English Literature

Key Stage 3:

From the very first day in Year 7 we are preparing our students for their GCSEs, English is very much a skills based subject and so we are continually revisiting vital components that students need to master.

Y7 to Y9 is specifically mapped to cover essential skills needed for the 4 exam papers they will sit at the end of Y11.

A sample of Y7 topics:

  • The Hunger Games. Through this text we explore plot, characterisation and themes – ideas that are at the heart of the Literature paper. We also look at writing skills, specifically descriptive writing, and how to construct effective sentences, use ambitious vocabulary and the appropriate use of figurative language.
  • Culture. Through this theme we look at comprehension skills and how writers use language to create mood and atmosphere, and explore implied meanings. We also use this theme to explore poetry and the effect of language.

A sample of Y8 topics:

  • Slam Jam Project. Through this competition we explore writing skills, they will experiment with a wide range of sentence structures and punctuation for deliberate purpose and effect, and develop crucial editing skills.
  • Isolation. Through this theme they will study ‘Of Mice and Men’ exploring characterisation and themes and respond to exam style questions. They will also read non-fiction texts and make comparisons.


A sample of Y9 topics:

  • Short stories. Through this topic they will explore how a writer has structured the text to engage a reader. They will also focus on how to evaluate texts.
  • Blood Brothers. In year 9 we introduce GCSE texts. Through this text they explore character motivation and debate key ideas that run through the text.

Assessment in Y7-9 is done termly and links directly to the skills we have been developing in class. As everything is directly focused on the skills required for GCSE, these assessments are GCSE style questions. Assessments take place in exam-like conditions in order to fully prepare students for the 100% exam.

GCSE English Literature

Under the new framework, English Literature is now a compulsory GCSE that all students must take. English Literature is a highly respected GCSE due to the academic nature of the course.

There are 2 components to English Literature:

  1. Paper 1. Shakespeare and the 19th century novel.
  2. Paper 2. Modern Texts and Poetry.

Paper 1. Shakespeare and the 19th century novel.

Students will either study ‘Macbeth’ or ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘A Christmas Carol.’ For both of these questions students will be given one question that will either focus on theme or characterisation and an extract to support. The exam is 1 hour and 45 minutes so their responses will be extended.

Paper 2. Modern Texts and Poetry.

The modern text they study will be either ‘An Inspector Calls’ or ‘Blood Brothers’. They will have a choice of question but no extract to support them. The poetry element of this exam is divided into 2 sessions: the poetry anthology and unseen poetry. The anthology consists of 15 pieces of poetry that students will analyse in lessons but the exam is closed book so they will not have the anthology to support them. The unseen poetry assesses their ability to analyse poetry that they haven’t been able to prepare.

The Literature exam is bigger than ever before, and there’s now a real focus on knowledge not just the application of skills. In order to support your child we suggest that you buy your own copies of the text so they can bring these each lesson and annotate in lesson. Furthermore there are some fantastic revision guides available which we would recommend you purchase at the start of Y10 so they can begin their revision from the start of the course.