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St Mary's Catholic High School


English picture

Head of Department  - Ms Sarah Garrett

Vision Statement

The English Department has the highest expectations of – and for – our students, which means we are committed to instilling a love of reading and learning in order to create independent, inquisitive and critical thinkers, who are able to make connections and draw links across their learning journey. We believe and support our school’s vision to provide students with the best possible learning experience consistent with the school’s values of welcome, service and hard work. We therefore expect, all of our learners to leave our care as competent writers, readers and speakers.


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.

Curriculum overview

The English curriculum at St Mary’s Catholic High School has been designed to encourage students to enjoy reading a wide range of texts, think critically and independently, express opinions and construct arguments in a coherent and dynamic manner. The new AQA specification that is followed at both Key Stages 3 & 4 ensures that all students are fully equipped to facilitate the skills required at GCSE level.

Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3 we teach a range of modules which include: a modern prose, Shakespeare and 20th Century plays, poetry, non-fiction and fictional units, creative writing modules and a speaking and listening component. Students are assessed at the end of each half term, using bespoke assessments designed to meet the needs of all students, in preparation for an end of KS3 final exam that group students for KS4.

Year 7 Topics Taught:

A Monster Calls

Myths and Legends

Victorian London

H.G. Wells

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Shakespeare)

Shakespearean comedies

Book Club:

A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)

Trash (Andy Mulligan)

Language (grammar and vocabulary enhancement)

Year 8 Topics Taught:

WWI Poetry (Owen, Sassoon, Pope and others) and Modern Conflict (Non Fiction writing)

Gothic fiction and Creative Writing (Poe, Wilde, Brothers Grimm and more)

A Dark Lady (Akala)

Shakespeare's sonnets

Oracy – reading and debating (Small Island, Blood Brothers and East is East)

Year 9 Topics Taught:

Poetry from different voices and cultures (Zephania, Angelou, Agard, Dharker and more)

Diverse Literary Short Stories

Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)

Othello (William Shakespeare)

Language - Explorations in creative reading and writing

English - Year 7 Curriculum Map

English - Year 8 Curriculum Map

English - Year 9 Curriculum Map

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4 GCSE students follow the AQA exam board’s course for both GCSE English Language and English Literature.

In Year 10, all students will study GCSE English Literature units in: Poetry, Shakespeare, modern text prose and GCSE English Language skills for both Language Paper 1: Explorations in creative reading and writing and GCSE English Language Paper 2 Writer’s Viewpoints and Perspectives. Students will end year 10 completing their Spoken Language endorsement (Speaking and Listening unit).

Year 10 Topics Taught:

GCSE English Literature Paper 2: Power and Conflict cluster poems

GCSE English Literature Paper 1: Macbeth

GCSE English Literature Paper 2: An Inspector Calls Revision

GCSE English Language Paper 1: Explorations in creative reading and writing

GCSE English Language Paper 2: Writer’s Viewpoints and Perspectives

GCSE Language Speaking and Listening

In Year 11, all students will study a 19th century text, prepare for the unseen poetry section in literature paper 2 and revisit their set GCSE English Literature texts studied during year 10. Students will continue to study English Language skills for both Language Paper 1: Explorations in creative reading and writing and GCSE English Language Paper 2 Writer’s Viewpoints and Perspectives.

Year 11 Topics Taught:

GCSE English Literature Paper 1: Jekyll and Hyde

GCSE English Literature Paper 2: Unseen Poetry

GCSE English Literature Revision: Paper 1 and Paper 2

GCSE English Language Revision: Paper 1 and Paper 2

English - Year 10 Curriculum Map

English - Year 11 Curriculum Map

AQA English Language - Specification

AQA English Literature - Specification