English opens up your child to the whole curriculum and develops both sides of their brain. Being literate and articulate will help your child be a success throughout their lives.


During Year 7 and 8 students study a range of authors from pre-1914 literature as well as contemporary prose, drama and poetry.  Students learn key skills crucial to ensuring GCSE success, such as being able to make inferences based upon evidence in a text and developing critical comparisons across texts. They produce a variety of written work, including descriptive, persuasive, analytical and comparative. In addition, all Year 7 and 8 pupils enjoy personal reading opportunities.

Lower school students are assessed regularly on their skills in reading, writing and speaking and listening.  Assessments take place throughout each term and both year groups sit an annual exam. Assessments are in the style of GCSE questions so that students garner the necessary skills for success from the start of their education here.

Upper school starts for our students at the beginning of year 9. This allows them to maximise potential grades when taking final exams in GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. Students tackle a range of writing forms, using non-fiction and literary sources as stimuli.  They also study post and pre-1900 poetry, a novel, a modern drama and a Shakespeare play.  All assessments will be based on GCSE exam-style questions.

During Year 10 and 11, students will also be given a number of opportunities to complete their Spoken Language GCSE qualification. They are awarded either a Pass, Merit or Distinction for their ability to speak out loud or conduct presentations.

English GCSE exams will be taken at the end of Year 11.  Final grades will be based totally on exam performance.  All students study for GCSE Language and GCSE Literature.

Through the study of Language students learn to retrieve and interpret data or facts, in increasingly complex material.  They learn to communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, selecting and adapting tone, style and register for different forms, purposes and audiences.  In addition, students learn how to organise information and ideas, use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures with accurate spelling and punctuation.

Through the study of Literature students learn to explain, comment on and analyse how writers use language and structure to achieve effects, using relevant subject terminology to support their views. They must also show awareness of social, historical and cultural influences in analysis.

Further opportunities within English may include report writing, the Carnegie Reading Group, and creative writing workshops/competitions. Theatre trips may also be offered to students to develop and consolidate their knowledge and understanding of key texts.

Analytical Knowledge Information
Curriculum and Guidance Plan
Revision Checklist 



The English department are really keen to get as many students reading as widely as possible. There are clear and direct links between reading and future life-chances. In light of this, we would recommend that students, where possible, purchase their own copies of the taught texts so that they can practise the skill of annotation and reread to deepen their understanding.

As a reminder, we will be teaching the following texts in the Autumn term.

    • Year 7: The Ruby in the Smoke (Philip Pullman)
    • Year 8: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (play script, not the novel)
    • Year 9: Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)

In addition to this, we would ask you to support your child’s progress by encouraging them to read some of these suggested titles which complement the taught text each term. Discussing the related reading questions (which can be found on our department’s web page) with them will help them to develop their comprehension and explanation skills too.

year 7
Treasure Island(Robert Louis Stevenson)
Little Women (Louisa May Alcot)
The Secret Garden(Frances Hodgeson Burnett)
A Little Princess(Frances Hodgeson Burnett)
Dodger (Terry Pratchett)
The Water Babies(Charles Kingsley)
Twelve Minutes to Midnight (Christopher Edge)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)
You Wouldn’t Want to be a Victorian Schoolchild (John Malam)
Hetty Feather(Jacqueline Wilson)
year 8
The Disgrace of Kitty Grey (Mary Hooper)
The Great Ice Cream Heist (Elen Caldecott)
The Diamond Thief(Sharon Gosling)
The Mystery of the Whistling Caves series (Helen Moss)
The Adventures of the New Cut Gang (Philip Pullman)
The Case of the Deadly Desperados series (Caroline Lawrence)
Mystery and Mayhem – 12 Short Stories(ed. Katherine Woodfine)
Murder Most Unladylike series (Robin Stevens)
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrowseries (Katherine Woodfine)
Robyn Silver: The Midnight Chimes(Paula Harrison)
year 9
The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
The Shawshank Redemption (Stephen King)
Strangers on a Train(Patricia Highsmith)
Girl, Interrupted(Susanna Kaysen)
The Island (M.A. Bennett)
Every Day (David Levithan)
One Of Us Is Lying(Karen McManus)
Blood Family (Anne Fine)
Mortal Chaos (Matt Dickinson)

HP has a small number of copies of each of these texts which can be borrowed from the Library, or they can be issued from a local library if you have access to one.

Please be aware that these books allow for very different reading levels and levels of maturity. As such, more challenging texts are placed at the top of the list. Perhaps most importantly, parents will have different attitudes about what is appropriate for their own child to read. Please ensure that you are happy for your child to read the books on the list before advising them on what to read.

If your child loves to read and you would consider all of the books on the reading list appropriate to their academic ability and emotional maturity, please feel free to encourage them to read it all. However, do not feel that there is any pressure for students to read every book on the list.

If you are unsure about letting your child read any of the books, reading online reviews or using websites that provide parental guidance on reading lists might be one way forward!

Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s class teacher in the first instance if you have any questions or concerns.

English Language Practice Skills