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The Barlow RC High School


Curriculum Area: English
Senior Leaders: Mrs Turner, Mrs Seddon
Curriculum Leader: Miss Eakin
Deputy Curriculum Leader: Mr Richards
Additional Staff: Miss Broadhurst, Mr Green, Miss Greaves, Mrs Hallworth, Miss Hayes, Miss McGlashan, Miss O’Keeffe

English Learning Journey

Inspirational Quote

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Curriculum Intent

The study of English at The Barlow strives to foster a love and curiosity of language and literature and nurture literate and articulate individuals. 

We enable all pupils to write strong and convincing arguments in a number of contexts and to create and tell their own stories that interest and engage their readers. 

As English teachers we model high levels of accuracy in writing and reading and expect the pupils we teach to do the same. 

We will passionately deliver an ambitious curriculum that includes the powerful knowledge that will open up society and culture to our young people. We will teach, enrich and guide our pupils towards seeing and experiencing the world in diverse ways.

Key Stage 3 Curriculum

Pupils study a range of topics, engaging with diverse texts, ranging from plays, to 19th century literature, to modern poetry. Through Key Stage 3 pupils develop skills in both reading and writing with high levels of accuracy, gaining powerful knowledge and cultural capital.
Some of our Key Stage 3 topics include:

Year 7

  • Heroes, myths and legends – an introduction to conventions and morality in myths from the Odyssey to Beowulf.
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream – a delve into Shakespeare’s comedy of chaos and confusion.
  • Gothic Writing – pupils develop an awareness of the gothic genre and gothic writing through the story of Dracula.
  • Speak Out Poetry – pupils reflect of their own identity and voice through listening to and reading a diverse range of performance poetry, ending in a class Poetry Slam.
  • Women in Literature – pupils consider stereotypes and the portrayal of female archetypes throughout history, from fairy tales to 19th century literature
  • Boy 87 – pupils study this modern novel about the refugee crisis, engaging in themes of family, resilience and survival.

Year 8

  • Dystopian Worlds – using extracts from texts such as ‘1984’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, pupils develop analytical and critical thinking skills of dystopian societies.
  • Floodland – pupils study this modern novel about climate change, engaging in themes of hierarchy, order and democracy.
  • Travel Writing – pupils develop writing skills to describe vastly different places from around the world.
  • Cultural Poetry – pupils read and analyse poetry from a range of authors including ‘Blessing’, ‘Island Man’ and ‘Search for my Tongue’
  • Blood Brothers – pupils learn about the conventions of a modern play while exploring themes of class, loyalty and violence.
  • A Better World – pupils consider what a modern, democratic society means and develop skills in speech writing, the rhetoric and campaigning.

Year 9

  • Noughts and Crosses – pupils develop their skills of reading dialogue in this speculative play about discrimination and forbidden love set in a political, divided society.
  • Romeo and Juliet – pupils compare and draw parallels between ‘Noughts and Crosses’ and their second Shakespeare play of KS3.
  • Poetry and Short Stories – pupils consolidate their KS3 poetry skills through looking at unseen poetry about family relationships.
  • Creative writing – pupils engage in the horror and detective genre to develop their own story writing skills.
  • Sherlock Holmes – pupils use their learning about detective genre to read Sherlock Holmes – A Study in Scarlet, rooted in 19th century context.
  • Speeches – pupils end their KS3 journey engaging in modern speeches about equality, prejudice and discrimination, gender, race and politics.

Key Stage 4 Curriculum

English Language

The English Language GCSE course enables students of all abilities to develop the skills they need to read, understand and analyse a wide range of different texts covering the 19th, 20th and 21st century time periods as well as to write clearly, coherently and accurately using a range of vocabulary and sentence structures. The English Language course in delivered through a skills-based approach in an untiered context.

For GCSE English Language pupils should:

  • read fluently, and with good understanding, a wide range of texts from the 19th, 20th and
    21st centuries, including literature and literary non-fiction as well as other writing such as
    reviews and journalism
  • read and evaluate texts critically and make comparisons between texts
  • summarise and synthesise information or ideas from texts
  • use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing
  • write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately
  • use grammar correctly and punctuate and spell accurately
  • acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of
    grammatical terminology, and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • listen to and understand spoken language and use spoken Standard English effectively.

At the end of Year 11, pupils will complete 2 examinations, both lasting 1 hour 45 minutes, which make up their English Language qualification. Paper 1 focuses on ‘Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing’, whereas Paper 2 is focused on ‘Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives’. Both exams have an equally-weighted reading and writing section.

English Literature

The English Literature course is designed for pupils to access a range of texts, including the 19th century novel ‘A Christmas Carol’, Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, the modern play ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J. B. Priestley and a selection of 15 poems from AQA’s ‘Power and Conflict’ poetry anthology. During the course students also experience a wide range of poetry in order to develop their ability to closely analyse unseen poems. They should be able to analyse and compare key features such as their content, theme, structure and use of language.

GCSE English Literature includes:

  • literal and inferential comprehension: understanding a word, phrase or sentence in context; exploring aspects of plot, characterisation, events and settings
  • critical reading: identifying the theme and distinguishing between themes; supporting a point of view by referring to evidence in the text; recognising the possibility of and evaluating different responses to a text; using understanding of writers’ social, historical and cultural contexts to inform evaluation; making an informed personal response that derives from analysis and evaluation of the text
  • evaluation of a writer’s choice of vocabulary, grammatical and structural features: analysing and evaluating how language, structure, form and presentation contribute to quality and impact; using linguistic and literary terminology for such evaluation
  • comparing texts: comparing and contrasting texts studied, referring where relevant to theme, characterisation, context (where known), style and literary quality; comparing two texts critically with respect to the above
  • producing clear and coherent text: writing effectively about literature for a range of purposes such as: to describe, explain, summarise, argue, analyse and evaluate; discussing and maintaining a point of view; selecting and emphasising key points; using relevant quotation and using detailed textual references
  • using accurate Standard English: accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar.

At the end of Year 11, pupils will complete 2 examinations which make up their English Literature qualification. Paper 1 is 1 hour 45 minutes and focuses on ‘Shakespeare and the 19th century novel’, whereas Paper 2 is focused on ‘Modern texts and Poetry’ and lasts 2 hours 15 minutes. Both exams have additional marks for accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Key Stage 4 Curriculum Support Materials

GCSE English Language https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/examspecs/zcbchv4

GCSE English Literature https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/examspecs/zxqncwx - Go to Macbeth, A Christmas Carol, An Inspector Calls, Power and Conflict Poetry.

Mr Bruff Revision videoshttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM2vdqz-7e4HAuzhpFuRY8w

Seneca website to complete homework set by teachers - https://senecalearning.com/en-GB/

Tassomai website to complete homework set by teachers - https://www.tassomai.com/


English can support a wealth of careers including:
Journalism, Communications, PR, Advertising, Marketing, Publishing, Film and television, Creative arts, Academia, the Civil Service as well as supporting writing roles including: Author, Playwright, Poet, Reporter or Copywriter.