Head of Department - Mrs H. Tamburro

The study of English is vital in enabling students to understand and communicate ideas, emotions and information. It is a subject that facilitates effective participation in a fast-paced world. Beyond its practical applications, English is central to the development of young people’s social, cultural, intellectual and spiritual development. We are in the privileged position of helping students develop their understanding, empathy and creativity by exploring a range of high-quality texts.

The Key Stage 3 curriculum (years 7-9) is inclusive and ambitious for all students, being both accessible to SEND pupils and providing challenge to the most able pupils. Teaching classes are mixed ability as we believe that all pupils should aspire to excellence and have a mindset focused on success. Pupils study a broad range of exciting, engaging, diverse texts which are thematically linked and sequenced to enable students to communicate confidently, read skilfully and write effectively. These are skills which are vital for pupils’ sense of personal integrity and are essential for our young people as they move beyond education in later years.

At Key Stage 4, our aim is to encourage students to build on the knowledge and skills acquired at Key Stage 3 and to flourish in preparation for the GCSE exams in English Language and English Literature. By studying a broad range of fiction and non-fiction, we aim to support students in the following skills: extending their critical and analytical reading skills; further crafting and refining their writing skills, building stamina and writing for a range of purposes; speaking confidently and articulating their views effectively.

To enhance the experience of English at Holy Family and to increase our pupils’ cultural capital, we provide a range of enrichment activities These include author visits, writer workshops, theatre trips and other literary events.

Key Stage 3

Curriculum Intent

Year 7 – Other Worlds

The thematic focus for Year 7 is Other Worlds with all the texts that we study being set in different time periods or different places, some imaginary, some very real, to expand a pupil’s knowledge of the wider world around them and the possibilities it holds.

Through a range of texts from different time periods we look to develop the reading skills pupils were introduced to during their time in Key Stage 2, allowing pupils to become more comfortable with identifying explicit information within a text and expanding their ability to infer. We further introduce, and build upon a pupil’s knowledge of, the language techniques writers use when creating these wonderful worlds and the characters we find in them. 

Furthermore, we use these worlds as inspiration for a pupil’s own writing, developing the ambition of a pupil’s vocabulary and accuracy of their spelling, punctuation and grammar. Additionally, we further develop a pupil’s knowledge of how to successfully match form and purpose of a wider range of different types of texts.


Year 8 – Outsiders

The thematic focus for Year 8 is Outsiders with all the texts that we study focusing on people who, for a variety of reasons, have to live on the outside of society, to expand a pupil’s knowledge of the different issues from our world that can affect the freedom and opportunities a person has.

Through a range of texts from different time periods we look to develop the reading skills pupils were focusing on in Year 7, particularly looking at further building a pupil’s knowledge of the language techniques writers use to create and develop characters. Additionally, we start to focus on the context of the writers we study, considering the significance of these factors on the characters they create.

Furthermore, we use these characters as inspiration for a pupil’s own writing, developing further a pupil’s own use of language, looking to use techniques with greater ambition. Additionally, we further develop a pupil’s grammatical knowledge so that they can develop their accuracy of more ambitious structures to further engage a reader through a variety of purposes.


Year 9 – Revenge

The thematic focus for Year 9 is Revenge with all the texts that we study focusing on this theme, considering the characters who face the difficult decisions surrounding the subject, and the wider moral issues associated from a whole range of different scenarios and the context that influence these.

Through a range of texts from different time periods we look to develop the reading skills pupils were focusing on in Year 8, further building a pupil’s knowledge of the importance of the context of the writers we study, considering the significance of these factors on the characters they create. Additionally, we look to build on a pupil’s ability to evaluate texts, creating personal responses and interpretations to texts, being able to justify their ideas with evidence and analysis, all to prepare them fully for the start of their GCSEs in Year 10.  

Furthermore, we use the theme of revenge as inspiration for a pupil’s own writing, developing further a pupil’s own use of language, looking for them to use their techniques creativity and imaginatively. Additionally, we further develop a pupil’s consideration of structuring their writing, to ensure that they can make conscious decisions regarding how they build a text to be effective, all to prepare them fully for the start of their GCSEs in Year 10.

English - Key Stage 3 Curriculum Maps


Key Stage 4

English - Key Stage 4 Curriculum Maps

Key Stage 5

Edexcel English Literature

This is an interesting and challenging course which requires students to study eight literary texts.

  • Component 1: Drama   i)Shakespeare  ii) Other drama play
  • Component 2: Prose  iii)Pre-1900 prose fiction   iv) Prose fiction
  • Component 3: Poetry  v) Post-2000 specified poetry     vi) Specified poetry (pre or post-1900)
  • Non-examination assessment  vii) Chosen text  viii) Chosen text

During the course, students will be taught to articulate informed, personal and creative responses to literary texts, using associated concepts and terminology, and coherent, accurate written expression. They will be required to analyse the ways in which meanings are shaped and explore connections across literary texts Students will be taught to develop an understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received. They must also demonstrate a clear understanding that there is a range of interpretations of literary texts.

These skills will help students to develop the key critical, creative and analytical skills required both for progression to higher education and for enhanced employability.



OCR Media Studies

This is a contemporary, accessible and creative course This specification will allow learners to study the media in an academic context and apply the knowledge and understanding gained to the process of creating their own media productions.

OCR’s A Level in Media Studies is designed to widen the intellectual horizons of the learner through the analysis of both global and historical media. The course fosters the development of critical and reflective thinking to encourage engagement in the critical debates surrounding contemporary media.


Students study nine media forms and associated set products using a theoretical framework covering media language, media representations, media industries and media audiences. They also consider the social, cultural, economic, political and historical contexts of media products.

Component 01: Media messages

Students study news and online, social and participatory media in depth and learn about how media language is used to construct representations and meaning in a variety of set media products.

There are two sections:

  • In section A: News and online media, students carry out two linked in-depth studies that focus on contemporary news in the UK, requiring students to explore how and why newspapers and their online counterparts are evolving as media products and the relationship between both online and offline news.
  • In section B: Media language and representation, students focus on media language and representation and consider how meanings are constructed across different media forms. This covers advertising and marketing, magazines and music videos.


Component 02: Evolving media

Students consider how media industries are evolving and using technology to reach, target and address audiences through a variety of set media products. Students also consider the media language, representations and messages and values communicated by long-form television drama and how these dramas are produced and consumed globally.

There are two sections:

  • In section A: Media industries and audiences, students will explore media industries through film, video games and radio and audiences through video games and radio.
  • In section B: Long-form television drama, students carry out an in-depth study focusing on contemporary long form television dramas, one English language and one European (non-English language).


Component 03/04: Creating media

Students create a cross-media product for an intended audience in response to a set brief. This gives them the opportunity to work independently and develop expertise built from their study in components 01 and 02.


At Key Stage 3 GCSE level, a programme of targeted intervention supports pupils’ progress and ensures particular aspects of reading and writing are addressed appropriately for the individual student

The students have the opportunity to develop as independent readers. Reading for pleasure is actively encouraged through small group reading sessions in our reading room, where young people explore a novel in a group of around five. This approach provides an opportunity to discuss a text with others, communicating their own ideas and learning from the knowledge and ideas of other students in the group. Another advantage is that students explore the text together and can therefore support each other. This helps to take some of the stress out of reading and can build confidence, increasing a student's motivation to read.

We provide lunchtime reading clubs and the reading room is also available as a quiet, supervised space, where pupils can go to read in a relaxing atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of the playground.

Trips and visits form an important part of the enrichment programme. For example: author presentations and writing workshops; theatre visits to local theatres and further afield, including the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Stratford-Upon-Avon; cinema visits to watch National Theatre Live and RSC performances, allowing students to access plays that would be otherwise unavailable to them; a visit to Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour.


In addition to specific websites and resources to which children will have access upon the advice and guidance of their teachers, the following websites provide useful and engaging support materials;