Through the skills of analysis, synthesising, extrapolating meaning and writing fluently, we want to foster a life-long passion for the beauty of the English language in our students.

We use class novels and plays and poetry, operating a spiral curriculum, whereby students re-visit key ideas and build on them, until they are able to read critically with awareness of the writer’s craft and communicate their understanding and enjoyment in discussion and in writing.  At the heart of our curriculum is our desire for students to empathise and to understand relationships, psychology and people. We want them to be critical thinkers who understand, appreciate and question the world around them; to learn how lives have been shaped across time; to learn to experience things that in ‘real’ life they may never experience. We want them to experience the beauty and tragedy contained in the world of literature and for this to help shape the people they become.

Our text choices aim to broaden students’ understanding of life’s ‘big’ ideas, using a range of authors to accomplish this. From Shakespeare to Shelley, Woolf to Wordsworth, Agbabi to Blackman, our students experience both canonical and contemporary writing to give them a sense of both continuity and change.

Beyond the classroom, we give our students a wide range of opportunities to attend theatre trips, lectures and workshops to ensure they recognise the direct relevance and application of literature in the real world.

Tap headings to expand.

KS3 English

Our updated curriculum is designed to ensure that our students are engaging with a wide range of authors, ideas and concepts. In each year at KS3, students study prose, poetry and drama, enhancing their confidence and familiarity with each form. Texts and content have been selected to best equip our students with a strong set of skills and contextual knowledge for their further studies - and, of course, for their life-long reading.

Year 7

1 A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness)

2 Cultural Poetry (Wallingford Anthology)

3 Short Stories (Wallingford Anthology)

4 The Village Project

5 An Introduction to Shakespeare

Year 8

Animal Farm (George Orwell)

2 Wallingford Writing Warriors

3 Poetic Voices (Wallingford Anthology)

5 Noughts and Crosses (Malorie Blackman)

6 The Merchant of Venice (William Shakespeare)

Year 9

1 The Ruby in the Smoke (Philip Pullman)

2 Love and Relationship Poetry

3 Gothic Fiction (Wallingford Anthology)

4 Othello (William Shakespeare)

GCSE English


GCSE English Language

Paper 1: Explorations in creative reading and writing. Assessment: Section A (25%): Reading – one literature fiction text; Section B (25%): Writing – descriptive or narrative writing. Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes 80 marks 50% of GCSE

Paper 2: Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives. Assessment: Section A: Reading – one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text; Section B: Writing – writing to present a viewpoint. Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes 80 marks 50% of GCSE

Paper 3: Spoken Language Endorsement. This consists of a presentation during which the following skills are assessed:

a) presenting

b) responding to questions and feedback

c) use of Standard English.

(Tasks are set and assessed by the pupils’ teachers throughout the course. A descriptor (pass/merit/distinction) for this separate endorsement is shown on the GCSE certificate, but this does not count towards the students' final grade.)

GCSE English Literature (‘Closed book’ examinations)

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th century novel. (Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes /64 marks /40% of GCSE. )

Section A Shakespeare: pupils will answer one question on one play. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.

Section B The 19th-century novel: pupils will answer one question on one novel. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.

Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry. (Written exam: 2 hours 15 minutes / 96 marks / 60% of GCSE. )

Section A Modern texts: pupils will answer one essay question from a choice of two on their studied modern prose or drama text.

Section B Poetry: students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster. S

Section C Unseen poetry: Students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.


English at KS4: Our students build on their substantial KS3 knowledge in a cohesive manner, recognising how their study of literary concepts such as tragic tropes, gothic conventions and narrative structure at KS3 aids the depth of understanding of texts at KS4. At this stage, essay-writing becomes a key focus, with the language analysis of KS3 feeding directly into the students’ ability to create cogent lines of argument, exploring themes and characters in a conceptual manner.


Year 10

Power and Conflict Poetry (AQA Anthology)

Language Paper 1 - Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

An Inspector Calls (J.B. Priestley)

A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)

Year 11

Macbeth (William Shakespeare)

Speaking and Listening Assessments

Language Paper 2 - Writers' Viewpoints and Perspectives

A Level English


The A-level is awarded after two years, with a final grade determined by three external examinations worth 80% of the total marks, and a non-examined assessment (NEA) worth 20% of the total marks. Work on the NEA begins at the end of Year 12 and is completed at the start of Year 13; it consists of a 2,500 word comparative essay on two texts of the student's choice. Students, with support and guidance from their teacher, are expected to set their own question. The three external examinations (Drama / Poetry / Prose) are then sat in May of Year 13. All exams are 'open book'.

Timed class essays and homework essays are set throughout the course in conjunction with the following key internal assessment points:

  • mid-point assessment in February (Y12)
  • end of year assessment in May (Y12)
  • mock exams in January (Y13)


At A level, our students are continually encouraged to develop independent thought, engage in debate and use the critical opinions of others to enhance their appreciation of the complexity and beauty of our subject. The chosen texts for study ensure that students are studying a wide-range of canonical literature, all of which holds significant cultural capital in both the world of academia and wider society. The relevance of these texts are continually assessed, and text choices may change to reflect the interests of new cohorts.

Moreover, at A level, the non-examined assessment (NEA), allows students to explore an area of personal interest, with 20% of the final grade secured through an extended comparative essay, as the studied texts and question are chosen by the student. This begins to mimic the next stages of study at university, where modules are selected based on individual interest, and means that students are given the opportunity to shape their own A level course.


Year 12

Poems of the Decade (Forward Anthology)

A Streetcar Named Desire (Tennessee Williams)

King Lear (William Shakespeare)

Non-Examined Assessment

English Romantic Verse (Penguin Anthology)

Year 13

English Romantic Verse (Penguin Anthology)

Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy)

Mrs Dalloway (Virginia Woolf)