English at Sir Thomas Rich's

English is about learning to communicate your ideas in the most powerful way possible.

The principle aim of the English Department is to teach the fundamentally important skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening to every student at Sir Thomas Rich’s school. We also aim to encourage a love of literature and an understanding of the place it has in our lives. We believe that a mastery and appreciation of studies in English literature and language are the core of all academic success and we encourage students to realise this as they work across the curriculum. In English, students are building a foundation for life beyond school.


Key Stage 3 - Years 7, 8 & 9

Teaching Arrangements: Year 7 – 5 periods a week
Year 8 – 4 periods a week
Year 9 – 5 periods a week

In Key Stage 3 (years 7,8, and 9) all students are taught in mixed ability form groups. Each year group has one reading lesson each week, where pupils are able to follow their own interests in reading for pleasure. We also have a reading scheme which offers guidance and progression for those who would benefit from more challenging reading. Certificates of Achievement in reading are awarded at the end of the year.
Homework Guidance: Pupils can expect to receive two homework tasks in English each week. These may be reading, writing, research, planning or responding to feedback.
Topics Covered:
Year 7 - 'Telling Stories'
  • A Modern Novel
  • Poetry of Magic and Mystery
  • Treasure Island and Shipwreck
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare
  • An Advertising Campaign
Year 8 - 'Power and Conflict'
  • A Modern Novel
  • ‘Food’ – non-fiction texts
  • Poetry of Conflict
  • The Tempest - Shakespeare
Year 9 - 'Identity and the Individual in Society'
  • A Modern Novel
  • Poetry – A Sense of Identity
  • The Merchant of Venice – Shakespeare
  • Travel Writing
  • 19th Century Mystery Stories
Assessment Arrangements: Pupils complete three formal assessments during each unit of work. These assess skills in Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening. More details about the Units and their assessment focuses can be found on the Department Share Point pages.

In studying English, pupils develop skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing that they will need to participate in society and employment. Pupils learn to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate with others confidently and effectively.

Teaching Arrangements: Pupils are taught in 5 mixed ability sets throughout Years 10 and 11. Occasionally, some sets are taught by two teachers. Pupils have 5 lessons each week, and cover content for both English Language and English Literature GCSE in these lessons.
Homework Guidance: Pupils can expect to complete 2 homework tasks each week, one of which will usually be a writing task. Other tasks may ask pupils to read independently the text set for study, to prepare questions ready for the next lesson, to plan or draft a response to a text, to research an area of context or to respond to feedback on assessed work.
Topics Covered:
Year 10
  • 19th Century Prose Fiction extracts
  • Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  • Modern British Text (An Inspector Calls; Animal Farm or Lord of the Flies)
  • Edexcel Poetry Anthology
  • Range of Non-Fiction extracts for Language Paper 2
Year 11
  • Macbeth – Shakespeare
  • Edexcel Poetry Anthology
  • Revision
Assessment Arrangements: English Language is split into two components: in Component 1, pupils will read a range of pre-1914 prose texts and answer questions on them. They will also write imaginatively.
Component 2 requires pupils to read a range of 20th and 21st Century non-fiction texts and to answer questions on them. The writing section of this component requires pupils to write for different purposes and audiences.
English Literature GCSE is also examined in two components: Component 1 asks pupils questions about a post-1914 drama or prose text, and a Shakespeare play. Component 2 contains questions on poetry and 19th Century prose.
Pupils will also take a qualification in Speaking and Listening, which will not contribute to their English Language GCSE grade, but will be a separate accreditation.

Looking at the patterns, structures, origins and conventions of English helps pupils understand how language works. Using this understanding, pupils can choose and adapt what they say and write in different situations, as well as appreciate and interpret the choices made by other writers and speakers. The knowledge and skills gained at GCSE in English and Literature will have a powerful impact on all other areas of the curriculum.

Entry Requirements: We would normally expect students wishing to take English Literature at A level to have Grade 6 or above in GCSE English Language and Literature.
Teaching Arrangements: English A Level is taught in 7 lessons each week. Teaching is normally divided between 2 teachers.
Homework Guidance: Pupils can expect to receive at least one substantial homework task each week. Tasks range from planning and writing essays; research and wider reading; reading texts set for study; working on presentations.
Topics Covered:
Year 12
  • A Streetcar Named Desire – Tennessee Williams
  • Prose text study (Women and Society; Crime and Detection; Science and Society)
  • Post-2000 Poetry (Poems of the Decade)
Year 13
  • Shakespeare drama text (Hamlet; Othello)
  • Poetry (Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale; Victorian Poets)
  • Coursework (comparison of two independently selected texts)
Assessment Arrangements: Component 1: Drama
30% of total A Level; total of 60 marks available. Students will study one play by Shakespeare and one other from either tragedy or comedy, and critical essays related to selected Shakespeare play.
Assessment: Written exam, lasting 2 hours 15 minutes

Component 2: Prose
20% of total A Level; total of 40 marks available. Students will study two prose texts linked by a chosen theme. Assessment: Written exam, lasting 1 hour

Component 3: Poetry
30% of total A Level; total of 60 marks available. Students will study a selection of post-2000 specified poetry and a range of poems from a literary period OR by a named poet. Assessment: written exam, lasting 2 hours 15 minutes.

Component 4: Coursework
20% of total A Level; total of 60 marks available. Content: Students have a free choice of two texts and can be poetry, prose, drama or literary non-fiction. Assessment:2,500-3,000 words essay.
University courses this subject may be required for or lead onto: English Literature A Level continues to be highly regarded by University Admissions Tutors. It has a reputation for demanding academic rigour and for cultivating powerful transferable skills of critical analysis, evaluation and self-expression. These skills are important in a wide range of undergraduate courses, ranging from Science and vocational courses, to Law and other more traditional Humanities degrees. Universities offer many different types of English and Literature degrees, often including modules in journalism, creative writing and American Studies.
Careers that English may lead onto: The great flexibility of most UK degree subjects is reflected in the fact that 40% of vacancies advertised specifically to graduates do not specify degree subject, so English graduates can enter a wide range of careers. English graduates develop a wide range of skills that are valuable to graduate employers including: how to argue a point, how to think independently, to summarise and précis, to write and speak well, to write reports, to present information effectively and to work as part of a team. Possible career choices after completing an English degree include: publishing, events management, accountancy, insurance, civil service, local government, journalism, PR, management consultancy, media, teaching, law, banking, retail.
A fun and interesting subject that can be used throughout all subjects. I have loved the class discussions and have learnt many new skills.

It’s great to be taught by teachers who genuinely feel passionate about their subject.

A truly challenging but rewarding subject.
Associated Clubs / Societies / Trips:
  • The Shakespeare Society – offers all 6th form students the opportunity to attend performances at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon- Avon. Usually 6-8 trips organised each year.
  • The English Society – lunchtime talks by outside speakers and teachers, on many different topics related to English.
  • Visits to other theatres and Literary Festivals arranged throughput the year.
  • English Extension Class - A friendly informal club which meets on a weekly basis to discuss literature not on the exam specifications. All interested Sixth Formers are welcome but those who wish to read English at university are particularly encouraged to attend.