English at Sir Thomas Rich's

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

The English Department aims to inspire creativity, instil confidence and foster critical thinking in a safe, collaborative and friendly environment in which learners are valued and respected; they are able to speak fluently, read precisely and write effectively for a variety of purposes.

English lessons are enjoyable and interactive; learners are encouraged to share and rehearse their ideas and opinions, expressing themselves articulately and challenging the views of others to develop their own.

Learners are encouraged to read widely and with engagement, exploring layers of meaning and inferring subtleties of language with curiosity and insight. Learners who develop their skills through speaking, listening and reading will become confident writers who manipulate their reader in a variety of ways.

The English Department endeavours to nurture resilient, independent learners who think for themselves, have an opinion and take risks. Learners recognise the relevance and importance of English in developing communication skills and enriching their lives, preparing them for the wider world beyond school.

Key Stage 3 - Years 7, 8 & 9

Teaching Arrangements: Year 7 and 8 - 6 periods a fortnight.
Year 9 - 8 periods a fortnight.

In Key Stage 3 all students are taught in mixed-ability form groups.
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
  1. Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo
  2. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  3. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Year 8 - Power and Conflict
  1. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
  2. Voices of Protest (non-fiction texts)
  3. The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Year 9 - Identity and the Individual in Society
  1. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  2. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  3. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
Assessment Arrangements: Pupils complete four formal assessments during each unit of work, each of which focuses on a different skill or aspect of content. Pupils revisit skills throughout the academic year in order to consolidate their learning and further develop their practices.

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.

KS3 Reading List

Teaching Arrangements: In Key Stage 4 there is one top set and the remaining groups are taught in mixed ability sets throughout Years 10 and 11. Occasionally, some sets are taught by two teachers. Pupils have five lessons each week, and cover content for both English Language and English Literature GCSE in these lessons. We follow the AQA Examination Board for both English Literature and Language.
Homework Guidance: Pupils can expect to complete two homework tasks each week, one of which will usually be an extended 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
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • English Language Paper Two (non-fiction) – reading and writing skills
  • English Language Paper One (fiction) – reading and writing skills
  • AQA Poetry: Love and Relationships Anthology (Cluster One) – family poems
  • Aspects of Narrative (creative writing)
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Year 11
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • AQA Poetry: Love and Relationships Anthology (Cluster One) – romance poems
  • English Language Paper One (fiction) skills
  • English Language Paper Two (non-fiction) skills
  • Revision
Assessment Arrangements: English Language is split into two papers:
•   Paper 1: pupils will read one prose text and answer questions on them. They will also write imaginatively.
•   Paper 2: requires pupils to read two 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 papers:
•   Paper 1 contains questions on Macbeth and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
•   Paper 2 asks pupils questions about Animal Farm and the AQA Poetry Anthology Love and Relationships cluster. Pupils will also be expected to analyse and compare unseen poetry.
Pupils also undertake their Spoken Language Endorsement. This does not contribute to their English Language GCSE grade, but is a separate accreditation.

KS4 Reading List

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 seven lessons each week. Teaching is normally divided between two 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 by Tennessee Williams
  • Prose text study (Women and Society)
  • Post-2000 Poetry (Poems of the Decade)
Year 13
  • Shakespeare drama text (Twelfth Night)
  • Poetry (Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale; Romantic 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.

KS5 Reading List

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.
"English A Level is a fun and interesting subject which develops skills that can be used throughout all subjects. I have particularly loved taking part in class discussions and feel I have really grown in confidence as a result."
Former student
"It’s great to be taught by the Sir Thomas Rich's English teachers as it's clear they genuinely feel passionate about their subject. English has been engaging and interesting right from Year 7 through to Sixth Form."
Former student
"I have found studying English at Sir Thomas Rich's to be truly challenging and rewarding. My analytical and essay writing skills have developed hugely, which has been really useful in other subjects such as Politics."
Former student
Associated Clubs / Societies / Trips:
  • The Shakespeare Society – offers all Sixth Form students the opportunity to attend performances at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Six trips are usually organised each year. Visits to other theatres and literary festivals are arranged throughout the year. Recent trips have included: William Blake’s exhibition at Tate Britain, Keats’ house in London and trips to see theatrical adaptations of The Hound of the Baskervilles and A Christmas Carol.
  • Poetry By Heart – an annual competition where every Year 7 pupil learns to memorise poetry. Pupils learn two poems (one pre-1914, one post-1914) and recite from memory in their form groups. Five winners go forward to a grand finale.
  • House Creative Writing – an annual competition separated into Senior and Junior categories in which pupils submit written work on a chosen theme.
  • House Public Speaking – an annual competition separated into Senior and Junior categories in which pupils compete for best public speaker on a topic of their choice.