​Department description

The English Department strives to create pupil-centred classrooms, which promote talk, experimentation and collaborative learning. With our themed curriculum, we expose students to a range of prose, drama, poetry, media and non-fiction texts to enrich cultural capital and reflect the diversity at ICHS and in the wider world.

We support pupils to take leadership roles in running their own clubs. The English Department hosts a huge range of extra-curricular activities and clubs including: Reading Ambassadors, Knitting Book Club, Film Skool, Debating Club, Drama Club, Rap Club etc. We also aim to have at least one trip and talk per year group per academic year.

Reading for pleasure is encouraged and students are taught how to make use of the school’s Learning Resource Centre to access any books they might desire. Some lessons, particularly in Year 7, take place in the LRC so that a love of reading is fostered early on.


Key Stage 3

We view learning as a journey and the KS3 units have been designed to make the journey as engaging, but also intellectually challenging, as possible. Our KS3 mark scheme is based on objectives, which students revisit in every year of KS3 to fully embed the skills and subject knowledge required to excel. Assessments feature a mix of essay, creative and transactional writing.

The English Department has pledged to be a 'Lit in Colour Pioneer' school. This is a project run by Edexcel and we have already started diversifying the curriculum to include texts from a range of cultures, perspectives and time periods. We promote discussion and learning over issues such as neurodiversity, disability, gender, race and social class. KS3 English is an extremely creative and thought-provoking subject where students’ ideas are truly valued.


Key Stage 4

GCSE students follow the AQA Language and Edexcel Literature courses. For Literature, pupils explore a Shakespeare text, a modern drama, poetry and a 19th century prose text. In Year 10, students typically prepare for Paper 1 for each course and then start Paper 2 in Year 11. Students must also complete a Spoken Language Endorsement, which assesses their spoken language skills. The reading, writing, speaking and listening skills are intentionally scaffolded from KS3 upwards to make the transition to KS4 as seamless and smooth as possible.


Key Stage 5

The A-Level course is designed as a follow-on from GCSE and further develops students’ appreciation of and engagement with literary and non-literary material. Excitingly, pupils are given the opportunity to explore and compare two texts entirely of their own choice. Students are supported to undertake research in their own area of interest. Such autonomy is excellent preparation for further study, as many courses demand a dissertation or similar.​

Ultimately, English is widely recognised by universities and employers as a well-respected academic course. It is suitable for all careers and is particularly pertinent to law, administration, media/PR and publishing. Our Department is composed of staff who have backgrounds in these industries.


English Subject Links

Poetry ArchiveEnglishbizUniversal TeacherBartleby Cambridge


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