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Great Torrington


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Subject Lead - Mrs Hannah Dodwell, 01805 623531 Ext. 269

Teachers - Miss Lara Couch, Mrs Elizabeth Dunton, Mrs Charis Furness, Miss Kate Le Petit, Mrs Tanya Tillier, Mrs Teresa Ayton and Mrs Emma Richards

Our Intent


  • To use literature as a vehicle to inspire and enthuse all pupils, encouraging them to explore their own lives, values and morals within their communities and the wider world.
  • To develop pupils’ knowledge of authors across time and cultures. 
  • To ensure all pupils leave us as literate individuals, with a confidence in oracy, reading and writing.
  • To encourage pupils to be ‘cultural omnivores’ – to expose them to the ‘best of what has been thought and said’ within our field of study, alongside much wider examples of all forms of human creativity and achievement. 
  • To celebrate the many rich and diverse forms of culture, heritage, backgrounds and language expressed in fiction, non-fiction, media and performance texts.


It is our aim in English to inspire pupils and at the same time ensure they are successful in their exams. We are strong believers in encouraging all pupils to strive for academic excellence whilst also delivering a rich and engaging curriculum – a journey which begins for pupils in Year 7, introducing ‘key threads’ of knowledge and skills which are built on, developed and interweaved throughout their years with us.


Curriculum & Qualifications


Year 7 Topics


Topic TitleThe Big QuestionYou will be learning
The introducing stage…How can I make a strong first impression through my writing?Write a clear, interesting, accomplished letter of introduction which lets us see your strengths as a writer.
FrankensteinIs Victor the real monster of the story?

Read, enjoy and respond the play-script of Frankenstein, developing a range of reading skills on a journey to become an insightful, analytical reader. 

Develop your own creative writing skills by describing ‘The Awakening’ of a monster…

Shakespeare’s Stunning SpeechesWhy is Shakespeare considered one of the greatest writers of all time?

Learn all about the life and times of Shakespeare. 

Write a description of a visit to The Globe.

Study a range of Shakespeare’s most famous persuasive speeches.

The Beauty of The BalladWhat makes the ballad so memorable?Enjoy a range of ballads before experimenting with writing and performing your own beautiful ballad.


Year 8 Topics


Topic TitleThe Big Question...You will be learning
A Plague on Both Your Houses!Would you want to be friends with Mercutio? 

Enjoy the classic story of Romeo and Juliet as well as a modern film adaptation.

Write a newspaper article recounting the events at the beginning of the play.

Continue to read a range of extracts from the play focusing on Mercutio to explore the question ‘To what extent is he to blame for what happens at the end?’ 

We All Came Here From SomewhereWho do you think you are?Read, enjoy and respond critically to a variety of poems from other cultures.
Deeds Not WordsDid the suffragettes win women the vote?Read, enjoy and respond to a variety of non-fiction texts from different historical periods on the theme of votes for women.
This is where I standWhat would you stand up for?Plan, write and deliver a short speech arguing for or against a controversial issue.
Noughts and CrossesN/AStudy the play version of Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. 


Year 9 Topics


Topic TitleThe Big Question...You will be learning to…
Lest We Forget…Is it right and honourable to die for your country?Respond to a range of classic 19th and 20th Century poems and quality non-fiction texts on the theme of war, learning to compare how different writers present their ideas.
WW1 Creative ResponsesHow can we walk in their footsteps?Develop your creative writing skills, focusing on writing to describe and narrate, inspired by a short clip from the film 1917.
Fair is Foul and Foul is FairHow are the weird sisters represented?Enjoy the dramatic story of Macbeth, focusing on key extracts with the witches. Compare these to a brilliant modern film adaptation.
Children At WorkWhat if it was me?Read and compare a range of Victorian and modern non-fiction texts about child labour. 
An Inspector Calls – GCSE bridging unitWho is most responsible for the death of Eva Smith?Enjoy the wonderful play An Inspector Calls, focusing on the plot, characters, themes and language.


GCSE Topics


All pupils study both GCSE English Language and Literature and are awarded two GCSE grades.


The set texts we currently teach are:


  • An Inspector Calls
  • Macbeth
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Power and Conflict Poetry


AQA English Language


ExamsTitle of paperWhat you have to do

Paper 1 *
50% of GCSE

1 hour 45 mins

Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

Section A Reading: read one unseen** literature text and answer 4 questions on it.

Section B Writing: descriptive or narrative writing.

Paper 2
50% of GCSE

1 hour 45 mins

Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives

Section A Reading: read one non-fiction and one literary non-fiction text (both unseen) and answer four questions on them, including a comparison of the texts.

Section B Writing: writing to present a viewpoint.


AQA English Literature


ExamsTitle of paperWhat you have to do

Paper 1
40% of GCSE
(closed book***)

1 hour 45 mins

Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel

Section A Shakespeare: answer one question on the play Macbeth. You will write in detail about an extract from the play and then write about the play as a whole.


Section B The 19th-century novel: answer one question on the novel A Christmas Carol. You will write in detail about an extract from the novel and then write about the novel as a whole.

Paper 2
60% of GCSE
(closed book)

2 hours 15 mins

Modern Texts and Poetry

Section A Modern Texts: answer one essay question on the play An Inspector Calls. 


Section B Poetry: answer one comparative question on one named poem and one other poem chosen from an anthology you have studied.


Section C Unseen Poetry: answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.


  • You will be taking all of your English exams – all FOUR of them - at the end of Year 11
  • All the reading you do in the English Language exams is unseen: this means that you will not have read it before and will be reading it for the first time in the exam. We prepare you for this by giving you lots and lots of practice at the kind of reading and responses you will have to do in the exam
  • The English Literature exams are closed book, meaning you do not have access to the texts you have studied in the exam. We will give you plenty of strategies for how to cope with writing an essay on a book you do not have in front of you! 

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