English Department


Head of Department: Miss K. Cox

Assistant Head of Department: Miss M Elliott

Mrs A Worley

Mr G Leitheiser

Miss C Vickers


In English, we support students to develop a passion for Language and Literature through the study of texts which differ in genres, eras, themes and levels of complexity. 

We develop students’ reading for pleasure, creativity, articulacy and self-expression. 

We develop functional literacy skills for life. 

We empower students with cultural awareness and experience.

English is at the core of all learning and students will transfer these skills across the curriculum.


Departmental Curriculum

The English curriculum has been carefully mapped to ensure that students are appropriately challenged at all levels.  Students are offered opportunities to engage in a variety of sophisticated topics, thought-provoking texts and developmental skills which are stimulating for students’ age and ability. 

Across the different Key Stages, students build on prior learning and knowledge as new concepts are introduced and they develop heightened skills required for GCSEs in both Language and Literature.  Throughout their learning journey, Literacy and communicative skills are prioritised, along with the development of cultural and social understanding so that students

are fully prepared for all aspects of their life-long learning journey.


In Year 7, students study topics such as:

Positivity and Growth in short stories; Injustice and Fear in longer fiction (narrative reading and writing); Current Issues in non-fiction reading and writing and Relationships in Shakespearean and modern play-scripts/ transcripts.  Such topics include the following texts: ‘Woman in Black’, ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’, ‘Dracula’, ‘Frankenstein’, ‘The Red Room’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘The Tempest’.

Throughout the first term, Students will learn about the different narrative structures and perspectives when reading their class novel. They will then move to studying non-fiction structures and how to apply their knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and structures to craft their own piece of non-fiction writing. In their final term of Year 7 they use their Shakespeare set text to decipher the differences between spoken and written language as well as having the opportunity to perform their own retelling of Shakespeare.


In Year 8, students study topics such as:

Innocence and Adventure through fictional narrative reading and writing; Conflict in Literature; Conflict in ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Conflict’ Poetry and finally, Culture and diversity through World Literature and the news.  Such topics include the following texts: ‘Jane Eyre’, ‘Great Expectations’, ‘Lord of the Flies’, ‘Oliver Twist’, ‘Of Mice and Men’ as well as modern and literary heritage poetry on the theme of conflict. The first novel students study in Year 8 builds on those studied in Year 7 introducing more sophisticated conventions and increasingly complex grammatical structures. This prepares the students for studying their second Shakespeare play at St Philip Howard: ‘Macbeth’. ‘Macbeth’ again builds on their study of a previous Shakespeare play allowing the students to be introduced to complex dramatic and literary devices and supporting them to understand how dramatists communicate through performance, enabling Students to make critical comparisons between plays.  Poetry on the theme of Conflict is also interwoven throughout key scenes to link ideas and conventions, building an understanding of context in contemporary and literary heritage texts.  The final topic in Year 8 builds on the initial study of Non-Fiction and encourages students to explore Current Issues in the world today, prompting them to develop viewpoints on wider cultural, social, historical and moral topics.


In Year 9, students study topics such as:

Victorian Virtues in the study of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and non-fiction fiction/ literary non-fiction excerpts from the Victorian era.  In this term, Year 9 the students are encouraged to understand the relationships between contextual factors and authorial intent and how this influenced readers.  Through this topic, Students begin to become aware of an increasingly wider range of vocabulary and grammar for reading and how this can be applied to their own writing.  Romantic relationships are studied through ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and Love Poetry and the Students are encouraged to consider varied interpretations, becoming more widely read, mature readers.  Finally in Year 9, Edwardian and World War views and perspectives are explored through ‘Animal Farm’ and non-fiction writing to present a viewpoint. This develops the students’ understanding of the literary timeline and they are able to begin to put together their own contextual timeline of cultural and literary events starting from the Elizabethan era right through to modern day and, in British texts through to ones about the Soviet Union (in the study of ‘Animal Farm’).

In Years 10 and 11, Students become more confident in their application of skills and study GCSE texts.  At St Philip Howard, we study the AQA Specification for both Language and Literature.

In Literature, Students engage in: Modern British drama- 'An Inspector Calls'; the Relationships anthology of Poetry and the pre-1914 British novella, 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'.

In Language, Students enhance their skills in the '…Exploration of Creative Reading and Writing' and the study and application of 'Writer's Viewpoints and Perspectives'.

Across both key stages, students explore social, moral, cultural and historical aspects of the subject and develop the essential key skills that will enable them to become exploratory independent learners.  We are committed to ensuring that students can access all areas of the curriculum successfully and, therefore, experience an enhanced love of learning.


In the last three years, 82- 84%% of students achieved a grade 4+.  65- 67% achieved a 5+ and nearly 20% of students achieved the highest grades of a 7 or above.


English Curriculum Overview - Year 7

                                                        Year 8

                                                        Year 9

                                                        Year 10

                                                        Year 11

"In 2017, pupils' attainment in English at the end of key stage 4 was above the national average." - Ofsted, 2018