We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.


Subject overview:

One of life’s most important skills is the ability to effectively communicate with those closest to us and the wider world, studying English is vital to the development of those skills. Exploring our world and humanity through the study of English provides insight into who we are and how we have built nurturing and interconnected communities which allow us, as individuals, to thrive.

Focusing on a range of reading and writing skills and the importance of accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar are central to students’ studies and help to prepare them for life beyond education.

Director of English:  Mr A Duncan, MA andrew.duncan@swale.at 

Key Stage 3

Throughout their Key Stage 3 English lessons, pupils learn to read, write and speak with confidence and enthusiasm.  As well as studying a range of modern novels and texts from the literary canon, students will encounter plays, poems, non-fiction texts and media texts from all over the world.  Modern texts include Markus Zuzak's The Book Thief, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus and Phillip Pullman's adaptation of Frankenstein, and the study of these texts is supported and enriched by classic texts such as Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and sections of The Iliad.  We encourage pupils to respond to texts through discussion and debate, allowing them to become critical, independent thinkers and learners.  The knowledge-rich curriculum prepares pupils for the challenges of KS4 and ensures pupils learn far beyond the walls of the classroom.

Key Stage 3 Reading List

Supporting your child with reading at home

Key Stage 4

In Years 10 and 11 pupils build on the knowledge and skills obtained at KS3.  As well as studying a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, pupils continue to develop their spoken language skills.  All pupils will complete the AQA English Literature and English Language GCSE courses as outlined below.  The tests they will be studying for the Literature examinations are Macbeth, A Christmas Carol, Lord of the Flies and the AQA Power and Conflict poems.  Pupils will also complete a spoken language certification as part of their GCSE English Language qualification.

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the nineteenth century novel

Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

Paper 2: Writers' Viewpoints and Perspectives


Key Stage 4 Reading List

Key Stage 5

In KS5, students continue their studies in English Literature with a more focused approach to genre and critical theory.

A-Level English Literature

In the A-Level, students study the genre of tragedy with a focus on Shakespearian tragedy as well as more modern texts such as 'The Great Gatsby'. Students are also encouraged to develop as critical readers, studying a range of critical literary theory including feminist, narrative, Marxist and postcolonial perspectives, which encourage them to approach texts in new and challenging ways. Independent study is also important: students must select a novel and a collection of poetry to produce coursework essays in which they examine these texts through the prism of their chosen critical perspective. In Year 13 the genre of Crime Fiction is explored in depth, where studied texts include Romantic poets Browning and Crabbe, Brighton Rock by Graham Greene and When Will There Be Good News by postmodern contemporary writer Kate Atkinson.

IB English Literature

Through the IB, students will study a range of texts from across the globe that were originally written in English, French, German, Hindi and other languages spoken around the world.  They will use these texts, which include fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays, to tackle difficult and timeless questions about race, culture, identity, conflict and power.  Students will also study a range of critical literary theory and be encouraged to read beyond their set texts in order to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of literature and the world around them.  Examples of texts included in this course are Antigone by Sophocles, If This Is a Man by Primo Levi, The Age of Reason by Jean-Paul Sartre, and Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  Students complete both oral and written examinations as part of their studies and are encouraged throughout the course to become knowledgeable and articulate communicators.

Key Stage 5 Reading List