The English curriculum at TWGGS is ambitious and adaptive, drawing upon pupils’ diverse prior knowledge of literature and language, as well as their unique experiences of the world around them. The department is proud of its tradition of high academic expectations embedded within a warm, supportive environment, enabling us to foster a love of reading, writing, speaking, listening, creativity, criticality, and inquisitiveness in every pupil.

Within English lessons throughout the key stages, as well as through our varied programme of extracurricular opportunities, the department aims to:

  • Introduce pupils to a diverse selection of challenging and thought-provoking poems, novels, plays, stories, and non-fiction texts.

  • Develop pupils’ appreciation of the power of literature and the ways that texts exist in dialogue with each other as part of a rich and varied cultural tapestry.

  • Provide pupils with regular and varied opportunities to activate their own imaginations – in their reading, writing and spoken language.

  • Develop pupils’ intellectual curiosity and critical thinking skills by encouraging them to ask and evaluate lots of diverse questions.

  • Draw upon and nurture pupils’ individuality, sense of community, morality and spirituality by engaging them in discussions about fundamental issues that inform their understanding of the world around them and their own place within it. 

  • Encourage pupils to express their own ideas, discussing and extending upon them with the support of peers and teachers. 

  • Support pupils in building upon their own metacognitive personal learning and thinking skills of resilience, responsibility, resourcefulness, reasoning, respectfulness, collaboration, and creativity.

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


Term 1

'All About Me': Introduction to English studies and autobiographical writing

Term 2

  • Novel Study: the importance of stories

Term 3

Introduction to Lyrical and Narrative Poetry: Romanticism and the ballad form

Term 4 

  • Exam preparation
  • Non-fiction writing: persuasive leaflets, speeches and pitches

Term 5

Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream - multimedia approach

Term 6

Short Story or Novel Study: focus on the use of narrative perspective

Year 8


Language, Protest and Social Change

Term 1

Protest Poetry: voices from the margins

Term 2

Novel Study: challenging the status quo

Term 3

Exploring the Gothic Genre: selection drawn from novel extracts, short stories, poetry, play scripts

Term 4 

  • Exam preparation
  • Non-fiction study

Term 5

Shakespeare: project and Shakespeare Festival

Term 6

Shakespeare Festival

Year 9

The Human Condition

Term 1

Contemporary Short Stories: exploring Iridescent Adolescent an creative writing

Term 2

  • Contemporary Poetry: Being Human (incorporating themes of growing up, family relationships and sense of selfhood)
  • Modern Drama Study: feeding into the Drama Festival

Term 3

  • Drama Festival
  • Non-Ficion Study: articles, speeches and supplementary texts

Term 4 

Macbeth: Full text study

Term 5

  • Completion of Macbeth
  • Exam Preparation
  • Modern Novel Study, e.g. Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, Purple Hibiscus

Term 6

Modern Novel Study - World Literature: e.g. Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, Purple Hibiscus


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

Edexcel 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.

Component 1


2 hours and 15 minutes written exam

Open book - clean copies of the drama texts can be taken into the examination

60 marks

30% of A Level

Candidates study:

  • one Shakespeare play and one other drama from either tragedy or comedy - both texts may be selected from one or both of these categories.
  • critical essays related to their selected Shakespeare play. 

Section A: Shakespeare

One question from a choice of two on their studied text, incorporating ideas from wider critical reading.

Section B: Other Drama

One essay question from a choice of two.

Component 2


1 hour and 15 minutes written exam

Open book

40 marks

20% of A Level

Study of two prose texts from a chosen theme. At least one of the prose texts must be pre-1900.

Component 3


2 hours and 15 minutes written exam

Open book

60 marks

30% of A Level

Study of poetric form, meaning and language, a selection of post-2000 specified poetry and a specified range of poetry from either a literary period (either pre- or post-1900) or a named poet from within a literary period. 

Two sections: one question from a choice of two, comparing an unseen poem with a named poem from their studied contemporary text and one question from a choice of two on their studied movement/poet.

Section A: Post 2000 Specified Poetry

One comparative essay question on an unseen modern poem written post-2000 and one named poem from the studied contemporary text.

Section B: Specified Poetry Pre- or Post-1900

One essay question.  

Non-Examination Assessment

20% of A Level

Overview of content

Free choice of two texts to study.

Chosen texts:

● must be different from those studied in Components 1, 2 and 3

● must be complete texts and may be linked by theme, movement, author or period

● may be selected from poetry, drama, prose or literary non-fiction

Overview of assessment 

One assignment:

● one extended comparative essay referring to two texts

● advisory total word count is 2500–3000 words

● total of 60 marks available

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