The department has an excellent mix of newly qualified and experienced staff who are all committed to delivering an exciting curriculum that meets the needs of every student, whatever their ability. We are dedicated to teaching in an interactive way, promoting pupil progress through creative and independent learning.

Department Overview

English at Sacred Heart Secondary is a creative, thought-provoking, and stimulating subject, enjoyed by all. At the core of our learning are the foundations of Reading, Writing and Speaking & Listening skills; we aim to foster a secure skills base in all three areas whilst stretching students to experiment and develop individual areas of expertise.

Students will experience a range of texts across a variety of media, including newspapers, scripts, poetry and novels and they will be encouraged to develop their reading responses in imaginative and challenging ways.

Students are also taught a variety of writing skills and writing for different audiences/purposes, with a focus on developing their use of language and structural devices as well as improving their spelling and grammar.

Learning Outside the Classroom

Students will be issued with a learning journey for each topic they study, at the beginning of each half term. There will be a range of activities for them to complete at home, linked to the topic, to enrich their learning. One task should be completed every week and brought in for assessment. Each student should complete at least one piece of: research, extended writing, extended reading and a creative task in every journey. These tasks are all available on ‘Insight’.

Above all, wider reading at home should be encouraged for enjoyment and confidence building.


We believe that assessment should be a continual process that informs and supports students’ progress. For every type of assessments students are: praised for their understanding and achievements; given an indication of how they can improve and given an opportunity to respond and improve their work (A.I.R.) Students are offered feedback in a number of forms: verbal, peer assessments, teacher’s written comments and detailed analysis informed by KS3 criteria. Students complete one formal assessments every half term.


The department is housed in six classrooms on the first floor of the building; all with interactive whiteboards and 2 free standing computers. Students also have regular access to the library.

Syllabus at KS3

At KS3 students are introduced to the skills they need at GCSE, and the assessments reflect this. However, texts have been selected to foster enjoyment , creativity and a lifelong love of reading.


In Y7 the students are taught in mixed ability groupings.

In the Autumn Term, students enjoy reading a fiction text (for example, Harry Potter, Skellig, and Wonder).  There is then a focus on introducing Shakespeare and students will explore texts in a variety of exciting ways, with lots of opportunities for collaborative working and drama. Students will also develop their comprehension skills and are introduced to inference and deduction (reading between the lines of a text and showing an understanding of implied meaning.) In addition, there are opportunities to produce a myriad of writing pieces.

In the Spring term, students will be given an introduction to studying a wide range of poetry, analysing meaning and commenting on writers’ techniques. Students will also study a drama text, allowing development of speaking and listening skills which will culminate in a speaking assessment at the end of the term. There will also be opportunities for creative writing based on stimulus from the poetry and drama texts studied.

Finally in the Summer Term, students will experience classic novelists such as Dickens and The Brontes. They will study the social and historical culture of these texts and some of the writer’s key techniques. They will also study fiction texts as part of an independent learning project. In this term. students will be formally assessed with an end of year exam.


In Year 8 students remain in the same mixed ability sets as year 7

In the Autumn Term, they will start with reading a novel, (for example, Millions, Ravensgate, Stone Cold.) They will also study a full Shakespeare Text, to learn how analyse plot and characters (Much Ado about Nothing/Twelfth Night).

In the Spring Term, they will experience a variety of fiction and non-fiction from the Gothic genre-again to develop language and structural analysis as well as creative writing. In addition, they will be encouraged to further social and contextual knowledge of the period. In this term students will also study a range of excerpts from contemporary fiction texts in preparation for examination skills.

Finally in the Summer Term, students will study a wide range of poetry about places, analysing and comparing writers’ techniques and methods. Speaking and listening skills will be embedded through the study of the poetry unit. Students will be able to practise functional writing skills, using formal writing skills and will participate in a non-fiction independent learning project

Syllabus at KS4:

The students sit examinations with the exam board AQA. Links to the syllabus for each GCSE can be found below

All students will be entered for two qualifications studied together in tandem:

  1. GCSE English Language: Click Here for the Specification.
  2. English Literature: Click Here for the Specification 


In Year 9 students are set according to ability and progress.

In this year, students will study a range of texts and techniques that will prepare them for the transition to GCSE and the assessments they do, will reflect this.

In Term 1 they will be taught how to respond to unseen examination texts (these texts will be fiction texts from different genres). Students will be expected to embed and develop their analytical skills. . They will study the first Act of a Shakespeare play that they will take at GCSE (Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet). They will also study, in depth, a text from the 19th century, such as A Christmas Carol or Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. To prepare them for GCSE, they will also have a chance to develop their spoken language skills with a group charity presentation.

In Term 2 they will study a range of nonfiction texts, focusing on writers’ viewpoints and perspectives addition they develop their writing skills with a focus on Creative Writing. They will also experience a range of classical and contemporary poetry on the theme of Conflict and Power.

In Term 3 Students will read a contemporary text, (An Inspector Calls). Students will also have the opportunity to study a wide range of fiction texts by participating in an independent learning project. Students will be formally assessed with and end of year examination

(Please note, that due to resource sharing and staffing, there will be occasions when this order of study will not be followed, however, all topics will be completed by the end of each year)


In year 10 students are working on covering the content of the syllabus and on learning examination skills. They will sit a ‘mock exam’ type assessment every half term.

In the Autumn Term, all students begin the course with responses to non-fiction extracts. This will provide opportunities for extensive examination practice and functional writing. All students will revisit and revise their 19th Century prose text, focusing on close analysis and linking this to the whole text. Assessments in Literature will be ‘closed book’ meaning students will need to learn and use quotations without the aid of the text.

In the Spring Term, all students will work on a Shakespeare text (Macbeth /Romeo and Juliet), focusing again on close analysis and whole text knowledge. Students will also study a ‘Conflict and Power’ anthology of poetry, analysing and comparing writers’ meaning and methods. They will also develop their ‘unseen ‘ poetry analysis skills.

Finally in the Summer Term, all students will work on analysing and comparing a range of nonfiction texts in preparation for Year 10 mock examinations. They will revisit and revise An Inspector Calls, focusing on theme, character and whole text knowledge. Student will be formally assessed in this term through mock examinations, which will take place in the hall.


In Year 11, students are primarily working towards final examinations in English Language and English Literature.

Term1-All students will work on the Reading and Writing sections of the English Language examination papers. A mock exam will be taken during this term and opportunities given to work on areas of weakness. Students will also practise English Literature mock questions on Shakespeare and the 19th century prose text.

Term 2-All students will be working on Examination skills with an initial focus on poetry. Students will also sit additional mock exams in Literature, covering all Literature texts.

Term 3- All students will be working on Examination skills with an initial focus on Language. Students will sit mock exams in Language and Literature, covering all examination areas.

As students’ progress to KS4, learning outside the classroom will involve research and preparation for all 4 examinations.There will be one formal task to complete each week. The department offers Period 6 support lessons for students who require intervention, this will be initially by invitation only, but will be rolled out to all students as the examinations draw nearer.

For extra support we would recommend students visit BBC Bitesize English and complete the revision and test activities provided. It is also recommended, due to the closed book nature of exams, that students buy copies of the set texts so that they can reread at home. Study guides are also available to order from the department. Above all, wider reading at home should be encouraged for enjoyment and confidence building.

The department also runs regular revision and holiday classes to extend knowledge and prepare for examination

Useful Revision Websites

Study revision website –

BBC Bitesize –

A Christmas Carol audio book BBC schools radio:

BBC I player – Dr Jekyll documentary:

Macbeth song resources –

Macbeth podcasts –

An Inspector Calls revision videos – 15 mins each –

Creative writing resources –