English

Directors of Learning design sequences of lessons which combine with our Personal Development Programme delivered by Form Tutors. These closely align with our mission to ‘Teach What Matters’, a deliberate approach to ensure we address challenges that our students are likely to face and to give them the best possible chance of meeting their limitless potential.

We want all Holyhead students to be able to;

  • Solve problems
  • Apply knowledge to the real world
  • Adapt to change and be resilient to failure
  • Be aware of their own thought processes and memory (metacognition)
  • Be articulate and express themselves
  • Think critically

We want all students at Holyhead to be strong in relation to the following attributes;

  • Leadership
  • Organisation
  • Resilience
  • Initiative
  • Communication

We also want them to recognise the best of human thinking and appreciate the fundamental British Values.

Mrs M Sahonta

Director of Learning for English

Mrs A Daya

Assistant Director of Learning

Mr P Rafter

Assistant Director of Learning

The English curriculum is about personal growth, cultural enrichment and opportunities to participate in gritty debate. We believe our learners are not bound by any limitations on how they develop their sense of civic duty and English endeavours to serve this development. English enables learners to engage with the world around them through exploration, analysis and criticism. Holyhead English uses this perspective to develop student’s own view of the world through a range of multi-modal texts and the Literary canon. We aspire to enable individual voice in a multifaceted world where morality and ethics are debated and scrutinised, thus developing the ethical mind and the moral character of every learner at Holyhead School. Holyhead English serves the local community in this way to ensure that the future of the local community is bright, ambitious and progressive.

Learners will be able to:

  • Read with comprehension, fluently and with developed inference
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information 
  • Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • Use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas 
  • Are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
  • Are cognizant of wider issues and hold healthy curiousity and awareness of the positive role they can play in wider societal issues.
  • Hold porgressive values and accept all protected characteristics

What are the key skills of a linguist and literary critic?

English Literature

  • Sustain a convincing, informed personal response to explicit and implicit meanings of texts
  • Sustain a perceptive critical analysis of the ways in which writers use language, form and structure
  • Use judicious and well-integrated textual references to develop personal responses
  • Show perceptive understanding of how contexts shape texts and responses to texts
  • Make illuminating comparisons between texts.
  • Use multimodal texts to learn about what matters to them and shape their worldview through discussion and reason
  • Judicious use of literary terminology and wider contextual analysis

English Language

Reading

  • Summarise and critically evaluate with detailed and perceptive understanding
  • Understand and respond with insight to explicit and implicit meanings and viewpoints
  • Analyse and critically evaluate, with insight, detailed aspects of language, grammar and structure
  • Substantiate their understanding and opinions with illuminating references to texts and contexts
  • Make convincing and apt links and comparisons within and between texts.
  • Writing
  • Communicate with impact and influence
  • Produce ambitious, accomplished and effectively-structured texts
  • Use a wide range of well-selected sentence types and structures and precise vocabulary to enhance impact
  • Spell, punctuate and use grammar accurately so that writing is virtually error-free.

Key Stage 3

Overview of the KS3 Curriculum:

KnowledgeAttributes/CharacterSkillsExperiences
Year 7• Change 
• Festivals
• Sherlock Holmes
• Crime Detection
• Poetry
• Face
• Shakespeare (Othello & Richard iii)
• Survival
• SMSC
• Responsibility
• Respect
• Communication
• Community
• Voice
• Efficacy
• British Values
• Resilience 
• Morality
• Ethics
• Tolerance and acceptance
Reading: 
• Interpretation and synthesis
• Explanation, comment and analysis of language structure and effect
• Comparison 
• Evaluation
Writing: 
• Adaptation of tone/style and register for different forms, purposes/audiences
• Organisation of information/ideas 
• Use of vocabulary and sentence structures, accurate spelling and punctuation 
• Cultural experience through audible reading
• Harry Potter World
• Spelling Bee
• Theatre for Shakespeare
• Guest Speakers
Year 8• Gothic (Frankenstein etc)
• Monkey’s Paw
• Tell Tale Heart
• Our Day Out
• Journeys and Adventures
• Transactional Writing
• Romeo and Juliet
• SMSC
• Responsibility
• Respect
• Communication
• Community
• Voice
• Efficacy
• British Values
• Resilience 
• Morality
• Ethics
• Tolerance and acceptance
Reading: 
• Interpretation and synthesis
• Explanation, comment and analysis of language structure and effect
• Comparison 
• Evaluation
Writing: 
• Adaptation of tone/style and register for different forms, purposes/audiences
• Organisation of information/ideas 
• Use of vocabulary and sentence structures, accurate spelling and punctuation 
• Cultural experience through audible reading
• Spelling Bee
• Theatre for Shakespeare
• Guest Speakers
Year 9• Diversity Poetry
• Noughts and Crosses
• The Empress
• Coram Boy
• The Hate U Give
• SMSC
• Responsibility
• Respect
• Communication
• Community
• Voice
• Efficacy
• British Values
• Resilience 
• Morality
• Ethics
• Tolerance and acceptance
Reading: 
• Interpretation and synthesis
• Explanation, comment and analysis of language structure and effect
• Comparison 
• Evaluation
Writing: 
• Adaptation of tone/style and register for different forms, purposes/audiences
• Organisation of information/ideas 
• Use of vocabulary and sentence structures, accurate spelling and punctuation
• Cultural experience through audible reading
• Spelling Bee
• Theatre for Shakespeare
• Guest Speakers

What are the fundamental principles and concepts that students need to acquire in order to progress successfully through the curriculum in KS3 English?

  • Students develop an appreciation and love of reading, and read increasingly challenging material independently through
  • Students read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, including in particular whole books, short stories, poems and plays with a wide coverage of genres, historical periods, forms and authors. The range will include high-quality works from:
    • English literature, both pre-1914 and contemporary, including prose, poetry and drama
    • Shakespeare (two plays)
    • Seminal world literature
  • Choosing and reading books independently for challenge, interest and enjoyment.
  • Re-reading books encountered earlier to increase familiarity with them and provide a basis for making comparisons.
  • Understand increasingly challenging texts through:
    • Learning new vocabulary, relating it explicitly to known vocabulary and understanding it with the help of context and dictionaries
    • Making inferences and referring to evidence in the text
    • Knowing the purpose, audience for and context of the writing and drawing on this knowledge to support comprehension
    • Checking their understanding to make sure that what they have read makes sense.
  • Read critically through:
    • Knowing how language, including figurative language, vocabulary choice, grammar, text structure and organisational features, presents meaning
    • Recognising a range of poetic conventions and understanding how these have been used
    • Studying setting, plot, and characterisation, and the effects of these
    • Understanding how the work of dramatists is communicated effectively through performance and how alternative staging allows for different interpretations of a play

Students will be taught to write accurately, fluently, effectively and at length for pleasure and information through writing for a wide range of purposes and audiences, including:

  • well-structured formal expository and narrative essays
  • stories, scripts, poetry and other imaginative writing
  • notes and polished scripts for talks and presentations
  • a range of other narrative and non-narrative texts, including arguments, and personal and formal letters
  • summarising and organising material, and supporting ideas and arguments with any necessary factual detail
  • applying their growing knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and text structure to their writing and selecting the appropriate form
  • drawing on knowledge of literary and rhetorical devices from their reading and listening to enhance the impact of their writing
  • plan, draft, edit and proof-read through:
    • considering how their writing reflects the audiences and purposes for which it was intended
    • amending the vocabulary, grammar and structure of their writing to improve its coherence and overall effectiveness
    • paying attention to accurate grammar, punctuation and spelling

Students will be taught to consolidate and build on their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary through:

  • extending and applying the grammatical knowledge to analyse more challenging texts
  • studying the effectiveness and impact of the grammatical features of the texts they read
  • drawing on new vocabulary and grammatical constructions from their reading and listening, and using these consciously in their writing and speech to achieve particular effects
  • knowing and understanding the differences between spoken and written language, including differences associated with formal and informal registers, and between Standard English and other varieties of English
  • using Standard English confidently in their own writing and speech
  • discussing reading, writing and spoken language with precise and confident use of linguistic and literary terminology.

Students will be taught to speak confidently and effectively, including through:

  • using Standard English confidently in a range of formal and informal contexts, including classroom discussion
  • giving short speeches and presentations, expressing their own ideas and keeping to the point
  • participating in formal debates and structured discussions, summarising and/or building on what has been said
  • improvising, rehearsing and performing play scripts and poetry in order to generate language and discuss language use and meaning, using role, intonation, tone, volume, mood, silence, stillness and action to add impact.

Year 7

Our starting point for Key Stage 3, Year 7 is to begin with the Change scheme of learning which encompasses texts and media. These signify how change occurs in various ways such as physical, mental, personal, societal or political change. The scheme provides a backdrop of experiences which are aimed at reassuring Year 7s that their change in secondary medium is a positive one. It also encourages personal voice about students’ experiences of change. We then move onto Festivals where we use texts and poetry to celebrate varying festivals. This scheme of work is deliberately placed when we have key festivals such as Halloween, Guy Fawkes and Christmas alongside cultural festivals such as Diwali.

The texts and poetry selected are around emotive language, community and a sense of belonging whether that is to a culture, religion or Britain today. In the new year, we move onto Sherlock Holmes and Crime and Detection. This SoL is an opportunity to bring 19th Century writing to life and excite our students who can emulate Sherlock’s style of being detectives. The scheme encourages students to learn about literary authorial intentions as well as critical reading skills.

We then move onto poetry because it is part of the national curriculum and focuses on relationships as students start forming some key friendships that may take them through the next 5 years and deals with issues arising from difficult relationships. Students will then move onto Face and Survival as both schemes deal with some urgent issues in the local community around gangs and prepare students by engaging with discussion around youth culture. We complete the year with Shakespeare with extracts between Othello, Richard III and The Taming of the Shrew.

Year 8

Students in Year 8 begin with Gothic Horror which focus on extracts and Short Pre-1900 Stories (The Monkey’s Paw and The Tell-Tale Heart). They also have a class reader once a week, reading 3 books collectively by the end of the year. These are My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, DNA, and Good Night Mr Tom. In year 8, we are looking to develop key insight into 19th century texts which are assessed in the final year of GCSE. By teaching gothic we are able to bring about a contextual understanding of the 19th century from Romanticism, the Sublime, Gothic and much more.

Following on from this we teach Our Day Out which is a text about school children, set in a school where aspirations are low. Students begin to champion the plights of these students and prepare for class system based discussion. In a deliberate way, they can parallel their experiences and understand how to analyse context appropriately. Students then move onto Journeys and Adventures. This is timed around the summer term as it provides rich opportunities to tap into trips and family adventures students have experienced.

We complete this scheme with some transactional writing. We also provide enrichment during this term too. In the final term we teach Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet) with the first time students study an entire play. We have chosen this text as it is a well known love story but also has elements of conflict and rivalry which students can draw modern parallels more easily with.

Year 9

Before entering KS4, we are cognizant of the ability to develop high-level critical thinking skills. The SoLs in Year 9 for both English Language and Literature will focus around the theme of diversity and Britishness, where students can critically engage with ideas surrounding what it is to be British and social issues such as identity and prejudice. In terms of English Literature, students will be studying a diverse range of poetry from different voices: black, Asian, feminist, working-class, LGBT (including a Shakespeare poem about male love) and masculine. They will read the play The Empress by Tanika Gupta, a play about the friendship of Queen Victoria and Abdul, but also more broadly about the relationship between Britain and India during the growth of the British Empire.

The class readers include Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman and Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin. In terms of English Language, students will study a Diversity unit that also looks at a range of writers (BAME, feminist and LGBT) and voices in non-fiction and fiction form, which also explores British values. Finally, students will study The Hate U Give, using both the film version and extracts from the novel, where students explore and engage with issues around BLM and stems creative writing ideas. Students will develop on the reading and writing skills learned in Years 7 and 8, developing interpretations and ideas further, being encouraged to be more analytical and being able to compare texts.

Key Stage 4

Overview of the KS4 Curriculum:

KnowledgeAttributes/CharacterSkillsExperiences
Year 10• Transactional Writing
• Creative Writing
• Paper 1 Skills (Language and structure and Evaluation)
• Academic Style 
• Spoken Language Endorsement 
• Macbeth 
• An Inspector Calls 
• Poetry
• SMSC
• Responsibility
• Communication
• Resilience 
• British Values 
• Community 
• Morality 
• Tolerance and Acceptance 
• Ethics 
• Efficacy 
• Organisation
• Eloquence in written and spoken language
Reading skills
• Identify and interpret explicit and implicit information and ideas
• Select and synthesise evidence from different texts
• Explain, comment on and analyse how writers use language and structure to achieve effects and influence readers, using relevant subject terminology to support their views
• Evaluate texts critically and support this with appropriate textual references
Writing Skills 
• Communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, selecting and adapting tone, style and register for different forms, purposes and audiences 
• Organise information and ideas, using structural and grammatical features to support coherence and cohesion of texts
Context in Literature
• Show understanding of the relationships between texts and the contexts in which they were written
Spoken Language Endorsement 
• Use spoken Standard English effectively in speeches and presentations
• Listen and respond appropriately to spoken language, including to questions and feedback to presentations
• Demonstrate presentation skills in a formal setting
• Audible reading 
• Using teacher resources and other departments to support context.
• Guest Speakers
• Theatre Trip to a see Shakespeare Play
• Interventions
Year 11• Transactional Writing
• Creative Writing
• Recap Paper 1 skills
• Paper 2 skills
• Comparison 
• Macbeth 
• An Inspector Calls 
• Poetry 
• A Christmas Carol
• SMSC
• Responsibility
• Communication
• Resilience 
• British Values 
• Community 
• Morality 
• Tolerance and Acceptance 
• Ethics 
• Efficacy 
• Organisation
• Eloquence in written and spoken language
Reading skills
• Identify and interpret explicit and implicit information and ideas
• Select and synthesise evidence from different texts
• Explain, comment on and analyse how writers use language and structure to achieve effects and influence readers, using relevant subject terminology to 
• Compare writers’ ideas and perspectives, as well as how these are conveyed, across two or more texts support their views
• Evaluate texts critically and support this with appropriate textual references
Writing Skills 
• Communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, selecting and adapting tone, style and register for different forms, purposes and audiences 
• Organise information and ideas, using structural and grammatical features to support coherence and cohesion of texts
Context in Literature
• Show understanding of the relationships between texts and the contexts in which they were written
• Audible reading 
• Using teacher resources and other departments to support context.
• Guest Speakers
• Theatre Trip to a see Shakespeare Play
• Interventions

What are the fundamental principles and concepts that students need to acquire in order to progress successfully through the curriculum in GCSE English Language and English Literature?

Students need a firm grasp of the Assessment Objectives in both English Language and Literature as both subjects rely on extended responses based on different skills (even more so English Language). In English Literature, students also need a secure understanding of the texts (An Inspector Calls, Macbeth, A Christmas Carol, Anthology poetry) as they will be expected to write at length about these texts in a closed book exam.

What have you started off with in Year 10 and why? (Links to KS3 & a purposeful transition to build on prior knowledge, context of our students, high aspirations)

In English Language, we have started off with a Post-Lockdown unit of work which explores issues surrounding the pandemic and other social issues arising including Black Lives Matter. It looks at a mixture of non-fiction reading and transactional writing skills – following up nicely from what was studied in Year 9.

In English Literature, we will be starting off with An Inspector Calls (modern drama). This is because students studied the modern drama The Empress in Year 9, which also looks at themes of prejudice, and students will be familiar with some of the skills needed (making interpretations, linking to context etc).

Year 10

In Literature, we have ordered the texts studied by exam paper – after An Inspector Calls, students will study Macbeth, the other text in Paper 1. This means that students will be able to sit a whole Paper 1 for their PPEs by the time they get into Year 11. We also pepper some of the anthology poems throughout Y10 and at the end of Y10 so that there is less content to teach in Year 11, enabling a greater focus on practice and review of key themes.

In Language, students follow up the post-lockdown unit with speech writing and the completion of their speaking and listening assessment. This is because the transactional writing skills are transferable to speaking and listening. After Christmas, students will start studying Paper 1 skills – reading skills for fictional extracts and short 19th Century extracts/short stories, leading to creative writing skills. This means that students will be able to sit Paper 1 for their PPEs by the time they get to Year 11.

Year 11

In Literature, the first few weeks will revise and explore characters and themes, exam questions etc for Macbeth and An Inspector Calls so that students can revise and further their understanding of the content from Year 10 before moving on. Students will then move on to A Christmas Carol for Paper 2 as this makes sense thematically – building up to Christmas. There will be interleaving for Paper 1 and a couple of pre-PPE lessons for the Paper 1 Nov PPE. After Christmas, we will study the remaining poems from the conflict section of the anthology that weren’t covered in Y10, followed by unseen poetry practise (this needs to be done last as students will learn some poetry analysis skills while studying the anthology poems). Students will sit a PPE for both papers in March enabling teachers to identify key areas of strength and weakness to focus planning and preparation of revision lessons around.

In Language, students will start with Paper 2 Reading skills as they haven’t looked at these in a lot of depth in Year 10, especially the comparison questions. Students will be guided through the different reading questions of a past paper (Hidden Figures and Anne Frank) while also being able to discuss and explore the issues presented (teaching what matters). The rest of the year will be interleaving between the reading and writing skills of Paper 1 and 2, guiding students through past papers, whilst also taking the time to explore the topics/themes that present themselves, for example, the idea of ‘Britishness’.

Thematic approaches, especially in Year 10, to English Language will be key as the course is mostly skills based (retrieval, inference, analysis, comparison, evaluation, descriptive and transactional writing), meaning that the content we work on must be meaningful to the students, i.e. looking at real world issues or giving them an engaging short story (Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat), in order to keep them engaged in the curriculum. 

The curriculum is carefully sequenced so that skills can be built upon, i.e. in Literature, the AOs/exam technique required in An Inspector Calls is the same as one of the questions for Macbeth which they study afterwards. The questions in A Christmas Carol are almost the same as the questions from Macbeth so the skills can be transferred between the two texts.

Key Stage 5

Overview of the KS5 Curriculum:

KnowledgeAttributes/CharacterSkillsExperiences
Year 12• Become familiar with different texts across cultures and forms
• Become familiar with the contexts of literature extracts and explore their significance to society and the individual over time
• Display an aptitude to apply linguistic techniques to different extracts and confidently write about their effectiveness in impacting the audience
• Students will study a range of non-literary and digital texts from the 19th-, 20th- and 21st centuries. Teaching will be supported by Voices in Speech and Writing: An Anthology provided by Pearson. The anthology has been designed to introduce students to the ways in which ‘voices’ are used or crafted in a variety of non-literary and digital genres, encouraging the analysis of linguistic and literary features and generic conventions in a range of non-literary and digital forms. The anthology contains a variety of non-literary and digital texts, such as interviews, broadcasts, podcasts, blogs, screenplays and travelogues. 
• Students will study how the texts have been created for specific audiences, purposes and contexts and learn how to craft their own writing, using the anthology forms as stimulus. 
• Students should study the generic conventions of each of the anthology text types in preparation for a re-creative writing task which will require them to transform the content of one anthology text into the form of another, i.e. transform a speech into a drama script; transform a diary entry into an interview transcript. Voices in Speech and Writing: An Anthology constitutes a non-literary set text for this qualification and will be assessed in the examination.
• The curriculum is designed to encourage students to explore identity through time and through different methods and apply them to their own experiences. 
• The ability to recognise language features in writing and apply them for a specific impact helps  them to articulate themselves in an academic manner.
AO1: Apply concepts and methods from integrated linguistic and literary study as appropriate, using associated terminology and coherent written expression.
AO2: Analyse ways in which meanings are shaped in texts
AO3: Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which texts are produced and received
AO4: Explore connections across texts, informed by linguistic and literary concepts and methods
• Students will be given the opportunity to attend literature seminars in the City of Birmingham as well as attend A-Level Othello conferences in Stratford Upon Avon.
• Covid restrictions dependent, trips to the RSC to show plays in action will also be organised.
Year 13• Students will study one theme from a choice of four. 
• Each theme will offer the choice of two prose fiction anchor texts and a choice of five other texts from the genres of prose fiction, drama and poetry. The two studied texts will be assessed in the examination. 
• Teaching will cover the study of one prose fiction anchor text and one other text from a prescribed list
AO1: Apply concepts and methods from integrated linguistic and literary study as appropriate, using associated terminology and coherent written expression 
AO2: Analyse ways in which meanings are shaped in texts 
AO3: Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which texts are produced and received  

What are the fundamental principles and concepts that students need to acquire in order to progress successfully through the curriculum in KS5 English?

  • Develop and apply their knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation 
  • Develop and apply their understanding of the concepts and methods appropriate for the analysis and study of language
  • Use linguistic and literary approaches in their reading and interpretation of texts, showing how the two disciplines can relate to each other
  • Engage creatively and critically with a wide range of texts
  • Explore the ways in which texts relate to each other and the contexts in which they are produced and received
  • Develop their skills as producers and interpreters of language.

What have you started off with in Year 12 and why?

  • Students will combine the skills developed in the separate qualifications of GCSE English Literature and GCSE English Language and learn to apply these to texts in an integrated approach. 
  • This qualification provides progression from GCSE building on skills of analysing, evaluating and comparing texts and transactional writing skills, including accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar. It can, for example, allow students to develop a broader and deeper understanding of English Language and Literature as a discipline and allow them to develop higher English Language and Literature skills.
  • Year 12 is split into two areas; language and literature. In literature, students study the play Othello which reviews students’ understanding of Shakespeare from KS4 and builds upon their literary and linguistic knowledge of the play. As the play is centered on race and identity, it builds upon the diet of a moral and ethical curriculum that they have been exposed to at KS3 and KS4. Students then move on to study The Great Gatsby, a novel that again explores the themes of morality and identity but in a golden age of America. Students will be encouraged to explore a post war society in Europe and abroad and apply this to their understanding of character and multiple perspectives and audiences. Simultaneously, students will be exploring different extracts such as articles, speeches and transcripts to introduce them to different genres and their conventions.

Year 12

Students will begin exploring a British play to develop on their existing knowledge. The themes will then be applied to a novel from a different time period and context to explore how universal and timeless themes affect individuals in different societies. Throughout the exploration of ideas, students will also be encouraged to explore and apply psychological theory to explore concepts further.

Year 13

The Advanced Subsidiary GCE is a discrete linear qualification and comprises two examined components; these are built from content that is common with the Advanced GCE but they have different assessments that take place at the end of the course.

  • At the end of Year 12, students will be introduced to their independent coursework module which they will discuss with their class teacher. They will be given a broad range of texts that they will then have to use as a basis for their creative writing coursework. This piece will be an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge over the last year and make explicit links to the themes/styles chosen. 
  • Students will then study the play A Streetcar named Desire and apply their skills from Year 12 to a new style and context. The themes of identity and morality will also be built upon.