St Thomas More Catholic High School


Aims of the English Department


In the English Department we have a shared vision of excellence.  We have high expectations of ourselves and our pupils.  Our aim is that pupils achieve to their full potential and are engaged with their learning.  We aim to develop our pupils’ English skills so that they can fulfil this potential.  
To communicate competently and coherently in a range of contexts is vital both to exam success and to participating in an ever changing world.  Thus, we aim to integrate a wide range of skills in speaking, reading and writing into the learning of our pupils.  
Equally important is the need to ignite imagination and enthuse pupils through developing a love of literature and an appreciation of how language can affect a reader.  We aim to present pupils with the opportunity to explore and use language; to enjoy high quality literature and to develop a critical understanding of how writers communicate their ideas and of the contexts which shape their writing.
English language and English literature are both essential subjects in enriching the lives of our pupils and also enabling them to access further study and careers.  The English teachers are subject specialists and communicate their enthusiasm for the subject through delivering imaginative, challenging and engaging lessons.  Pupils at STM enjoy their learning in English and fulfil our high expectations for achieving success in this subject.




Key Stage 3
At KS3, pupils will experience a wide range of stimulating reading material from Shakespeare to Dickens and then contemporary fiction and non-fiction.  They will be given the opportunity to explore and  analyse the writers’ ideas and methods while developing their own personal responses.  Pupils will also develop their own communication skills through writing for a range of purposes and audiences.
Year 7


  • Transition Unit
  • Class Novel
  • Point of View: Save My Pet!
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Poetry Study
  • The Island
  • Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Speaking Presentation
  • Literary Heritage Texts on the Theme of Animals


Year 8
  • Dragon’s Den
  • Class Novel
  • Gothic Horror
  • Point of View: CCTV
  • Scene of the Crime
  • Literary Heritage Poetry
  • Speaking Presentation
  • Comparison work on “Boy” by Roald Dahl and “Nicholas Nickleby” by Charles Dickens
  • Villains: “Great Expectations” and “Oliver Twist”
  • Tales of the Unexpected


Year 9
Year 9 is spent preparing for the GCSE courses by developing the skills needed.  These skills are developed through the following units.
  • Point of View: Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream”
  • Class Novel: “Of Mice and Men”
  • War Poetry
  • Review Writing
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • GCSE Speaking Presentation
  • “Woman in Black” or “Dr Jekyll”
  • Modern Poetry
  • Travel Writing


At GCSE, we believe that all pupils should study literature and engage with our rich literacy heritage. We aim, therefore, that all pupils will experience a range of texts and that most will be entered fro both GCSE English language and English literature.


We study the AQA specification for English language, specification 8700, and also for English literature, specification 8702.


The English language GCSE will be examined by 100% terminal examination, consisting of two papers.  Paper one tests reading skills: comprehension, analysis and evaluation in response to an unseen literary extract, and writing skills: describe/narrate.  Paper two requires pupils to read two unseen non fiction extracts, one of which will be drawn from the 19th century.  They will have to analyse, synthesise information and compare methods used in the extracts.  In addition, they will have to write to argue and persuade.  Each paper is equally weighted to be worth 50% each, with technical accuracy counting for 20% of that final grade.  Accuracy will be assessed through the writing tasks.
English literature will also be assessed through 100% terminal examination at the end of a two year course.  Paper one requires the study of a Shakespeare play and a 19th century novel.  This paper is worth 40% of the final grade.  Paper two tests responses to a more contemporary novel, a cluster of taught poetry and two unseen poems.  This paper is worth 60%.  Spelling, punctuation and grammar are assessed in the Shakespeare answer on paper one and the contemporary novel answer on paper two.
The link to these qualifications is and then choose the specifications with codes 8700 for English language and 8702 for English literature.   


Top Revision Tips
  • Follow the guidance given by your class teacher.
  • Learn your notes and what material to include in each question.
  • Analyse language and evaluate its effectiveness.
  • Check written accuracy.


On line Revision
You can contact Mrs Dunlevy, Curriculum Leader for English here.