Our main aims in the English Department are to stimulate enthusiasm for literature and language and to encourage students to develop personal judgements and progressively more analytical views on the texts studied.  We seek to enable students to develop their own voice and style through a range of writing activities, both in the classroom, and through extra-curricular enrichment opportunities.  We also seek to encourage an exploratory atmosphere in the English classroom, where students feel that their contributions are welcome and that intellectual enquiry and creative experimentation are enjoyable activities.

English lessons are delivered by a team of innovative subject experts who value scholarship and nurture engagement. We aim to challenge developing minds and support learning at every level. We aim to produce resilient students who embrace challenge and who will leave school, regardless of their A Level options, with an appreciation of the written and spoken word in all its forms.

The units and texts we teach are under constant review to ensure suitability in terms of challenge and content, but also diversity of writers and themes.  As the world rapidly changes, we seek to provide teaching and learning in English which is both appropriate for the 21st Century but also includes key text and concepts from the rich history of literature and communication.

What is studied at KS3?

Students have five/six hours a fortnight of English teaching. 

We study a whole Shakespeare play every year in addition to modern and 19th century novels and drama, poetry across the ages, and a range of non-fiction texts. The aim in KS3 is to encourage an enjoyment of reading and thinking about different interpretations, as well as embedding the important skills required for success at KS4, such as reading for meaning, analysis of the writer’s craft, comparisons and evaluations. This also includes the awareness of what kind of learner is successful in the subject of English. 

In Year 7, one of the English periods is devoted to independent reading and reflection on the reading, as well as presentations on books and reading.  Kendrick School has a thriving reading culture, supported by the well-stocked and welcoming library, and this is fostered throughout KS3.    In Y7, students also have a dedicated period of literacy and writing skills, covering aspects of spelling, grammar, punctuation and writing styles, including creative writing.  Y7’s current set texts include Shakespeare’s  A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce and a unit of poetry on the theme of Animals.

In Year 8 students have a dedicated period of English skills per fortnight, with intensive learning on specific aspects and concepts of English.  This learning is always linked to relevant high-quality literacy or non-fiction extracts so that learning is contextualised.  This supports their exploration of their set texts, which currently includes Shakespeare’s The Tempest by William Shakespeare, Animal Farm by George Rowell, and a Poetry Anthology called Poetry from Different Cultures, including works by John Agard, Imtiaz Dharker and Grace Nichols.  They also explore aspects and extracts from a range of 19th Century classic novels, with a particular favourite being Dickens’ Greta Expectations.

In Year 9, in addition to their set texts (currently including Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D Taylor and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet), students have a period a fortnight dedicated to language and non-fiction reading and writing skills.  This is in part to develop familiarity and facility with some of the skills needed for GCSE.  This includes elements of persuasive writing and speaking, which is enriching and engaging in its own right. 

Students who need additional support in core English skills are supported by our Literacy co-ordinator Mrs Debbie Cundy, who takes one-to-one and small group sessions.

What is studied at KS4?

All students are entered for both GCSE English and English Literature. Lessons are very interactive, with plenty of discussion, debate, group work and presentations. Students are encouraged to listen actively to each other as well as the teacher.

The current board used in Kendrick School is Eduqas for both English Literature and English Language.

The English Literature syllabus calls for detailed study of a Shakespeare play, a 19th Century novel, a 20th century novel or play and a poetry anthology. Current options for the set texts (chosen by each group’s teacher according to their specialisms) include Macbeth or Othello or The Merchant of Venice, and Pride and Prejudice or A Christmas Carol, and An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley.

The English Language syllabus calls for students to be able to analyse and understand the genre, audience, purpose, style, tone, intention and effect in a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, and to further draw on this knowledge to produce their own creative work in fiction and non-fiction texts.  Students learn how to develop their creative writing skills into engaging and meaningful short narratives, and they also learn how to write persuasive and effective non-fiction, including formal letters and emails, articles, speeches and reviews. 

The language syllabus also includes a qualification in Speaking and Listening.  The students produce and deliver a presentation on an issue which is important to them and that requires some form of persuasion. This provides a valuable opportunity to practise skills in formal public speaking, and many students get a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction from this task.

The literature and language courses involve an overlap of skills, including close reading, analysis, comparison, and evaluation and communication appropriate to the task. These skills are developed in some way in every lesson.

What is studied at KS5?

We offer English Literature A Level and AS Level at Kendrick School. Students who succeed in this course are keen readers who welcome the challenge of increasingly difficult texts. Reading is a highly active enterprise; it requires sustained and focused attention, as well as the skills of memory, creativity, interpretation and higher-order thinking. In addition to being active readers, successful English A Level students are eager to discuss their reading and ideas and to increasingly place the texts within a wider historical, cultural and social background, which might be informed by their other subject choices. They are also able to write fluent, persuasive and confident essays, a skill that is regularly practised and developed.  They will also develop their skills in research, and in constructing a formal academic dissertation-style piece of work.  The skills that are learned in A-Level prepare students for a wide range of further study or employment in the future.

The current board used at Kendrick School for English Literature A Level is OCR.

The exam texts currently studied (all subject to change) are:

Year 12 – A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, Hamlet by William Shakespeare, The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, Paradise Lost (Books 9 and 10) by John Milton

Year 13 – The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde

In Year 13 A Level students also write two pieces of analytical and comparative coursework on set texts, plus a text of their own choosing (this accounts for 20% of the A Level course).  Students frequently find the reading, research, drafting and writing of the coursework a fascinating and fulfilling process. 

Some students choose to take the AS exam at the end of Year 12.  The same four books as those studied at A Level are examined, and students are fully supported through the process.

We invite students at the end of Year 12 to apply for the role of English Ambassadors in the school.  The Ambassadors contribute to promoting English as an A Level subject, but also to promoting reading and literature in general, through a range of events, displays etc.   

Link to the course page



Mr Stephen Dilley - Subject Leader of English

Ms Jennifer Fieldsend – Second in English Department
Miss Serife Akcay - English
Miss Steph Hyde - English and Drama

Mrs Rosie Munns - English 

Mrs Debbie Cundy - Literacy Support