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Sir William Ramsay School

Empowering Everyone to Achieve


Department Staff


Miss D Angel

Head of Department

Mrs M Doran

Teacher of English (Part time)

Ms A Bhogal

Teacher of English
(KS3 Coordinator)

Miss M Paskell

Teacher of English

Miss L Wake

Teacher of English

Ms M Staszczyk

Teacher of English

Ms D Berry

Teacher of English

Miss A Whyte

Teacher of English

Miss E O' Brien

Teacher of English

Curriculum Intent

While attending Sir William Ramsay School students in English will develop their skills in reading, writing and oral communication through exploration of literature from a wide span of time periods and around the world. Our accessible curriculum is designed to encourage aspirational thinking and nurture students’ confidence in communicating with others, through a variety of media forms, in order to equip students with the knowledge needed to be well rounded global citizens; preparing students for success at Sir William Ramsay School and in the wider community.

English is a fantastic and powerful subject: it helps us put our dreams into words, to communicate our pain, to help and inspire others or to wound. Moreover, gaining your English GCSE qualification will give you more options in your adult life.


Every student in years 7 to 11 studies English and students choosing to go into the sixth form can continue into years 12 and 13. We see English as central to all that we do and your subject teachers love the richness, variety and subtleties of language. We hope that as you study English at SWR you will develop your understanding of yourself and the world around you and, if you haven’t already, fall in love with stories, words and authors.

In a more technical sense, we believe that a deep engagement with language and literature empowers individuals. It is our aim to help our pupils become independent, critical thinkers and to help them find positive ways of expressing themselves. Below you will find resources to introduce you to the English curriculum, give you revision ideas and an overview of the A-Level course.

Key Stage 3

Curriculum and Topics

In years 7-9 students develop their reading and understanding of texts, as well as skills in writing, speaking, and listening. All the work completed in these years is designed to prepare students for their GCSE English exams and will include:

  • Imaginative writing (stories) in a variety of styles
  •  Non-fiction writing including: newspapers, reports, diaries, and formal letters
  • Shakespeare’s plays and poetry
  • Poetry on a variety of topics from various cultures
  • Analysis of fiction and non-fiction texts including writing from the 19th century
  • Spoken presentations including student-designed projects as well as extracts from Shakespeare or other plays
  • Novels – each year students will read one complete novel together as part of their study

Reading & SPaG

Reading and vocabulary plays a crucial role in students doing well across every subject and SWR uses the Accelerated Reader programme to support students. We are lucky to have an exceptional library and LRC manager who supports students in a variety of ways.

Please note that we expect students to have a reading book with them on every day that they have an English lesson and that students complete a minimum of 3 hours independent reading each week outside of lesson time.

If you have any concerns or questions about how best to support your child’s reading, or issues regarding Spelling, Punctuation a Grammar (SPaG) please get in contact with either a subject teacher or the Head of Key Stage 3.


Homework and English Support Club: (Wednesday 3:00pm - 4:00pm) Students may catch up on homework or missing class work due to illness or absence with a member of the English department. These sessions can help to support, stretch and challenge students of all abilities as well as learn or explore new skills.

KS3 Reading List

Reading is enjoyable and it provides a fantastic opportunity to revel in your own imagination or be transported by the skill of an author. It is also a great way to improve your own writing and spelling. Below are some suggestions for books that you might enjoy should you need some guidance. Students receive an Accelerated Reader score each year in KS3 that helps them to choose books with an appropriate level of challenge and each year there is a prize for students who complete the most reading.

Key Stage 4

GCSE - English Language

What are the aims of the course?

This course enables students to explore a range of texts and to study writers' use of language. It develops an awareness of the need for standard English, and writing for different purposes and audiences.   It gives students the opportunity to communicate effectively through speech and writing.

Who is it for?

Everyone! English is a core subject. English is for life, not just exams.

What sort of work are students expected to do?

You will read a range of texts - literary and non-literary. These will include some nineteenth century fiction,  poetry, leaflets, newspapers, advertisements, etc. You will watch moving media images such as films, television programmes and advertisements.

You will write in different styles - fiction and non-fiction. You will learn how to write a formal letter, a speech, a feature article, a news report, a leaflet, an advice sheet, a diary, an autobiography etc.

What are students expected to do for homework?

There is no coursework in the Edexcel 9-1 GCSE.  You will be expected to read independently, both the set texts and reading around the subject for enrichment.  You will occasionally be set mock exam essays and shorter pieces of writing.  You will need to prepare work for speaking & listening assignments, practise doing questions from old examination papers, read texts in preparation for your coursework or for the examination and practise writing in different styles.

GCSE - English Literature

What are the aims of the course?

As well as enriching students and, hopefully, instilling in them a lifelong love of literature, this course enables students to explore literary texts and to appreciate the way writers achieve their effects. It also develops an awareness of the social, historical and cultural contexts of texts.

Who is it for?

Everyone.  English Literature teaches students about the human condition and what it is really like to be alive.   English Literature is a great course for students who enjoy reading and analysing texts.

What sort of work are students expected to do?

You will read a range of texts: a nineteenth century novel, a play, and selected poetry.

What will you be expected to do for homework?

There is no coursework in the Edexcel 9-1 GCSE.  You will be expected to read widely, both set texts and other works.  You will do smaller pieces of analytical writing, as well as longer mock-essay style pieces. 

Key Stage 5 – English Literature A-level

Why study English A-level?

English is an excellent choice if you are considering a career in law, media, advertising, PR, civil service, journalism, teaching, business, librarianship, acting, publishing, advertising, administration, film, radio or television. However, if you have a good qualification in English at Advanced level it will be an asset in any job.

English is a popular option; as well as being enjoyable, English Literature will develop your ability to assimilate and analyse larger pieces,  communicate effectively and develop a degree of emotional intelligence and awareness of the world - all highly desirable skills in today's employment market.

The course will introduce you to different writers throughout history and give you an understanding of the conventions, structure and stylistic features of different genres. You will look at how different texts relate to their audiences and you will deepen your appreciation of literary styles.

We follow the AQA A syllabus, and our study incorporates prose, plays and poetry.  In Year 12, we will look at some twentieth century prose, such as “The Great Gatsby” as well as a Shakespeare play, like “Othello”. There will also be an opportunity to learn how to analyse unseen poetry.

As the course progresses, we can opt for a modern literature module or a WW1 module,  together with an invigorating coursework module in which students compare two different texts, of different genres and periods. This is a great opportunity for students to enrich themselves and extend their reading of the English Literary Canon.