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Great Torrington


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Subject Lead - Miss Hannah Dodwell, 01805 623531 Ext. 269 or

Teachers - Miss Lara Couch, Mrs Charis Furness, Mrs Katharine Abbott, Mrs Tanya Tillier, Mrs Emma Richards, Mr Paul Royal-Muir and Mr Tom Hocking

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 Crosses

How do our experiences change us?

Can love overcome all obstacles?

Study 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


Year 10


What is involved?

Autumn 1

An Inspector Calls (Lit.)

A bridging unit from the end of Year 9. Pupils continue to build on KS3 skills and knowledge: developing a personal engagement with the play, using quotes to back up interpretations, analysing language and structure, and linking the text to its social/historical context. Pupils will develop essay writing skills such as forming strong thesis statements and exploring alternative interpretations.


End of unit assessment in timed exam essay question.

Autumn 2

A Christmas Carol (Lit.)

Pupils read and enjoy the novella A Christmas Carol.  Pupils explore the context of the Victorian period and make links between the text and context. Pupils develop their ability to analyse the language and structure of texts and continue to embed their essay skills.

Spring 1

Finishing A Christmas Carol (Lit.)


English Language Paper 1 (Lang.)

End of unit assessment in the form of an ‘extract to whole’ essay question. 


An introduction to explorations in creative reding and writing, drawing on all their experiences of fiction texts at KS3.  Pupils read and respond to a range of unseen fictions texts, analysing language and structure and develop their own creative writing skills.

Spring 2

English Language Paper 2 (Lang.)






An introduction to Power and Conflict Poetry

An introduction to exploring non-fiction texts, drawing on all of their experiences of non-fiction texts at KS3.  Pupils read and respond to a range of non-fiction texts both modern and 19th century, before developing their own skills at constructing powerful arguments.



Pupils read, enjoy and explore a range of poems based on war, including revising some they met in Year 9. Pupils learn how to analyse language, form and structure and develop comparative skills.



Summer 1

An introduction to Speaking and Listening (Lang.)

Pupils explicitly develop their oracy skills learning about the power of rhetoric and how to communicate effectively using the spoken word.  They then choose a topic they are passionate about and plan, draft and rehearse

Summer 2

Speaking and Listening Assessment (Lang.)


An Inspector Calls (Lit.) and Paper 1 Fiction English Language


A selection of poetry from the Power and Conflict anthology (Lit.)

Pupils deliver their speeches to the class for their final assessment.


Year 10 mock exams: revisit An Inspector Calls and Paper 1 fiction English Language.



Continue to explore and enjoy a range of unseen and anthology poetry, this time focusing on the trope of the power of nature in seminal poems.

Year 11


What is involved?

Autumn 1

Macbeth (Lit.)

Reading and enjoying the play wonderful play Macbeth.  Pupils develop their knowledge of: how Shakespeare presents key characters and themes; key interpretations of the play; how to develop their own interpretations; and how relevant contextual knowledge can help us see the play through the eyes of a Jacobean audience.

Autumn 2

Macbeth (Lit.)



English Language Paper 2





Macbeth (Lit.) and Paper 2 English Language

Pupils complete their study of the play and learn how to approach the ‘extract to whole’ exam questions.


 A revision of the non-fiction paper: reading and writing.  Learning how to use timings and what each question requires. 



Mocks: Macbeth and English Paper 2 Non-fiction English Language.

Spring 1

A selection of poetry from the anthology (Lit.)

Unseen poetry (Lit.)

Pupils complete the study of the poetry anthology, with a final cluster on identify and society and explore the comparative links between the poems.

They also work on transferring their poetry analysis skills to a range of unseen poetry.


After school, revision sessions begin.

Spring 2

Revisiting Papers 1 and 2 English Language

Weekly revision sessions after school and the pupils have the experience of a ‘Walk and Talk’ mock to prepare them for the exam experience.

Summer 1

Revision (Lang. and Lit.)



GCSE exams begin

Teachers will assess for weaker areas that need to be revisited in readiness for the exams in May/June.



  • 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! 

Wider Opportunities


We actively seek opportunities for pupils to develop as writers: to write for real audiences and purposes. Every month, exemplary writing from GTS pupils is published in our local newsletter, The Crier, which has a circulation of 59,000, giving a readership of approximately 14,750. Each month, the published writers’ work is proudly displayed and celebrated within the school.


Pupils are also encouraged to participate in a wide range of writing competitions throughout the year, both within the school community and on a local/national level. These include: The annual GTS Poetry Competition which is launched in honour of National Poetry Day every October; The Exmoor Poetry Competition and The Celebration Day Writing Competition. The resultant work and pupil success is shared and celebrated within the school and local community.


Reading for pleasure is always high on our agenda and each scheme of learning has an accompanying list of wider reading suggestions, which we encourage our pupils to pursue. The annual Yoto Carnegie Medal is an award we follow closely as it represents the very latest in outstanding reading experiences. As soon as the nominations for the long list are announced, we promote these books in the library and within lessons, ensuring the pupils have easy access to the texts.


Several of the E and I sessions on offer also have an English focus, such as the current Exploring Greek Mythology activity and Literacy Leaders, where pupil mentors learn how to positively support emerging readers to become more confident and to nurture a love of reading.


Torrington is lucky to have its own fantastic arts centre, The Plough, and we are working hard to capitalise on all the cultural opportunities it can offer. In June 2022, we took 100 pupils in Years 9 and 10 to see the world premier of the play Edie’s War, based on the WW1 diaries of a local WW1 nurse, Edith Appleton. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the performance which ended with a Q and A session with the director of the play, Susan Luciani. The artistic director of The Plough wrote: “We have been proud to be involved in this moving piece of theatre and thrilled that you made the effort to let your students experience it. They were very attentive and a credit to your school.”

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