Subject Overview 

Welcome to the English department at the Academy of St Nicholas. We are a team of English specialists who are determined to pass on our love of the subject to young people from year 7 all the way through to year 13. To that end, we encourage all students, regardless of their ability, to be passionate and proactive in their learning and to support them in becoming responsible, confident and successful citizens of the future. 

The Department: 

    • Mrs F. Harrison-Marks (Director of English) 
    • Mr D. Carney (Curriculum Leader of Key Stage 4) 
    • Mrs J. Watts (Curriculum Leader of Key Stage 3) 
    • Mr A. Lewis (Curriculum Leader of GCSE Resits) 
    • Miss J. Langley (Teacher of English) 
    • Miss M. Bowen (Curriculum Leader of Drama and Teacher of English) 
    • Miss N. Kaye (High Level Teaching Assistant)  

Subject Rationale: 

    • We aim to support students in developing key, transferable skills which prepare them, not only for public examinations, but also the rigorous demands of other curriculum areas and life beyond school. 
    • As well as focussing on the essential literacy skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening, we aim to foster a love of reading by providing an engaging, exciting and challenging curriculum. 
    • Regardless of their starting point, students can expect to gain in self-confidence, and to develop the confidence to articulate their opinions.  
    • We are also committed to enhancing the cultural, spiritual and moral development of our children through the study of literature and language. 
    • The selection of texts studied in al year groups addresses a number of important social and historical issues that are still relevant today, ensuring core British Values are promoted. We strive to tackle these issues in an open and inclusive way, where every student feels safe and secure in developing and expressing their beliefs. 

Key Stage 3 

The curriculum for Years 7 to 9 aims to take young people on a journey through literature which builds on their prior knowledge and lays the foundations for GCSEs English language and literature.    Students are encouraged to develop their skills in the three main areas of the English curriculum: reading, writing and speaking and listening. During Key Stage 3 students have access to a wide range of poetry, prose and drama, regularly revisiting key knowledge and skills. Furthermore, students are given the opportunity to develop their own writing skills, including creative and transactional writing.  In addition, there is an emphasis on technical accuracy and students are regularly taught strategies to further develop their spelling, punctuation, grammar and proofreading skills.  They are also given the opportunity to enhance their communication and creative skills through speaking and listening and drama-based activities. The enrichment curriculum is supplemented by extra-curricular activities such as Debate Mate. 

Key Stage 4 

At Key Stage 4, students are taught for nine hours per fortnight and follow the AQA specification in GCSE English language and English literature.  The knowledge and skills covered throughout Key Stage 3 are revisited and consolidated throughout the two-year course. Undoubtedly, English is one of the most important subjects students will undertake and can open the door to a range of careers and opportunities in adult life. Students also have the opportunity to attend an additional, after school lesson once per week to consolidate their learning. 

Key Stage 5 

At A level, students are taught by two teachers and follow AQA English Literature specification B. A range of poetry, prose and drama is studied with a focus on tragedy and political and social protest writing. This is a two-year course during which time students also complete an NEA. 

Year Autumn Spring Summer
7 The Novel Digital Media
Shakespeare and Poetry
8 The Novel Victorian Literature Shakespeare
9* Shakespeare and Speaking and Listening Modern Play and Poetry Poetry and Creative Writing
10 Creative Writing and ‘A Christmas Carol’ Non-fiction and Modern Play ‘An Inspector Calls’ and Power and Conflict Poetry
11 Literature Revision Non-fiction: Writer’s Viewpoints and Perspectives and Speaking and Listening GCSE EXAMS
12 Tragedy: ‘King Lear’ Language Revision ‘Death of a Salesman’ and NEA
13 Political and Social Protest Writing: ‘The Handmaids’s Tale’ ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ A LEVEL EXAMS

*N.B. The curriculum is under review and from September 2020 will move to a threeyear KS3. 

We monitor our success via: 

          • the academy’s quality assurance system and student outcomes, we can measure the success of our curriculum via: 
          • pupil voice, staff voice, parental voice. 
          • learning walks and lesson observations. 
          • scrutiny of student work. 
          • middle and senior leaderships checks. 
          • departmental self-evaluation. 
          • emphasis placed on feedback (written and verbal) and targets for progression rather than grades or numbers.  
          • measuring how much progress students have made against their target grade and to provide relevant intervention where applicable. 
          • students making demonstrable progress in Years 7 to 9. 
          • students making improved progress at GCSE. 
          • students making sustained progress in A-level English Literature. 

You can find more information about the curriculum the school is following by contacting Mr Lloyd by email or calling 0151 230 2570.