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Head of Department/Faculty

Ms Helen Pearce
Head of English


English all comes down to these twenty six letters which, when combined correctly, can create magic. English, however, is not just an effective tool for communicating thoughts and ideas, but also a great way to establish and improve friendships and learn about the world in which we live.

Here at Commonweal, the English department firmly believe that English lessons should be fun, engaging, relevant, but most of all, useful. Our teaching philosophy follows the words of Jonathan Culver in that – The English language is a work in progress. Have fun with it!

To be successful in English, students need to develop their skills in reading, writing and spoken language. In lessons, students can expect to take part in a wide range of activities, from writing and performing their own poems to studying the work of Shakespeare.


  1. Learn the key technical terms.

    The more techniques and grammatical structures you know and can apply, the more confident you will feel in your English lessons.

  2. Read.

    The more you read, the more your English skills will improve. Reading can introduce you to places that you will never see and people you will never meet. Through fiction and non-fiction books, you learn about the world around you.

  3. PEAL throughout your work

    When you are answering questions about English, make sure you begin with a clear point, back up your point with evidence from the text, analyse what the evidence means and link everything you write to the question.

  4. Independence.

    What can you do to improve your skills? How can you go above and beyond? How can you push yourself to achieve far more than you thought possible? How can you challenge yourself?

  5. Try something new.

    Write a poem. Write a story. An article. Watch a play. Read a different genre of text. Join your local library. Challenge people in discussions. Engage with written and spoken language at every opportunity.

The Curriculum

English is delivered to Years 7, 8 and 9 over 7 one-hour lessons a fortnight.

All students will study English Language and English Literature at GCSE – it is not an optional subject. English at KS4 is delivered over 8 one-hour lessons a fortnight.

Year 7

All classes are mixed ability

  • Spoken Language – Students investigate and explore viewpoints about topical issues.
  • Shakespeare – Students are introduced to a variety of Shakespeare plays, as well as context.
  • Canon Fire – Short Stories – Students will read a variety of short stories from ‘Canon Fire’.  The focus will be on comprehension and understanding the author’s craft – analysing language and structure.
  • War Poetry – Students will read and respond to unseen poems.
  • Hatchet – Students will read a novel and analyse the writer’s craft.

Year 8

All classes are mixed ability

  • Multicultural Poetry – Students will read and respond to unseen poems whilst gaining an insight into other cultures.
  • Stepping into Dickens – Students will explore extracts from a range of Dickens’ novels, developing an understanding of 19th Century literature and context.
  • Fractured Fairy-tales – Students will understand how to write effectively and imaginatively.
  • Bugs – Students will encounter different attitudes to the insect world by reading a range of genres and across different centuries.
  • Romeo & Juliet – Students will read the play and develop an understanding of the relationship between the text and the context in which it was written.

Year 9
All classes are mixed ability

  • Crime and Punishment – Students will read a selection of non-fiction texts and use these to inform their own argumentative writing.
  • Relationships Poetry – Students will read and respond to unseen poems based on the theme of love and relationships.
  • Dystopia – Students will explore how writers of dystopian fiction represent an unfair and controlling society and how rights can disappear.
  • Telling Tales Narrative Writing – Students will read a selection of short stories to gain an understanding of writers’ craft.
  • Of Mice and Men– Students will read the novella and focus on Steinbeck’s narrative structure and how plot and character are developed throughout.

Year 10 and 11

See Options Booklet

Independent Learning

These are the main types of homework which are all set on Edulink:

  • Spelling tests – Years 7, 8 and 9 will have 12 words to learn every two weeks.
  • Extended writing homework – focus on grammar, punctuation and writing style – Year 7,8 and 9.
  • Learning key words/definitions/techniques – all years
  • Research tasks – all years.
  • Reading – all years. KS4 will be expected to read set texts independently in preparation for the course.
  • Revision and improvements – all years.
  • In Year 10 there are homework booklets on the set texts.  Tasks to complete weekly.
  • In Year 11 Students should revise literature set texts as well as complete language past papers.

Online Resources

Enrichment and trip possibilities

  • Theatre trips – all years.
  • Poetry Live – Year 11. Listen to poets perform and talk about their work.
  • Workshops led by theatre companies.
  • Creative writing clubs – all years
  • Spoken language club – Years 9 – 13


  • In Years 7 to 9 students are assessed every two weeks on set spellings and grammar.
  • End of unit progress checks take place for all years, usually at the end of the term.
  • Years 7, 8 and 9 formal exams.
  • Years 10 and 11 will sit assessments in both English Language and Literature.
  • Assessments cover reading, writing and spoken language.

Assessment Criteria - KS3

    Curriculum Maps