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Hele's School

Hele's School

Hele's School A great place to learn. A great place to grow.


English at Hele’s is designed to develop curiosity, criticality and an appreciation and love for reading, writing and speaking. As a core subject, it provides the foundation for success at school and in the wider world. Our schemes of learning are a distillation of many years of experience which provide all students with a pathway to mastery through a rigorous, yet supportive, programme of study. Through immersion in a rich variety of challenging texts, sensible and effective assessment and teacher expertise, students are empowered to mobilise the English language to conquer the world before them.

Key Stage 3 

KS3 English at Hele’s is designed to develop curiosity, criticality and an appreciation and love for reading and learning in general. Our focus across Key Stage Three is to build on emerging reading analysis and writing skills formed during their primary experience and to transition them to confident, thoughtful readers and writers. We look to achieve this by offering a creative and enriching curriculum that offers both breadth and depth in study in fiction and non-fiction texts. 

At Key Stage Three, all students partake in our Accelerated Reader programme to help maintain regular and progressively rigorous reading. All students in Key Stage 3 are assessed both formatively and summatively for reading and writing each term. Students will reflect on feedback given by their teacher and their peers to make improvements and ensure progression during their dedicated improvement and reflection time (DIRT).

This approach allows students to grow in independence and accountability for the work they produce. Homework at KS3 is set once per week by the class teacher and may consist of learning key subject terminology, reading around a subject or developing classwork.

Year 7

At the start of Year 7, students study a transition unit which recaps and extends their knowledge of grammar for writing. We use texts that are engaging and familiar to nurture confidence in their reading, writing and spoken language skills. This mini unit aims to prepare students for their prose study in the second half term. The texts we offer are selected to help students develop understanding of how language works as well as reading comprehension, retrieval, inference and analysis. Across the year, students will study a Shakespearean comedy (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), a variety of contemporary and heritage poets, a non-fiction module exploring Language Change and a module on Epics, Myths and Legends which encompasses our focus on reading for writing. Students will have the opportunity to engage in spoken language such as dramatic readings and performances, debates and presentations.

Year 8

Year 8 brings increased challenge in the texts studied whilst building on student comprehension and critical thinking skills. Students will be prepared for the upcoming challenge of GCSE study whilst maintaining a continued appreciation and love of English Language and Literature. The curriculum focuses on breadth and depth of study of both fiction and non-fiction texts. This will include a Tragic Shakespeare play (Romeo and Juliet), a range of contemporary and heritage poetry, a nineteenth century novel and a range of non-fiction material in their module on Persuasion and Rhetoric. Students will have the opportunity to utilise their reading to develop their own independent writing style, ensuring opportunity for creative as well as analytical thinking.

Key Stage 4 

What is in the course?

The new AQA English Language and English Literature GCSEs are designed to develop and test a range of abilities for both reading and writing. Across a range of literature and language texts, students will aim for mastery of:

  • Text comprehension
  • Text analysis
  • Wider cultural understanding
  • Text evaluation
  • Writing with clarity and imagination
  • Writing in a range of styles for a range of audiences
  • Using a range of Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar.

In addition, the course will provide students with the requisite knowledge to begin reading and thinking critically and independently, thus boosting performance across the Key Stage 4 curriculum and increasing the chances of success beyond school.

What will be studied?

The course contains many different elements. For Language, the course will include non-fiction and fiction texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st century. For Literature, we study Animal Farm, Macbeth, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and 15 poems from a poetry collection, to suit the Literature terminal exams. As the exams are entirely closed book, our students will be required to remember key quotations and features of the texts. The text-based nature of English means progress in Literature will drive progress in Language and vice versa.

How will it be assessed?

The GCSE is assessed through terminal examination. Revision guidance and resources will be provided throughout the course of study.

Throughout Years 9-11 there will be in class practice of the types of questions that are in the exams which will inform teachers and students of progress.

In addition, there are mock examinations at the end of Year 10 and mid-way through Year 11 to allow students to experience the GCSE under exam conditions. This will also allow our staff to identify areas for appropriate intervention for individual students and the cohort.

What is in the exams?
Language exams: The texts used for the reading questions will span 19th Century- 21st Century authors. The texts are provided in the exam and are not pre-prepared by students.

Paper 1: Explorations in creative reading and writing (50%)

  • Comprehension and analysis of a fiction text (Reading)
  • Narrative and descriptive creative writing (Writing)

Paper 2: Writer’s viewpoints and perspectives (50%)

  • Comprehension and analysis of non-fiction texts (Reading)
  • Transactional and non-fiction writing (Writing)

Literature exams: These are closed book exams (no copies of the texts allowed)

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th century novel (40%)

  • Shakespeare- Macbeth
  • 19th century novel- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry (60%)

  • 20th Century novel- Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Poetry anthology- comparing two poems from the collection of 15 poets
  • Unseen poetry- analysis of an unprepared poem and comparison with another unprepared poem.

Where can I get more information?

More information from the exam board can be found through the links below.

English Language GCSE (course code 8700)

English Literature GCSE (course code 8702)

Key Stage 5 

A-Level English Literature

We follow the AQA Specification A course.

For the English department, A level study is about allowing students to follow their passions and develop their ability to critically consider the world around them. The department offers two stimulating, thought-provoking and successful A Level subjects: English Literature and Media Studies. These are subjects that foster creativity and encourage investigative and inquiry skills.

Highly regarded for its academic rigour, A Level English Literature does not just prepare you for reading English at university. This is a subject that cultivates flexibility of thinking (your ability to adapt to new situations, improvise, and shift strategies to meet different types of challenges); nurtures interpretative, analytical and evaluative skills, and demands articulate and eloquent communication. These prized transferable skills are well received by almost all fields of further study or employment. 

English Literature is one of the most popular degree courses offered at university and many graduates go into print and television journalism, publishing, law or teaching.

A-Level Media Studies

We follow the AQA Media Studies course.

Media Studies provides a useful foundation for any degree in the arts or business. You will develop your analytical skills, visualise and plan practical work independently, research and formulate lines of inquiry and express complex ideas clearly in writing.  These skills provide a firm foundation for study at higher education level and the areas of study provide a good background particularly for careers in journalism, advertising, marketing, television, PR or training.