Through the study of English we seek to inspire and motivate our students – helping them to become life-long learners and to understand that reading, writing and spoken language are universal skills that will be used throughout their lives. We aim to enable our students at WGSA to develop empathy, demonstrate tolerance, and consider other perspectives so they can better understand themselves and the world in which they live. ​

“Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” Malala Yousafzai 

Key Stage Three Overview

Course Description 

During Key Stage Three students encounter a wide variety of texts from non-fiction texts to well-known fiction in the form of poetry, prose and drama. At WGSA we aim to develop a culture of reading for pleasure and students regularly read in lesson. ​

Throughout Key Stage Three students will encounter different styles and purposes for writing; our emphasis is always on developing accuracy and an awareness of audience. Punctuation and grammar skills are taught systematically, highlighted regularly, and woven into all aspects of English lessons. Regular and well-planned support allows for small group and 1:1 literacy catch-up class to provide further support for those who need it. ​

Spoken language skills are integral to students learning in English and form part of every lesson through whole class, group and paired discussions, drama work and formal presentations. At WGA we aim to build on our students’ confidence, allowing them to leave us able to speak fluently and articulately, whilst also listening and responding to their peers. ​

In Year 7, students study three termly units that cover a range of reading and writing skills. In the autumn term, students start by studying Myths and Legends, a unit designed to build on their foundations of knowledge of cultural capital and skills in English. Following this students then move on to study the History of Language in the spring term, as part of this study students looks at the evolution of language, writing skills, thematic issues and wider literary texts. Alongside this unit in the spring term, students also study the world of activism, studying a range of influential and important speeches and building their own ideas and perspectives. Finally, in summer, students begin to explore the world of Shakespeare before studying Midsummer Night’s Dream. ​

In Year 8, in the autumn term, students delve into the world of the Gothic, exploring the conventions of the genre through a range of extracts across the ages. In the spring term students develop their understanding and appreciation of literary texts and cultural capital through the Art of Rhetoric. Students spend the summer term studying Journeys, along with a range of texts linked thematically around the theme of travel and identity. ​

In Year 9, students develop and hone the skills needed to be successful English GCSE candidates. In the autumn term, students focus on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, encouraging students to empathise and understand how love and relationships have developed across the ages and spanning Literature. Students then move on to looking at the Human Condition and the study of dystopian literature, reading The Hunger Games. The summer term acts as a transition between year 9 and 10 and focuses on the discovery of personal voice through a range of relevant poetry focused on the theme of conflict, culminating in a GCSE style piece of non-fiction writing and spoken language presentation.​


Students’ work is continuously formatively assessed throughout the term, within the English department this can take many guises: feed up, WAGOLLS (What a Good One Looks Like), code marking, peer and self-assessment. Summative assessments are conducted termly and focus on a range of skills learnt during the term.  ​

Key Stage Four Overview

English unlocks success in all subjects and aspects of life. In the final two years of our students’ English journey we aim to empower our students, through confident literacy skills, to have options, opportunities and the ability to articulate themselves with clarity and confidence in an ever changing landscape. ​

“A word after a word after a word is power.” Margaret Atwood 

Course Description 

The courses are taught discretely and result in two GCSEs at the end of Year 11. ​

In Year 10, students will study both English Language and English Literature. Students will begin with their study of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, then on to Macbeth by William Shakespeare whilst revisiting, consolidating and extending their previous study of a range of poetry. Through careful interleaving and retrieval practice students are taught how to revisit and retain knowledge across the study of their English Language and Literature course. Alongside their study The English Literature set texts include: Macbeth, A Christmas Carol, An Inspector Calls and Power and Conflict poetry (Edexcel).  ​

In Year 11, students study An Inspector Calls as part of their modern text component of their English Literature exam in the autumn term, whilst continuing to revisit their previous Literature texts and Language skills. Towards the end of the autumn term students begin preparing and revising for their mock examinations. ​

Most colleges, universities and employers regard English Language and English Literature as the most important qualifications that you can have.  For this reason, it is important for students to get the best result they can in these subject areas.  Students will want at least a Grade 5 (current C grade) in English Language and English Literature if you intend to study at university and many further education establishments will ask you to achieve five grades at Grade 5 and above to include English Language and/or Literature and Maths before you can access their courses.  Many employers now regard these as essential qualifications too.​

These courses lead perfectly onto A-Level English Language and A-Level English Literature or other creative and analytical subjects, such as History, Media Studies and Theatre Studies. The courses can therefore provide a strong foundation for careers in journalism, teaching and the legal profession as well as many others.

​In Years 10 and 11 we follow the Eduqas GCSE English Language course and the Edexcel GCSE English Literature course.:

How do we encourage students to succeed in English at WGSA?

In English, adaptive teaching is used to support students with gaps in their knowledge. A range of sentence starters are provided to help students develop their written responses to all aspects of the English curriculum. Live marking is another adaptive tool that supports students and gives them confidence alongside the use of modelling through ‘I Do’, ‘We Do’ and ‘You Do’ so all students understand the component needed to meet the success criteria of the lesson.