A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only one.”
– George R.R. Martin
Our English curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential literary and language knowledge that they need to be educated, rounded and communicative citizens. It introduces students to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human imagination, creativity and achievement.
Mrs A Kane
Director of English
Our English curriculum is carefully designed and delivered to:
- inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past and present through the study of novels, poetry and plays (OPENING HEARTS through inspiration)
- develop in pupils a coherent knowledge and understanding of a bank of rich social, historical, world and cultural knowledge (OPENING MINDS to new knowledge)
- help pupils develop as perceptive readers and listeners (OPENING MINDS to deeper understanding)
- equip pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word (OPENING DOORS through the application of communicative disciplines)
Year 7, 8 and 9 Curriculum Content
The framework for the Key Stage 3 English curriculum is shaped by the sequence of carefully selected texts listed below, which every student reads cover-to-cover. Each unit of study is supplemented by a plethora of associated supplementary literature including playscripts, short stories and non-fiction pieces such as letters, reports and recounts.
|Autumn||Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief - exploring a variety of narrative and viewpoint writing styles and how writer’s develop character, theme and narrative|
|Spring||Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens - Understand how Dickens creates powerful characters in ‘Oliver Twist’ and learn how to express opinions about these characters.|
|Summer||Crime Fiction and other genres – Understand how Conan Doyle creates powerful characters in ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ and learn how to express opinions about these characters.|
|Autumn||Romeo and Juliet - Exploring the writer’s use of language, character and structure|
|Spring||Jane Eyre a bildungsroman for a Victorian woman - exploring the writer’s craft|
|Summer||American Literature ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck - Exploring the historical contexts in which texts are set and the impact on the writer’s craft.|
|Autumn||Gothic Genre - Exploring the Gothic genre and develop skills in the analysis of language in ‘The Woman in Black’|
|Spring||Henry V by William Shakespeare and War Poetry - Exploring British heritage with a focus on language and comparing and contrasting texts.|
|Summer||Dystopian Fiction – Noughts and Crosses - Exploring how writers create dystopian worlds and the impact on society today.|
Year 10 and 11 Curriculum Content
At Key Stage 4, students follow the AQA English Language and Literature programme of study. The order in which we cover the content of these specifications is listed below. All students are examined in both courses at the end of Year 11 and so revision throughout the two-year course is essential to a student’s success.
English Language and Literature
|Autumn||English Literature 19th Century novel- ‘A Christmas Carol’ Charles Dickens|
|Spring||English Language Paper 1 Studying two poems from the Anthology / An Inspector Calls|
|Summer||Students to study ‘An Inspector Calls’ reading for understanding of character, plot, setting, themes, language and social, historical and cultural context / Planning and delivering speeches|
|Autumn||Students to study a complete Shakespeare play, reading for understanding of character, plot, setting, themes, language and social, historical and cultural context|
|Spring||To explore the language, structure and form of poems in the ‘Power and Conflict’ cluster.|
|Summer||Revision of English Language skills / Revision of English literature skills|
English Literature KS5
Key Stage 4 English students follow the AQA GCSE English Language and Literature specification. For further details, please follow the link below.
Key Stage 5 English Literature students follow the OCR A Level English Literature specification. For further details, please follow the link below.
A Student’s View
“My English lessons at Notre Dame definitely changed my life for the better. There is focus not just on what’s in the curriculum but on broadening our interests and a genuine enthusiasm from the teachers. With the support and challenges set by my teachers in the classroom, I was inspired to develop a love of reading outside of school, which has become my biggest passion.”
Clare Rose McIntyre
Former Notre Dame student, went on to study English Literature at University of Oxford