Introduction to the Team:

Mr. A. Day – Senior Leader for English

Mrs. R. Rock –Lead Practitioner for English, and Academy Reading and Literacy

Mr. M. Wilcox – Assistant Curriculum Leader for English

Mrs. S. Slaney – Assistant Curriculum Leader for English

Mr. M. Sorby – Teacher of English and Assistant Principal

Miss. B. Corbett – Teacher of English and Head of Year 8

Mr. R. Schuck – Teacher of English

Mr. R. Bird – Teacher of English

Mrs. H. Bains – Teacher of English

Mr. A. Hutchins – Teacher of English

Subject Aims/Intent:

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”

(Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosopher)

Our intention in the English department at OSCA is to successfully implement a carefully designed ‘bigger picture’ curriculum at both Key Stage 3 and 4. A bigger picture curriculum is one that meets and transcends the 2014 English National Curriculum and aims to broaden our students’ cultural capital by instilling an appreciation of the varying voices and perspectives of our shared literary heritage; we hope that this will enable our students to establish a clear relationship with the world around them. The English department aims to achieve this through ensuring that all schemes of learning are designed to explicitly examine the historicity of the texts that we teach, most notably through embedding a keen focus on classical allusions, socio-political theory, and literary theory when reading and producing texts. In doing so, we intend to create discerning thinkers who are empathetic and tolerant. Through the quality first teaching of our bigger picture curriculum, we envision that all students – regardless of their starting points or academic ability – will enjoy English at OSCA and become competent and creative readers, writers and orators with a developed appreciation and understanding of the ever-evolving wider world around them.

To successfully implement our key intentions across all year groups, we have ensured, through our concise long-term planning, that our English curriculum offers challenging and stimulating schemes of learning that promote the development of students’ knowledge, understanding and skills.

Our curriculum planning sets ambitious expectations and ensures that we build on students’ prior knowledge as well as enabling us to fulfil all the requirements of the secondary National Curriculum. Primarily, this is achieved through a keen focus on developing spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of our schemes of learning. However, as a department, we are astutely aware that fluency in all aspects of English is an essential foundation for success across the Academy and in the wider world. Therefore, confidently implementing the National Curriculum is just one element in the education of every child that we consider when implementing our key intentions; in order achieve our aim of nurturing the ‘whole’ child, we also ensure there is time and space in our curriculum to range beyond the National Curriculum specifications at both Key Stage 3 and 4, developing cultural capital and emotional resilience at every opportunity.

As a department, we place great emphasis upon our students’ acquisition of knowledge and skills over time. Consequently, schemes of learning within our long-term planning are strategically sequenced so that students can acquire key knowledge and skills and build up further expertise and confidence over time through consistent evaluation and application in different contexts. To implement our well-planned curriculum, we have a consistent approach to teaching and learning that utilises the following methods and pedagogy:

  • Medium term planning clearly identifies core knowledge that all students must be taught but also identifies ‘extra’ and ‘expert’ knowledge that not only ensures a high level of challenge but also aids with personalisation.
  • Schemes of learning set the highest standard expected across all topics within all year groups.
  • At key points in the academic year, schemes of learning are topical and require students to evaluate a wide range of knowledge and skills across various texts and text types.
  • Clear interleaving of key knowledge across topics and year groups.
  • All schemes of learning use key symbols that explicitly highlight the following to staff and students: stretch and challenge tasks; introduction of new vocabulary; where students are expected to use prior knowledge from a previous lesson or topic; expert knowledge to learn and use; cross-curricular links; oracy skills and teamwork skills.
  • All schemes of learning develop our students culturally, socially, emotionally and/or spiritually.
  • Quality first teaching and high-quality learning resources, including pre-populated resources used when teaching core knowledge, standardised English OSCA examples and exam board key documents.
  • Utilising expert knowledge within all schemes of learning to ensure we reach beyond the range of the National Curriculum.
  • Keen focus on enriching our students’ understanding of the wider world around them when teaching key texts/ topics – we refer to this as our ‘bigger picture’ curriculum.
  • Use of Accelerated Reader programme in Year 7 and 8, as well as offering library facilities to all students in all year groups.
  • Homework tasks that complement appropriate key skills and knowledge.

Planning –
long term overview:

For an overview of the topics taught in English at Key Stage3 and Key Stage 4, please follow the link to an overview of topics:


In order to implement our vision, we ensure that our formative and summative assessment practices allows both staff and students to have a clear and confident understanding of the progress that is being made at key intervals. Below are some of the formative assessment strategies implemented throughout all schemes in all year groups to help track progress:

  • Implementation of weekly or fortnightly big questions – to evaluate the learning that has taken place over a sequence of lessons.
  • Low stakes quizzes – to test key terms, theories and new core, extra and expert knowledge.
  • Multiple choice questions – to ascertain understanding of core knowledge.
  • Rote learning tasks.
  • Expert knowledge quizzes – to teach allusions and expert context.
  • Convention quests – to demonstrate understanding of varied text types.
  • Recall/ comprehension quizzing – to check on core understanding of plot, character and/or a writer’s purpose and intentions.
  • Short application challenges to apply newly taught knowledge in short bursts.
  • Speaking and listening – discussions, presentations, and debates.

As a department, we also ensure that our summative assessments test core knowledge and skills whilst also giving students the opportunity to show a more developed understanding of any extra and expert knowledge they have acquired. Our consistent and robust assessment practices allow for all staff in the department to frequently evaluate the impact of our medium and long-term planning, allowing us to make adaptations when required. Therefore, as a team, we are confident that our curriculum remains appropriately challenging and enriching for all our students, whilst engendering a love of English Language and Literature.

Extra- Curricular, Curriculum experiences – clubs/trips/after-school/visits/enrichments include:

  • Creative writing club
  • Reading club
  • Poetry and short story competitions
  • Make Yourself Heard – oracy competition
  • Key Stage 4 ‘SuperLearn’ lectures
  • Expert knowledge competitions
  • Theatre trips
  • External speakers

Useful websites for further reading and guidance at Key Stage 3:

Please follow the links for further reading (including useful websites for parents and students) linked to the topics taught at both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.

Further reading and guidance at Key Stage 3:

Further reading and guidance at Key Stage 4:

Possible careers linked to English:

  • Speech and Language Therapy 
  • Computing
  • Teaching
  • Teacher of English as a Foreign Language
  • Translation and interpreting
  • Publishing
  • Law
  • Advertising
  • Government and politics
  • Consultancy
  • Film Industry
  • Lexicography
  • Forensics
  • Journalist

Our main aim in English at KS3 is to deliver an engaging and challenging curriculum that teaches students about the world in which we live by critically engaging with texts and experimenting with the intricacies of the English Language. With this in mind, we aim to nurture students’ resilience to creatively and confidently communicate their ideas through a variety of forms.

A key intention at Key Stage 3 is improving the reading ages of all our students by instilling a passion for reading for pleasure. We aim to introduce students to a broad range of fiction, non-fiction and multi-modal texts, allowing them to develop an appreciation of the ways in which the English Language depicts the inter-connecting aspects of life in many guises – from profound speeches to inspirational narratives. Throughout Key Stage 3, students will also be exposed to a plethora of authors and topics with a view to broaden their literary horizons and culture a more mature and philosophical perception of the wider world. We aim to achieve this through teaching a bigger picture curriculum that is centred around embedding literary theory to present challenging ideologies surrounding society, politics, history, religion and culture.

When exploring these topics, we endeavour to encourage students to envisage the ‘bigger picture,’ and so, we encourage them to use their knowledge and skills acquired in English to effectively convey their ideas both in the classroom and beyond. Overall, we aim for students in Key Stage 3 to become confident, critical readers, writers, and orators.

To complement previous understanding and knowledge acquired at Key Stage 3, we aim to achieve an increased level of academic autonomy, manifesting itself in students’ ability to develop subject-specific expertise, which builds upon our bigger picture curriculum. We intend for students to use their knowledge and communicative skills acquired in English as a stepping-stone to the world beyond OSCA.

Through our exploration of GCSE texts, encompassing varied authors, eras, and concepts, we intend to guide students towards a holistic understanding of how and why pieces of literature become influential and remain part of the collective consciousness for many years. Although confined to teaching texts from the GSCE syllabus, we intend to enrich students’ cultural capital through the study of powerful concepts that encapsulate many themes and ideas relevant to the wider world. For example, we explore society’s collective responsibility in Priestley’s An Inspector Calls and the broadening of cultural history when studying the poem Checking Out Me History by John Agard. By engaging with a range of authors, text-types, cultures, and concepts, we hope for students to comprehend the importance of the English Language in representing who and what we are.

In addition, our department aims to invest time in coaching students how to effectively craft their writing and improve their oracy skills to suit a range of purposes – whether that be to respond analytically to an exam question, craft a piece of descriptive writing, or compose a speech. Due to this, the teaching and application of exam-specific approaches is a key initiative we aim to consistently disseminate across the department to ensure students can organise their ideas in a sophisticated and logical way.

Furthermore, as a department, we value the opportunity to equip our students with original and enlightened knowledge, and so, we have developed and embedded ‘expert knowledge’ into our curriculum. The objective of expert knowledge is to offer tailored and unique perspectives and ideas on all our English Literature texts to help embellish students’ analytical writing with material that ranges beyond the confines of the National Curriculum. For example, when students study Shakespeare’s Macbeth, we intend for students to consider how the play could be a form of social propaganda, acting as an allegorical rulebook for suspect traitors in the Jacobean era. Overall, in Key Stage 4, we aim to ensure our students enter the wider world with a comprehensive view of the influential nature of English and its importance in shaping the society we live in.