Curriculum overview:

At KS3 we teach six modules for the academic year: a novel, drama, poetry, a selection of short stories, a media unit and a creative writing module. Each year group are assessed via essays at the end of each unit and tested on SATS style exam papers in preparation for an end of KS3 final exam that puts them into sets for KS4.

At GCSE we follow the WJEC exam board’s course for both GCSE English Language and English Literature. In Year 10, all students write their controlled assessments and complete their GCSE folder. Students are also introduced to the WJEC English Language exams through close study of the recommended texts and are assessed every half term to consolidate their learning. For Year 11 students, we use the Cambridge IGCSE and AQA IGCSE Literature as a second option. Year 11 students study for their Language and Literature exams and take a series of Mock Examinations in order to fully equip students for their final GCSE’s.

KS5 students adhere to the AQA English Literature examining board where students study the AQA SPECIFICATION A. The course aims to teach students:

  • To enjoy reading widely, independently and critically
  • To understand how texts are constructed and their effects on readers
  • To assess evidence and make confident judgements
  • To express opinions and construct arguments in a coherent and dynamic manner

English Literature is an A level subject that is accessible from a wide range of approaches and may be combined with all other subjects. It is a key subject for students who wish to progress their University studies within the Arts but also compliments students who are taking both Science and Technology based subjects, as the skills learnt within English Literature are transferrable across various A Level subjects.


The mission of the English Department is to stimulate and encourage an appreciation for English language and Literature. The Department of English and Literature at Saint Mary's Catholic High School delivers an innovative and thought-provoking curriculum in an engaging learning environment. The teachers within the department are dedicated in ensuring that all students are ready to serve their faith, family and future. We are extremely proud to equip learners in becoming ambassadors of the future. We cater to a wide range of ethnicities and thus help to broaden cultural experiences, improve skills in written and verbal communication, deepen and refine abilities in critical thinking, and prepare students for universities and/or careers.


Year 7 – Topics Taught

  • Literacy – Monsters London- Multicultural Poetry, WW2, Shakespeare
  • Christmas Carol Novel
  • Media Texts/ New reporting
  • Travel writing
  • Introduction to Shakespeare
  • Poetry Power
  • Year 7 exams (Revision)

Year 8 – Topics Taught

  • Novel - Stone Cold, Blade, Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Holes, Weirdo’s War
  • Poetry - Ballads and Sonnets
  • Disaster Unit - Writing to inform and describe
  • Writing to persuade – Adverts, Campaign, Speeches
  • Study a Shakespeare text. (Macbeth, Much Ado about nothing)
  • Media – Superheroes, Analysis of film trailers, Film adaptation of own novel
  • Year 8 exams (Revision)

Year 9 – Topics Taught

  • Short Story - The Whole Town’s Sleeping (Reading and writing creative text for GCSE)
  • SMART skills reading (Reading Non-Fiction text for GCSE)
  • Writing Challenge Magazines (Writing Non- fiction text for GCSE)
  • Poetry Bridging Unit (Introduction to GCSE poetry)
  • Exploring Shakespeare for GCSE (Romeo and Juliet)
  • Studying Spoken language (Preparing for GCSE Controlled Assessment)
  • Year 9 exams (Revision)

Method of Assessment at KS3:

At the beginning of each academic year, all Year 7 classes are given a reading, writing and a spelling test to inform current levels. During the year we use the APP National Curriculum Framework to assess tasks on reading, writing and speaking and listening. All KS3 classes are tested every half term. These grades are reported and banked as key stage levels. Averages of those levels are used for their final level at the end of the year. Our schemes of work further incorporate conduits through which personal learning and thinking skills are developed. CATS and reading age data is also used to inform our teaching, to set individual targets to decide on teaching sets and to track pupil progress.


Year 10 – Topics Taught

  • Shakespeare and Poetry    CA
  • Of Mice and Men CA
  • Creative Writing- Descriptive CA
  • Narrative CA Studying Spoken Language CA
  • English Language Units 1 and 2
  • Revision and Exam
  • CA Re-sits

Year 11 – Topics Taught

  • An Inspector Calls
  • Heroes
  • Reading Non-Fiction Revision & Writing Revision
  • Literature Revision
  • Series of intense MOCK exams for English Language & Literature
  • Exam Revision- English Language & English Literature
  • Exams

Method of Assessment at KS4 (include Exam boards and weightings)

We assess continuously at KS4 – students are given regular exam practice and consistent feedback to ensure progress is being made towards their target grade.
There is half Termly assessment covering the unit of work and results are input into SIM’s.

How to support your child’s learning at home:

At St Mary’s, all students are given regular homework tasks that adhere to the English Curriculum. In doing so, we give the responsibility to the students to consolidate their learning outside the classroom. As a result, we expect that parent interaction, communication and support are essential to ensure that all students reach their full potential.  In addition, all students are expected to read every evening for 20-30 minutes to their family members/guardians at home in order to enrich and develop their literacy skills. 

Useful websites:

Students are encouraged to use the BBC Bitesize revision website across KS3 and KS4 to become more accustomed to the English Curriculum.