English Literature

The English Department is part of a faculty structure that includes Drama and Psychology (PETs) and links are strong with these departments – in past years the Faculty has worked together on Enrichment Days which have seen students learn and perform a Shakespeare play in a day, as well as trips to theatres such as the Globe.

Key Stage 3: content

The study of English Literature at Key Stage 3 covers a range of challenging texts encompassing drama, poetry and novels, including gothic literature, Middle English poetry, texts by Shakespeare, Tennyson and Chaucer, and the novels Of Mice and Men, The Lord of the Flies, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Animal Farm – to name but a few. In these years students learn a range of critical reading styles, developing the skills of close reading and analysing writers’ use of form, language and structure. There is also a focus on placing texts within their social, political, historical and literary contexts. Students are encouraged to produce their own creative responses to their studies and to use drama and film to explore texts in new and engaging ways.

Key Stage 4: GCSE English Literature

At GCSE, students are entered for AQA GCSE in English Literature and English Language.  Both English Literature and English Language courses are linear – examinations are taken at the end of the two-year course. There is no coursework. Texts studied for the Literature exam currently include Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice, Much Ado About Nothing, An Inspector Calls and an anthology of poetry.

Key Stage 5

In the Sixth Form, students take English at A Level.

A Level students follow the AQA syllabus, ‘Love through the Ages’ in their first year.  In their second year of the A Level, students prepare a Non Examination Assessment – their coursework, which is an independent piece of work supported through initial structured teaching. Studied texts include Jane Eyre, Othello, The Handmaid’s Tale and poetry by a range of writers including John Keats, Thomas Hardy and Carol Ann Duffy.


The English Department provide and oversee a wide variety of extra-curricular ‘literary’ activities, from debating, theatre visits, study days, creative writing societies and Slam Poetry clubs to the Sixth Form Close Reading group.