Head of Department:  Ms E. Doorly

Our passionate and dedicated English Department equip our students with a range of reading, writing, speaking and listening skills whilst encouraging a love of literature and an appreciation of the power of language.

We provide a high quality education in English that teaches all students to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas to others, and ensures others can communicate with our students through their developed reading and listening skills.

Through reading in particular students have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. We have a well maintained library which provides a supportive learning environment and features a rich variety of books for all ages, as well as a constant flow of new books! Students have some lesson time designated to the library, and are encouraged to use the library in their free time before and after school, as well as during break times. The library provides a flexible place for learning where project work, individual study and group work can take place. It also regularly hosts themed events to celebrate literary works and inspire our young readers and writers. Our librarian is always on hand to help students discover their next read, and students can also explore the library’s range of resources and themed competitions through our online Book Club Hub.

The English Department also provides multiple extra-curricular opportunities, educational trips and supplementary activities. Our Debate Club is particularly popular with students and is supported by some of our Y12 students. Students are also welcome to join Poetry Club (in the first term), various reading clubs and competitions, and further study classes. Our English Department endeavours to heighten student’s learning by arranging relevant trips across all year groups, and introducing workshops and other engaging activities which enable students to develop a better understanding of a topic.

Key Stage 3

In line with the national curriculum, all year 7 and 8 students at St Aloysius’ College study English to promote high standards of language and literacy.  We do this by equipping students with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. During KS3 students will study both modern and pre-twentieth century texts, reading and analysing; a novel, non-fiction texts, poetry, drama, a media piece and Shakespeare. All students will participate in a range of speaking and listening activities to include individual, paired and group work in order to develop a variety of fundamental skills.

To improve literacy one English lesson per week focuses on reading and spelling skills as well as higher order thinking. Years 7, 8 and 9 have a spelling booklet used to conduct weekly spelling tests.  These tests form part of KS3 homework as students are expected to prepare for their weekly tests.  

In year 7, students will initially cover non-fiction and media, and will be introduced to 19th Century texts. Novel focuses will include dystopian stories, horror, action and adventure to develop student’s spelling, punctuation, grammar and creative writing. Year 7 students will also experience a comprehensive introduction to Shakespeare, focusing on context, genre, sonnets and plays whilst developing research skills.

Year 8 students will further build upon these skills with the aim of developing essay and exam skills which form a solid foundation to successfully undertake their GCSE course. Students will focus on learning reading skills, exam response structures, analysis and comprehension, and descriptive, creative and persuasive writing skills. The year will encompass a range of engaging texts; novels (Heroes, Unstoppable, The Boy on the Porch), poetry from other cultures (including pre 19th Century poems), Diverse Shorts (extracts from texts from other cultures) and Shakespeare (Macbeth).

In year 9 students will begin to transition from KS3 to 4 – this is a process that bridges the gap between the skills and knowledge required from KS3 to 4.  They will begin to analyse, explore and evaluate in greater detail covering creative writing skills, analysis of short stories, developing their rhetorical skills by studying and writing speeches, developing their knowledge of the essential part Literature has to play in preserving historical events by studying small Island, before transitioning to begin studying GCSE texts.  This includes Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Key Stage 4

All students at St Aloysius’ College undertake a GCSE English Language and a GCSE English Literature, the teaching for which takes place during years 9 (second half of the year), 10 and 11. Both subjects are assessed and examined by AQA.

The English Language GCSE is designed to inspire and motivate students, providing appropriate stretch and challenge whilst ensuring that the assessment and texts are accessible to all students. It enables students to develop the skills they need to read, understand and analyse a wide range of different texts.

The English Literature specification from AQA is designed to inspire, challenge and motivate every student, regardless of ability level. A range of texts is included to cater to the needs of all students, these texts deal with a range of issues relevant to our students. Students will benefit from the transferable skills with English Literature GCSE, including; analysis, exploration, synthesis, and approaching texts from a range of perspectives.

In year 10 students will further their in-depth study of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Students will learn how to approach analysis of unseen poetry, whilst further developing their evaluations of the AQA Poetry Anthology and analysing Dennis Kelly’s play DNA. A variety of language skills will be covered to enable students to write engaging creative, persuasive or descriptive content that effectively argues their points.

Year 11 is a crucial year for ensuring our students achieve their potential. Throughout the year students will comprehensively prepare for their GSCE English exams, revisiting all topics covered in years 9 and 10, and cementing knowledge and skills ready to effectively apply during their exams.

For a more detailed explanation of the GCSE courses and assessment formats please click see attachments below:

GCSE English language                                        GCSE English literature

For a more detailed breakdown of the curriculum please see the Curriculum Overview and more details can also be found in the Curriculum Booklet.