English (Y7-13)

Our Curriculum Intent in English:

  • Broad and Balanced: our curriculum ensures a broad and balanced study of English language and literature, incorporating a range of genres, historical periods, and cultural perspectives. It aims to foster a lifelong love for reading, writing, and critical thinking.
  • Skills Development: we intend to equip students with a wide range of language and literary skills, including effective communication, analytical thinking and writing, creative expression, and the ability to engage with diverse texts from throughout the ages.
  • Cultural Awareness: our curriculum promotes cultural understanding and inclusivity by exploring a variety of texts and perspectives, reflecting the rich diversity of our world.
  • Personal Growth: we recognise the importance of English in developing students’ personal growth, nurturing their empathy, emotional intelligence, resilience, and fostering their ability to engage with complex, diverse and intellectual thinking.
  • Catholic Social Teaching at the heart of what we do: Catholic social teachings, including solidarity, working for the common good, human dignity and respect are built in to everything that we do in English.

The way we implement our vision in English:

  • High-Quality Texts: we carefully select high-quality literary and non-literary texts that engage and challenge students at every level, encouraging critical thinking, empathy, and personal reflection.
  • Skills Progression: our curriculum ensures a clear progression of skills and knowledge throughout KS3 and KS4, building upon prior learning and preparing students for the demands of higher education or employment. Each scheme of learning has a core skill, as well as a sentence mastery structure that builds throughout the time at Painsley.
  • Adaptive teaching: we employ a range of pedagogical strategies, teaching resources, and activities to cater to the diverse needs and abilities of our students, ensuring all individuals are supported and challenged appropriately.
  • Literacy Development: we embed literacy skills across the curriculum, reinforcing reading comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, accurate writing, and spoken communication skills, empowering students to become confident and articulate individuals.

The impact of what we do:

  • Attainment: our curriculum aims to raise academic attainment and achievement across all levels, enabling students to achieve their full potential in English language and literature.
  • Progress and Aspirations: we measure and monitor individual progress to ensure students are making consistent strides in their learning journey with regular and rigorous assessment, both formatively in lessons and summatively at points throughout the year. We actively promote high aspirations, encouraging pupils to pursue further study or careers related to English as well as ensuring that pupils are well equipped for terminal examinations in KS4 and 5.
  • Love for Literature: our curriculum seeks to ignite a passion for literature, creating lifelong readers and engendering a genuine appreciation for the power of storytelling and the beauty of language.
  • Transferable Skills: we equip our pupils with transferable skills that extend beyond the English classroom, such as critical analysis, persuasive writing, effective communication, and creative problem-solving, preparing them for success in higher education and the world of work. Pupils have the opportunities to write in a variety of ways and genres, mirroring the vital nature of the subject in the 21st century world.

Our English curriculum:

In Year 7, pupils will study:

  • Travel Writing: pupils will study the genre of travel writing, inclusive of the study of Painsley alumni, Levison Wood and his journeys around the world. Pupils will hone skills of punctuation and sentence construction when developing their own travel writing.
  • Romeo and Juliet: pupils will study Shakespeare’s classic tragedy and will be introduced to the world of Shakespearean England and theatre, as well as the story of feuding families in Verona.
  • ‘The Pearl’ by John Steinbeck: pupils will study the evocative tale of the pearl diver, Kino, and his family set in La Paz, Mexico in Steinbeck’s acclaimed twentieth century novella.
  • Short Stories from other cultures: pupils will become accustomed to the narrative structure of short stories by studying a range of 20th and 21st century short stories written by authors from around the globe.
  • War Poetry: from Wilfred Owen’s poems of trench warfare, to war in the 21st century, pupils are introduced to the poetic form when studying war poetry.

In Year 8, pupils will study:

  • Relationships poetry: pupils will be introduced to poems that document different relationships, building on the skills that they started to develop in the Year 7 poetry unit. Pupils will be immersed in poetry from throughout the literary canon.
  • Non-fiction reading and writing- Titanic: pupils will study non-fiction reading focusing on the ‘Titanic’ maritime disaster, considering the links to Stoke on Trent, as well as completing non-fiction writing based around this.
  • The 19th Century- Sherlock Holmes: building on the skills of short stories that started in Year 7, pupils will read two Sherlock Holmes tales in full- ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’ and ‘The Red-Haired League’ as well as extracts from other Sherlock Holmes texts, in order to understand the detective fiction genre of the 19th century.
  • The 19th Century- Great Expectations: pupils will study Dickens’ bildungsroman tale about Pip’s ascension into the world of the gentleman.
  • The Tempest: leading on from Shakespeare study in Year 7, pupils will visit the deserted island of Prospero in Shakespeare’s famous tale of magic, sorcery, love and betrayal.
  • Our Day Out- modern drama: pupils will read Willy Russell’s tale of ‘the progress class’ in 1970s Liverpool, using this as a vehicle to develop their non-fiction and argumentative writing.

In Year 9, pupils will study:

  • Poetry of diverse voices: developing the skills that they have learnt in poetry study of Year 7 and 8, pupils will be introduced to a range of poems born from the diverse world of the 20th and 21st centuries.
  • Animal Farm: pupils will engage in a full reading of Orwell’s allegorical dystopian novella that comments on the Russian Revolution.
  • Non-fiction writing of the 19th century: using resources from the British Library, and leading on from the study of 19th century fiction in Year 8, pupils will study how the 19th century was depicted by leading non-fiction writers of the time.
  • Rhetoric and opinionated writing: pupils will study the roots of rhetoric before engaging in writing in an argumentative and opinionated way.
  • Macbeth- pupils will complete a full text study of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy of ‘Macbeth’ encompassing the themes of the power of the supernatural, love and hate, the lust for power and what makes a hero that they have already considered in other Shakespeare texts in Key Stage 3.

Key Stage 4 English Language and English Literature:

All pupils will follow the AQA specifications for both English Literature and English Language.
Texts studied include:

  • Macbeth- William Shakespeare
  • A Christmas Carol- Charles Dickens
  • Power and Conflict poetry
  • An Inspector Calls- J.B. Priestley (B band and C pathway groups)
  • Lord of the Flies- William Golding (A pathway groups)

Pupils will be taught big ideas within texts alongside regular assessment that measures them against the examination criteria.

Key Stage 5- English Literature

We follow the AQA A specification.

Students will study ‘Love through the Ages’ looking at how the concept of love has been presented throughout the literary canon as well as ‘Modern Times: 1945-present Day’ where students look at post war literature. Texts studied include:

  • Othello by William Shakespeare
  • AQA Pre-1900 poetry anthology
  • The Great Gatsby by F Scott. Fitzgerald
  • A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  • Feminine Gospels by Carol Ann Duffy
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Students will also complete an independent 2500 essay comparing Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ to one other text that they choose.

Key Stage 5- English Language:

We follow the AQA specification.

Students will explore how the English language is acquired as well as how concepts such as power, gender, ethnicity, technology and the media, as well as accent and dialect have developed the language that we now know. Students will have the opportunity to write in a creative and original way as well as being able to complete a language investigation that allows them to investigate language use in a context of their choice. The papers are as follows:

Paper 1 – Language, the individual and society

40% of the A Level

Paper 2 – Language diversity and change

2 hours 30 minutes

40% of the A Level

Non-exam assessment – Language in Action

Language investigation

10% of the A Level

Original Writing

10% of the A Level

Department Staff:

Mr R Pierpoint- Head of English
Mr J Hendley- Assistant Principal
Mr D Reed- Lead Teacher of English/Reading Lead
Miss G Boon
Mrs A Comfort- SENCO
Miss F Dutton
Miss G Everiss
Mrs S Hazelwood
Mrs S Moseley
Ms E Moran
Miss M Nicholson
Ms R Parsons
Miss L Pellington




Useful websites

Current Year six student. Click on this to access the short story ‘Rules of the Game’ to read over the summer.

“Rules of The Game” – Amy Tan

BBC Bitesize – covers both KS3 and KS4 skills

Sparknotes – guides to key literature texts

Litcharts – a high level guide to key literature texts (suitable for KS4 and A Level)

English Grammar Guide – covers word types, punctuation and clauses.

English Games – a fun way to embed core skills

Mr Bruff – YouTube clips for GCSE and A Level (Language and Literature)


Curriculum Statement


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