Course Description 

The English Department at Gaynes aims to provide students with a challenging, inspiring and thought-provoking curriculum. We continually strive to help and develop all of our students to improve their written and spoken literacy, as well as to embed a genuine love of literature, whilst constantly encouraging students to be independent thinkers and to approach their learning with creativity and resilience.

The English department plays a central role in teaching students transferable skills that are essential in other subjects and in life. Students are given a voice through their work in English, meaning their work in the subject makes them more empowered, confident and secure in their identity and their place in the world. We are committed to reflecting the experiences of a range of different cultures as well as exploring British values both in the present day and throughout history.

Our expectations

Students are expected to read upwards of 9 books an academic year to develop their understanding, grow their vocabulary and stimulate their creative mindset.  As well as reading a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, students should also read from media such as newspapers.  For homework, students should practise given spellings and correct and re-draft work to increase their progress.   They should also create revision guides to assist memorisation of key literature quotes.


Curriculum Overview

Pupils follow the programme and study below. The order may be varied for different cohorts.

LTP OVERVIEW 2021 Page 1

In KS3 learners are offered a broad and balanced curriculum which encompasses a wide range of learning experiences, social, moral, spiritual and cultural issues, with a foundation based on spelling, punctuation and grammar.  Students will study works by historical and contemporary writers as part of their programmes of study.At KS3 students develop a range of skills in reading, writing and speaking and listening; this is achieved through engaging with challenging texts, tasks and ideas. Students are taught in sets to ensure that students’ learning is as challenging and personalised as possible. Students are regularly assessed and monitored so that we can celebrate exceptional achievement and ensure that we support them in their areas of difficulty. Lessons are planned to be challenging and engaging, encouraging students to become increasingly confident and reflective learners. A focus on improving skills across the key stage ensures clear progression between units and prepares pupils for the necessary skills required at GCSE and beyond.

All KS3 classes have a reading lesson once a week where pupils have the opportunity to read and discuss a set text with their class. These lessons encourage pupils to develop their voices as active readers, their inference skills and their ability to respond critically to a text.  These skills are essential at both KS3, KS4 and beyond. The department also enjoys excellent collaboration with the school’s library, which is stocked with books to cater for students with a range of interests

Covid Adjustments:

  • Focus on extended reading for literacy skills
  • Introduction of more linked texts so students can see patterns in writing
  • Focus on expressive creative writing in KS3
  • More differentiated worksheets for LA/SEND students who would have been impacted more by lockdowns
  • Poetry and texts have been updated to look at world issues and well-being


Course Overview

Students at GCSE follow the AQA GCSE English language and Literature Course (8700 and 8702):


Assessment components

The English Language GCSE encourages students to read a range of high-quality, challenging literature and non-fiction texts from a range of genres and types, including texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

There is an emphasis on making sure that students are able to write clearly and accurately, in clear Standard English. To ensure that this is achieved there is an increased emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar, as well as on the appropriate use of a range of increasingly sophisticated vocabulary and writing techniques.

The English Literature GCSE encourages students to read a wide range of classic literature fluently and will include assessment of:

  • A 19th century novel: ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde or A Christmas Carol’
  • A Shakespeare play: ‘Macbeth’
  • A selection of poetry since 1789 including representative Romantic poems, on the theme of Power and Conflict.
  • British fiction or drama from 1914 onwards: ‘An Inspector Calls’

Future Careers

English lends itself to a wide range of careers.  Some examples include careers as a/an: Teacher, Lawyer, Curator, Digital Copywriter, Editorial assistant, English as a foreign language teacher, Lexicographer, Magazine or Newspaper journalist, Publishing copy-editor/proof-reader, Web content manager, Writer.

GCSE Results 2022

Congratulations to the Year 11 students on achieving

96% grades 9-4 in English Language and

90% grades 9-4 in English Literature.

GCSE Results 2021

Congratulations to the Year 11 students on achieving

89.5% grades 9-4 in English Language and

95.3% grades 9-4 in English Literature.

GCSE Results 2020

Congratulations to the Year 11 students on achieving

  • 84.8% grades 9-4 in English Language and
  • 76.1% grades 9-4 in English Literature.

GCSE Results 2019

Congratulations to the Year 11 students on achieving

75.8% grades 9-4 in English Language and

85.7% grades 9-4 in English Literature.

Extra Curricular / Clubs

The English Department coordinates the Gaynes School Gazette, our school newspaper. We offer students the chance to fill different journalistic roles and ask them to explore key issues.

Curriculum-linked visits are also led by the Department, with trips to theatres, museums, workshops and other locations of literary significance planned (including our annual Belgium trip).

Useful Links

English language:

  • Read a range of fiction. This will increase imaginative, descriptive and narrative writing skills.
  • Read a range of non-fiction texts (free online broadsheet newspapers, magazines, internet articles, newsletters, reviews, reports, letters (formal and informal), leaflets and apps, (e.g. The Guardian) to ensure you are familiar with a range of writing styles and expand your vocabulary.
  • You should complete two hours of homework for English each week; you can always correct and redraft work independently to make sure students are improving constantly. Reading through and discussing homework is very useful.
  • Learn new vocabulary and check spellings using a dictionary and a thesaurus.
  • Try to use formal spoken language or Standard English when speaking to teachers or other members of staff.
  • You can use guides (available in the library) which include activities to improve punctuation, paragraphing and sentence variation.
  • Use Google Classroom to access relevant resources and information on units students are studying.
  • Parents can also check the website for updates and information on trips and competitions.
  • Resource/text books are available on Amazon to support your learning at GCSE. Look for guides relating to AQA English Language 9-1.

English Literature:

  • Try to read any set novels or plays at least twice in your own time.
  • Watch different versions of the texts you have studied.
  • Read a range of poetry-head to the library for inspiration.
  • Push your reading beyond set texts and develop opinions about writers’ stylistic choices, e.g. how they structure novels, plays and poetry.
  • Check your homework diary on a regular basis to ensure you’re not missing anything.
  • Use the internet to revise characters, themes, quotes and relevant context.
  • Revision guides are available in the library or bookshops.
  • Students can and should independently create revision guides to memorise key quotes using cue cards, sugar paper, post-its, etc.
  • Use Google Classroom to access relevant resources and information on Literature units students are studying.

Useful Websites for GCSE: