Curriculum Overview


Key Stage 3 Key Stage 4 Sixth Form

Term 1 & 2: Modern Novel

Students explore either 'Now is the Time for Running' by Michael Williams or 'War Horse' by Michael Morpurgo through a series of reading, writing and speaking and listening activities. They will explore the author's characters and themes through the whole novel. Students will also analyse focused extracts.

Students will complete a range of activities which will enable them to develop their close analytical skills.

Special importance, value, or prominence given to something.

Exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally

The circumstances or historical period that form the setting for an event.


The writer of a book.

A conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning.

The expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

A fictional prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some level of reality.

A style or category of art, music, or literature.

The marks such as full stop, comma, and brackets, used in writing to separate sentences and their elements and to clarify meaning.

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:
Students will consider the moral messages and ethical debates that arise from the novel. They will be encouraged to consider their responses based on their own opinions and beliefs. Students will be asked to engage in debate and discussion.

Create a supportive community:
Students will work in pairs and small groups to compare ideas and beliefs about the story. Teachers will lead these groups in collaborative essay-writing, which will in turn lead students to develop essay-writing skills.

Term 3: Survival

Students will explore a range of mostly non-fiction texts with the theme of survival - ranging from surviving in extreme environments, such as mountains and sea, to 'man-made' survival situations such as persecution. Students will learn to compare the language and structure writers use to engage readers, and be encouraged to form their own opinions on the issues raised, expressing these in discussion and in writing.

Students will complete a descriptive task, building their use of engaging vocabulary in imaginative writing.

Method of completing a task.

The arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex.

Two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.

Point of view.

The state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.

Events or occurrences which leave an impression on someone.

Reaching a high or the highest degree; very great.

Hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs.

A record of events following the order in which they occurred.

Having or showing creativity or inventiveness.

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:
Students will consider their own responses to the experiences of different individuals during times of trial. They will evaluate their own writing and reading, drawing on their own experiences and how these are presented.

Create a supportive community:
Students will be encouraged to work together in pairs and groups to analyse and 'pull apart' texts, collaborating to create group responses that analyse key details in depth.

Term 4: Shakespeare Play

Students will study a Shakespeare play, either 'The Tempest', 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' or 'Much Ado About Nothing' through a variety of activities including drama assessment and written analysis of short sections. Students will explore some of the issues generated by the play including relationships and power. Students will stage scenes and craft their own non-fiction texts, related to the themes of the play. In term 2, students will continue to explore the themes, characters and staging of the play, before writing an essay on characters or theme. We will then focus on developing creative writing skills, particular focusing on structure and SPaG skills.

Students will complete a range of tasks developing their ability to make evaluative judgments about a range of ideas within a text.

Students will also undertake a short essay on an extract from their Shakespeare play.

Dramatic Irony
A literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions is clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.

1564–1616, English poet and dramatist.

Ranking society in order of power and authority.

The action of hurting or harming someone in return for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands.

The power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.

The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement.

Iambic Pentameter
A line of verse with five metrical feet, each consisting of one short (or unstressed) syllable followed by one long (or stressed) syllable, for example Two households, both alike in dignity.

A storm at sea.

A fuss about something.

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:
Students will explore the relationships between key characters in the play, drawing on their knowledge of social context and the setting of the play. Students will develop their interpersonal skills and also work on their drama skills, using role play to explore characters in more detail.

Create a supportive community:
Students will work in small groups on a variety of role-play tasks where they will be encouraged to feed back on each others' performances. This will develop communication and foster a safe and constructive environment.

Term 5: Gothic Literature

Students will explore the conventions of this well-loved historical genre, from its beginnings to present day. Through the analysis of famous Gothic Horror novels, students will learn how to interpret and evaluate the writer’s style, language, tone and intent. Study of the genre in film and television will also help to develop students’ understanding of the genre.

Students will sit an End-of-Year examination paper. This will focus on the analysis of unseen extracts, writer's purpose and audience and on showcasing their imaginative writing skills.

They will also be asked to compose a non-fiction piece for the examination, drawing on all they have learned this year in order to meet the audience, purpose and format of the task.

Departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature.

Relating to a style of literature characterised by a gloomy setting and grotesque or mysterious events.

An overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear.

A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc. whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

Two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.

Pathetic Fallacy
Pathetic fallacy is a kind of personification that gives human emotions to inanimate objects of nature for example referring to weather features reflecting a mood. Personification, on the other hand, is a broader term. It gives human attributes to abstrac

Be a warning or indication of (a future event).

The arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex e.g. a whole text.

A heightened or strained mental or emotional state.

A way in which something is usually done.

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:
Students will learn how to best shape their writing to create maximum emotion and effect on the reader. They will consider the ways in which great writers engage and motivate readers and echo this in their own pieces.

Create a supportive community:
Students will work as a team to explore a range of challenging heritage texts, drawing on their learning so far to create essay responses together. Students will participate in a variety of peer-assessed activities that will foster an understanding of how to mark critically.

Term 6: War Poetry

Students will study a range of war poetry, including poems written during WW1. They will analyse the way poets use structure and poetic devices in order to communicate their message and develop exam skills as they compare and contrast poems.

Students will complete a comparison of 2 poems they have studied.

An arrangement of a certain number of lines, usually four or more, sometimes having a fixed length, meter, or rhyme scheme, forming a division of a poem.

When one thing is used to represent another e.g. the eyes of the car.

A 14 line poem, traditionally exploring ideas about love

A voice or character that is created by the poet.

Historical context
The events taking place at the time that the text was written or set.

The mood evoked by the poet, through specific use of language and structure.

The continuation of a sentence without a pause beyond the end of a line, couplet, or stanza.

A pair of rhyming lines.

The voice we hear narrating the poem.

Information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:
Students will understand how people are influenced by their social and historical context. They will explore ideas about the reasons for and impact of war upon individuals and societies, engaging and empathising with a range of people and personas.

Create a supportive community:
Students will work together to interpret and present ideas about the poems they study. They will have the opportunity to present ideas individually and in groups.