In English lessons at TWGGS, we aim to challenge, enthuse and extend pupils in their study of English across a range of texts. We provide a rich, diverse learning experience, encouraging pupils to participate in discussion, dialogue and debate in lessons. Across all Key Stages, pupils engage in a wealth of stimulating, stretching activities that develop their confidence, communication skills and creativity, while developing accuracy and analytical flair in their written work. Above all, we seek to generate a love of English language and its accompanying literature across a range of genres.

Key Stage 3 English

Over the course of each year in Key Stage 3, pupils read a Shakespeare play, a novel, a modern play, a selection of poetry, short stories and a variety of media and non-fiction texts, all chosen to be interesting and relevant to our pupils.  Active, challenging activities, from debating to drama, ensure there is an ongoing focus on developing Speaking and Listening skills throughout the Key Stage.

Year 7

Literacy Skills - Spelling; simple, compound and complex sentences; capital letters; an ambitious range of punctuation; paragraphing.

Autobiographical Writing - Pupils study a range of autobiographical texts and devices and produce their own.

Creative Writing - Pupils are taught to produce engaging, entertaining and convincing fiction texts, using a range of techniques such as character voice and atmosphere.

Poetry - Pupils explore a wide range of poems, learning about poetic forms and devices.

Analytical Essay - A range of texts is available to study, including ‘King of Shadows’, ‘Holes’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’. Pupils will develop the ability to explore the writer’s craft in detail in preparation for writing a formal essay.

Writing to Inform and Explain or Describe and Persuade - A range of tasks may be completed, including instruction leaflets and letters.

Year 8

Literacy Skills - Spelling; simple, compound and complex sentences; capital letters; an ambitious range of punctuation; paragraphing.

Creative Writing - Pupils will develop their confidence in writing within a range of styles and genres.

Poetry - Pupils will embark upon a focussed study of a specific poetic form, such as ballads and sonnets.

Analytical Essay - A range of challenging texts is available to study, including ‘Coram Boy’, ‘A Wizard of Earthsea’ and ‘Across the Nightingale Floor’. Pupils will further develop their close reading skills and sharpen their ability to analyse texts in respect of form and structure

Shakespeare Festival - An opportunity for each class to rise to the challenge of staging their own interpretation of contrasting scenes from Shakespeare’s key plays.

Shakespeare Research Project - Individual research-based project work, exploring Shakespeare’s work, life and times, with an emphasis on independent research skills and creative presentation.

Writing to Inform and Explain or Describe and Persuade - Pupils are introduced to various rhetorical devices and registers, developing a sense of audience, purpose and perspective.

Year 9

Creative Writing - Genre specific fiction writing tasks, with an emphasis on the deliberate use of narrative devices in crafting writing to appeal to the reader.

Poetry - Advanced study of more complex poetry forms, such as Robert Browning’s dramatic monologues and contemporary performance poetry.

Analytical Essay - Deeper analysis of literary texts across the major genres, often incorporating comparative study in preparation for the demands of GCSE.

Shakespeare Study - In-depth investigation of a major play, through a range of performance tasks and textual analysis.

Writing to Inform and Explain or Describe and Persuade - Pupils are encouraged to employ increasingly sophisticated rhetorical devices and registers, developing a clear awareness of audience, purpose and perspective

GCSE English and English Literature

AQA specification for GCSE English Language AQA specification for GCSE English Literature Study of English Language and Literature in Years 10 and 11 allows our pupils to build on the firm foundation that has been laid in the earlier years. All pupils study for two GCSEs, following the AQA specification. For English Language, pupils develop skills in creative writing, as well as developing their comprehension of both fiction and non-fiction texts. The English Literature GCSE offers pupils the opportunity to study both a Shakespeare play and a 19th Century novel in detail. Study of classic texts is complemented by work on a modern drama and a selection of poetry from the AQA anthology.

All assessment is through external examinations at the end of the two-year course. The examinations are closed book, which means that no copies of studied texts will be available during the examination.


GCSE English Literature

There are two English Literature exam papers, both taken at the end of Year 11.

Paper 1

Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel

1 hour 45 minutes

64 marks

40% of GCSE


Section A: Shakespeare

Candidates answer one question on the Shakespeare play they have been studying.


Section B: The 19th century novel

Candidates answer one question on the 19th century novel they have been studying.


Paper 2

Modern Texts and Poetry

2 hours 15 minutes

96 marks

60% of GCSE


Section A: Modern text

Pupils answer one question from a choice of two on ‘An Inspector Calls’.


Section B: Poetry

Pupils answer one question, comparing a named poem printed on the paper with one other poem from the section of the AQA anthology that they will have studied.


Section C: Unseen poetry

Pupils answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second previously unseen poem.


GCSE English Language

There are two English Language exam papers, both taken at the end of Year 11. All texts used in the examinations will be unseen, meaning that pupils are taught the skills needed to analyse texts, rather than the texts themselves.


Paper 1

Explorations in creative reading and writing

1 hour 45 minutes

80 marks

50% of GCSE

Section A: Reading (40 marks, 25%)

This will be based on one literature fiction text and will test comprehension skills. Pupils will answer 4 questions1 multiple choice (4 marks), 2 longer form analytical questions (8 marks) and 1 extended question (20 marks) about the text.

Section B: Writing (40 marks, 25%)

Pupils will be asked to write an original piece of either descriptive or narrative writing. 24 marks for content and 16 for accuracy and sentence structure.

Paper 2

Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives

1 hour 45 minutes

80 marks

50% of GCSE

Section A: Reading (40 marks 25%)

This will be based on one non-fiction text (eg a news article) and one literary non-fiction text (eg an extract from an autobiography) that are linked by theme or subject. Pupils will answer 4 questions: 1 short question (4 marks), 2 longer questions (8 marks + 12 marks) and 1 extended question (16 marks). The extended question will require pupils to compare the two texts.

Section B: Writing (40 marks 25%)

Pupils will be asked to write an original piece that presents a viewpoint (discuss, argue or persuade). There will be 24 marks for content and 16 for technical accuracy.

A Level English Literature

AQA specification for A Level English Literature "You develop the insight of an artist, the analytical precision of a scientist and the persuasiveness of a lawyer."

English Literature builds on the content of GCSE by broadening the range of texts studied and developing the skills appropriate to literary study. Pupils have the opportunity to read a variety of styles including established classics and modern literature. As well as fostering a love of literature and language, the A Level English course is a flexible and adaptable subject that opens up a wide range of career choices. Pupils are encouraged to analyse and discuss; give presentations; read widely; pursue their own independent research and produce clearly structured and well-organised pieces of writing. In the first year, pupils will focus on the theme of ‘Love through the ages’. In the second year they will explore ‘Literature from 1945 to the present day’.

The qualification is accepted by a variety of degree courses. Contrary to popular belief, teaching is not the main occupation of English graduates. Many go into law, management, research and consultancy, the civil service, the media, politics as well as publishing, journalism and the creative industries.

A wide range of teaching styles is used at A Level. Pupils are expected to take responsibility for their learning and are given guidance in organising their private study time and managing their workload effectively. Staff offer a rigorous but supportive learning environment, especially with regard to producing written responses. Pupils are taught to analyse texts critically in terms of genre, context and the writer’s craft. They are encouraged to make comparisons between texts and to develop their own independent opinions and judgements. Pupils of English possess skills in written and spoken communication, working independently and thinking critically, which are skills highly valued by universities and employers.

Paper 1


Love through the ages

3 hour written exam

Open book in Section C only

75 marks

40% of A Level


Section A: Shakespeare

One passage-based question with linked essay (25 marks)

Section B: Unseen poetry

Compulsory essay question on two unseen poems (25 marks)

Section C

Comparing texts: one essay question linking two texts (25 marks)

Paper 2


Texts in shared context

2 hours 30 minutes written exam

Open book

75 marks

40% of A level

Study of three texts: one prose, one poetry, and one drama, of which one must be written post-2000 Exam will include an unseen extract.

Modern times: literature from 1945 to the present day

In this section of the course, indicative set texts for close study are: Michael Frayn’s Spies (post-2000 prose); Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire (drama); Sylvia Plath’s Ariel (poetry).


Section A: Set texts

One essay question on set text (25 marks)

Section B: Contextual linking

One compulsory question on an unseen extract (25 marks)

One essay question linking two texts (25 marks)

Non-exam assessment

Independent critical study: texts across time

One extended essay (2500 words) and a bibliography

50 marks

20% of A level

Assessed by teachers and moderated by AQA

In this section of the course, pupils craft their own comparative response to two texts on a theme of their choice. The independent focus of the task encourages wider reading and research in the development of an extended essay (2500 words).

Two texts will be taught in preparation for the NEA task, enabling pupils to extend their skills in literary analysis, before selecting at least ONE comparative text of their own. Indicative taught texts here include: Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Arthur Miller’s The View from the Bridge, George Eliot’s Silas Marner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. The class teachers will provide constructive support and advice throughout the production of the NEA extended essay.

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