and spoken language. They are involved in peer assessment and self-evaluation activities in order to clarify their understanding of how to progress towards and move beyond their target levels in each strand of the subject. At this stage pupils are introduced to the assessment objectives for each strand of the subject in line with the new specification GCSE syllabus and examinations.

Much of the English Language work covered is delivered through the exploration of literature; covering texts from pre and post 1914 and a wide range of genres, with opportunities to analyse prose texts, poetry and drama.

Pupils will also receive a rigorous and uniform delivery of grammar alongside a stronger focus on independent learning in order to prepare pupils for the demands of the new linear exam-based qualification. Reading for pleasure is encouraged via our ‘Magic 3’ reading programme during which pupils are encouraged to select their own reading material and engage in the production of highly creative responses to the texts covered.

The vast majority of our pupils are entered for both English Language and English Literature GCSE following the AQA Examination Board.  Both qualifications culminate in two challenging examination papers at the end of the courses.

A recent move to linear exams has been thoroughly embedded into the spiral curriculum in order to extend pupils ‘knowledge and understanding of the assessment requirements. Pupils enjoy the integration of Literature study with Language and we feel the benefits of this approach are reflected in the consistently high level of achievement in terms of A* - C grades. GCSE English language and English literature results are consistently well above the national average.

The English Department offers a variety of activities throughout the year across both Key Stages. Pupils in all years are offered the opportunity to participate in Theatre in Education days, which take place in school. Theatre visits to support the key texts covered in school and to provide the valuable experience of engaging with live theatre outside the curriculum are regularly embraced. The Department also offers activities to celebrate national events such as World Book Day and provides pupils with opportunities to work with visiting writers and poets each school year. The benefits of enhancing the curriculum through workshops, theatre visits and literacy celebration days e.g. National Poetry Day are clear to see. Pupils are also offered opportunities to develop their public speaking skills and participate in regional and national competitions, areas in which we have experienced regular success. The pupils’ enthusiasm for these activities enriches their experience of the subject as a whole and creates a learning environment in which excellence can thrive.

Head of Department: Mr S McGuire

English - Curriculum Maps & Summative Assessments

Link to specifications

Pupils follow:  the AQA English Language Syllabus (8700).

This course covers:

  • Paper 1 Explorations in creative reading and writing 1 hr 45 mins
  • Paper 2 Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives 1 hr 45 mins

More information can be found here - language-8700   


Pupils follow: the AQA English Literature Syllabus (8702).

This course covers:

  • Paper 1 Shakespeare and the 19th century novel 1 hr 45 mins
  • Paper 2 Modern texts and poetry 2 hrs 15 mins

More information can be found here - literature-8702


A number of GCSE English Language revision websites still have content that is relevant from the old GCSE’s.  Whilst some of these will cover the same skills, the questions will not be worded in the same way or have the same focus. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that pupils check the exact requirements of the Syllabus reference number and the examination board.


Some useful sites are:

Gcsepod - Login via username and password provided in school.

Revision/Study Guides


AQA GCSE Language   9781782943693

        & online support  9781782944140

AQA Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar for Grade 9-1 GCSE Study Guide  978847628916

AQA Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar for Grade 9-1 GCSE Study Guide Complete Study & Practice (with online edition)             978847621474



AQA Macbeth 9781841461168

AQA A Christmas Carol 9781782943099

AQA An Inspector Calls 9781841461151

AQA Blood Brothers 9781782943112

AQA Poetry Love & Relationships 976782943624

AQA Unseen Poetry 9781782943648

Where does it lead?

The study of English, both Language and Literature, can lead pupils into fulfilling and challenging careers in areas such as education, journalism, digital copywriter, editorial assistant, lexicographer and writing. It is also useful in the following areas: advertising, administration, and public relations to name a few.

The study of English at degree level does not limit career opportunities to those listed above as many employers value the academic skills demonstrated by successful completion of study in this area.

See your careers advisor for further information.

What our parents and pupils say.

Comments taken from English Department Review November 2016

  • Parents feel that the education and offer their children receive from the English department is outstanding.
  • All the parents felt that the relationships that the teachers develop are really positive. Teachers are approachable and pupils are comfortable asking for help.
  • Pupils pf all abilities, really enjoy the subject.
  • Pupils are given confidence in English to develop their subject skills and life skills
  • Standards in term of expectations and work produced are high.
  • The department offers appropriate differentiation and stretch and challenge.
  • Parents and pupils are enthusiastic and appreciative of extra curricular opportunities such as public speaking competitions.

Updated: Jan 2020