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Charles Darwin School


Course Overview

English is a core subject, studied by all students in Year 7 to Year 11 and chosen by Sixth Form students to study at A level and, in some cases, at degree level.

In Years 7-11, English is broken down into three areas: Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening. As a skills-based subject that is central to all human interaction, we place a high value on English at Charles Darwin School. English staff are passionate about their subject and work hard to create thoughtful, considerate, creative, analytical, articulate students with a love of Literature.

As well as reading, research and some writing tasks, ‘learning homework’ tasks in English at KS3 will focus on the spelling and meaning of critical vocabulary and terminology. At KS4, ‘learning homework’ tasks will focus more on learning key quotations. Help at home with testing and revising is really valuable with these learning homework tasks. In addition, there is an English teacher on duty in the library most lunchtimes and we are always happy to support students with any English homework.

Click here for English curriculum mapping

Key Stage 3
All students have two reading lessons and one grammar lesson across a two-week timetable, as well as following half-termly ‘topics’ through which English skills are reinforced and developed.

Year 7 topics include: novels, poetry (both modern and from the literary canon); creative writing and story telling; ‘real’ writing and non-fiction texts; a 20th Century play and Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer Nights Dream’.

Year 8 topics include: analytical and comparative approaches to Pre-1914 literature; reading and writing in the gothic genre; novels; poetry of protest and survival and Shakespeare’s ‘Scottish play’, ‘Macbeth’.

Year 9 topics include: analytical and comparative approaches to a range of short stories from different times and different cultures; transactional writing, with a focus on letters and speeches; studying ‘An Inspector Calls’ by JB Priestley (one of our GCSE texts for Literature); reading and analysing descriptive poetry; creative, descriptive writing.

Key Stage 4
All students study for two GCSEs which are English Language GCSE and English Literature. 
Our current Year 11 are studying AQA GCSE Language (specification 8700) and OCR GCSE Literature (specification J352).

  • Both GCSEs assessed in two final exam papers.
  • With AQA English Language, both papers are split into two sections: Section A assesses Reading and Section B assesses Writing.
  • With OCR English Literature both papers are two hours long: for paper 1 students study Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’ and Wells ‘The War of the Worlds’; for paper 2 students study an anthology of poetry and Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

Key Stage 5
A level courses offered in English are English Literature A level (OCR specification H472) Both have a good take up and great results!


Why choose the subject? 

  • It’s the key to all human interaction.
  • It’s essential for most jobs/careers.
  • It will help you develop key skills in essay writing, structuring and analysis, which you can use in other subjects/areas.
  • A grade of 6 or above in one of the English GCSEs is required to study English Literature A level in the Sixth Form.
  • And finally, because a love of literature will give you a wealth of joy and insight for life!

Common Questions 

Q.  When do I study English?
A.  From Year 7 to Year 11 and into Sixth Form if you wish

Q.  How many English lessons will I have across two weeks?
A.  7 in Key Stage 3; 9 or 10 in Key Stage 4 and 5

Q.  How many GCSEs will I study for in Key Stage 4?
A.  Two separate GCSEs: English Language (AQA) and English Literature (OCR)

Who will teach me? 

Ms Roberts, Mrs Dunmore, Mrs Mehra, Miss Davies, Mrs Lamb, Mr Nunn, Mrs Pitt, Miss Lewis, Mrs Mote, Mrs Holloway, Ms Ollier or Ms Foy-Smith.

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