Key Stage 3:

Creating a lifetime love of reading is at the core of our Key Stage 3 English curriculum at St. Joseph’s.

Texts have been selected for pupil enjoyment in addition to the rigour and challenge they present.  Pupils receive eight lessons per fortnight of English and receive a weekly homework task.  Pupils follow a very structured modular system which enables them to experience a wealth of materials across their three years.

In each year group, pupils will study: a modern novel, a selection of poetry based on a theme, a modern play and a Shakespeare play in addition to a range of non-fiction texts, based on a theme.  During year 9, pupils will be exposed to some of their GCSE Literature texts to embed the content and skills required for the GCSE course.

In addition to an exciting core curriculum at key stage 3, we also have a distinct skills lesson to build and develop on core reading and writing skills learned at key stage 2.  We work with our Catholic Primary feeder schools to support students in their transition from year 6 into year 7 to aid consistent progress.

Finally, we encourage our students to participate in a variety of competitions and fund-raising events throughout the year such as: Readathon, World Book Day, Radio 2’s ‘500 Words’ short story competition.  Wherever possible we participate in a range of extra-curricular opportunities, such as theatre visits, attending poetry workshops and a reading club.

Curriculum Intent

Key Stage 3 Documents


Key Stage 4:

At GCSE level, pupils receive bespoke Literature and Language lessons with a different teacher for each of the two subjects. For both courses we study for the AQA examinations. Pupils will ultimately sit 2 papers for each subject at the end of year 11. The examinations are worth 100% of the pupil’s overall grade.

Please click the following link for English Revision Resources:

Revision Resources

A small cohort of pupils – approximately 25 although this number does vary from year to year – follow a split entry pathway.  For these students, they have 8 lessons of Literature per fortnight with one teacher during year 10 and sit their Literature GCSE in the May of their year 10.

These pupils continue with the same teacher during year 11 where they receive 8 hours per fortnight of Language and will sit their Language examinations at the end of Year 11. We find that for some of our students sitting one examination early benefits not only their English results but also eases the pressure of year 11 and so benefits their results across the curriculum.

In their Literature course, pupils’ study:

  • the 19th Century Novel: ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare
  • The modern drama ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J.B.Priestley
  • 15 poems based on Power and Conflict
  • A range of unseen poetry

Pupils are provided with copies of the texts to use in all their lessons, but some students do find it useful to have their own copies which they can annotate and read at home.

Throughout the course, pupils are provided with revision guides written within the department and are able to attend extra intervention session as required. Where possible, we attend productions of plays at local theatres and utilise local poets for workshops on the poetry selection and unseen.

In their language course, pupils study a wealth of fiction and non-fiction texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.  Pupils develop their analytical skills of the language and structural choices employed by writers, in addition to comparing texts considering their contexts and perspectives.

Pupils also develop in their writing skills, progressing both in fiction and non-fiction writing genres.  Often, GCSE Language exams are the most enjoyed by pupils as they allow freedom of expression in the writing requirements.

As part of their language course, pupils must also complete a spoken language presentation to their peers on a topic of their choice.  Pupils relish this opportunity to persuade and argue for a cause they believe in and are often very moving.  Tasks pupils undertake are political, topical and significant for both themselves and their generation.


Key stage 4 documents

GCSE English Language Paper 2 Knowledge Organiser

GCSE English Language Paper 1 Knowledge Organiser

Literature Power and Conflict Knowledge Organiser

Literature An Inspector Calls Knowledge Organiser

Literature Jekyll and Hyde Knowledge Organiser Final

Literature Macbeth Knowledge Organiser

Unseen Poetry Knowledge Organiser

Progression Model English



Key Stage 4 Useful Website:




https://www.massolit.io/    (your teacher will send you the links)


On YouTube, any revision by: Mr Bruff, Mr Salles, Stacey Reay are very useful.

Curriculum Information:



Key Stage 5:

Why study English Language?

A Level English Language is a subject which will absolutely take your breath away. Have you ever thought about the physicality involved with actually producing words? How your brain, tongue, teeth, lips, airways and vocal cords have to operate at such a speed to produce noises that we now recognise as words?

Have you ever considered why people have different accents? How the weather can impact on your dialect? Did you ever consider that gender plays a significant role in how we verbally ‘behave’ within conversation? Or how technology is one of the driving factors of language change?

A level English Language is an absolutely fascinating subject and one which will enthral you from day one until the end.

A Level English Language

In Year 12, you will study:

  • A bridging unit from GCSE which develops analysis, interpretation and understanding of language levels within vocabulary, grammar, graphology, discourse and pragmatics. If you thought grammar was boring, then this will absolutely astound you how exciting and bewitching it truly is.
  • Child Language acquisition study of the early stages of children’s spoken language development. Have you ever considered how children learn to speak? Do we simply repeat what we hear? Or is there more to it? Do all babies around the world undergo the same language stages at the same time? Are all babies’ cries the same regardless of which country they are born into? It is these types of questions which drive the study of this core concept of language.
  • Sociolinguistics, including Sociolect, idiolect, dialect in addition to diversity, focusing on occupation; gender; ethnicity.
  • Two pieces of coursework: one piece of original writing based on an existing style model. A second piece of language investigation where students individually study and analyse language use which interest them.


In Year 13, you will study:

  • Child Language Development within writing and reading. This unit develops your knowledge from year 12 in considering how children learn to write and how they learn to read.
  • Language diversity, including: world Englishes; language change; diversity; and computer and media communication. Here, you will investigate how language has changed over the past 1,000 years! As well as how English speakers around the world use grammar and lexis differently and, more importantly, why. And, of course, how technology has significantly adapted and shaped our language.

At the end of Year 13 you will sit two external examinations. You will also submit two pieces of coursework in the December of Year 13.

We consistently strive to enhance the curriculum of English Language through opportunities outside of school. In particular, we endeavour for students to have a residential in an inspirational landscape to stimulate original writing for their coursework.

Additionally, you have the support of a highly knowledgeable and experienced team of staff who will guide you, support you and challenge you, every step of the way!


Key stage 5 Documents

A Level English Language Y11_12 bridging work 2022



Why Study English Literature?

Whether you love the analysis and critical skills of literature or the eccentrics of drama in all its flamboyance, English Literature has it all. Together we explore some of the greatest works of literature and provide you with the opportunity to showcase your skills with both unseen poetry and prose extracts which provide the platform to highlight your ability in all its glory.

The freedom of coursework enables students to take control of their literary learning and write a piece unique to their own personal interests.

A Level English Literature

Course Content

In Year 12, you will study for AQA specification A paper 1, Love Through The Ages:

  • William Shakespeare’s ‘Othello, the Moor of Venice’. The play follows the premier villain from Shakespeare, Iago, and follows his psychological assassination of the great General Othello. The play is one of Shakespeare’s four tragedies and never fails to entice and mesmerise.
  • Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’. A classic novel following a cycle of love triangles; violence; failed marriages; entrapment and, ultimately, true love. One of the greatest love stories ever written (and at no point is it a stereotypical love scenario), set in the wild and free Yorkshire moors which serves as the perfect back drop for our protagonists who refuse to be mild or tamed in any way.
  • A selection of pre-1900 love poetry (do not for a second think this is cliché romanticised poetry. This selection considers the chase of the unattainable love; loving the wrong person; how people abuse love; the loss of love; lust and its consequences)
  • Unseen poetry
  • One piece of comparative NEA (coursework).

In Year 13, you will study for AQA specification A paper 2A, Texts in shared contexts: WW1 and its aftermath:

  • David Haig, Our Boy Jack. Inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s poem My Boy Jack, the play follows the tragedy of Kipling whose son died during the First World War.
  • Pat Barker, Regeneration. A historical and anti-war novel which includes real life characters at its heart: Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfrid Owen and their psychiatrist William Rivers. The novel follows the characters during their time at the psychiatric hospital Craiglockhart which is near Edinburgh. A fascinating novel which is impossible to put down, particularly given the haunting truths it presents.
  • A collection of the war poems of Wilfrid Owen. A classic analysis of the greatest war poet of all time.
  • Unseen prose.

We endeavour to enhance our curriculum through additional learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Wherever possible, we attend local theatre productions, we regularly attend university level lectures of our core texts and we even go to Yorkshire, the home of Emily Bronte, in order to deepen our understanding of the sensational and isolated writer.

Who should I speak to: Mrs C. Curry, Acting Assistant Headteacher and Curriculum Lead of English

[email protected]


Key stage 5 documents


Bridging Courses:

A Level English Literature Y11_12 bridging work 2021 SPEC B

A Level English Language Y11_12 bridging work 2021 (1)