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Sir William Ramsay School

Empowering Everyone to Achieve


Department Staff


Miss D Angel

Head of Department

Miss M Paskell

Acting Deputy Head of Department/Whole School Literacy/KS4 Lead

Ms A Bhogal

Teacher of English

Mrs M Doran

Teacher of English  (Part time)

Ms N Doyle

Teacher of English

Ms R Ferrari

Teacher of English

Miss E O' Brien

Teacher of English

Ms M Staszczyk

Teacher of English

Miss A Whyte

Teacher of English

Mrs A Hallam

EAL Teacher and School Librarian

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 SWRS 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 students 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 equip students with the skills needed to succeed in the wider community and progress throughout their time in education. 

Students in KS3 study the following topics throughout their three years: 

  • Imaginative writing (stories) in a variety of styles 

  • Non-fiction writing styles including: newspapers, reports, diaries, and formal letters 

  • A range of 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 SWRS 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 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 and Grammar (SPaG) please get in contact with either a subject teacher or their individual Head of Year. 

KS4 – GCSE – AQA Specification 

What sort of work are students expected to do? 

Students at SWRS study the AQA exam specification and read a range of literature texts as well as sample of non-fiction texts in preparation for their English Language and English Literature GCSEs.  These will include some nineteenth century fiction and non-fiction, poetry, leaflets, newspapers, advertisements, etc.  

Students will write in different styles - fiction and non-fiction, learning how to write a formal letter, a speech, a feature article, a news report, a leaflet, an advice sheet, a diary, an autobiography with skill and finesse.  

Literature texts currently studied at GCSE are:  

Macbeth by William Shakespeare - ISBN: 978-0198324003

An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestley - ISBN: 978-0435232825 

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - ISBN: 978-1407143644

What are students expected to do for homework? 

Students will be expected to read independently, both the set texts and reading around the subject for enrichment.   Students will occasionally be set mock exam essays, shorter pieces of writing and are asked to prepare work for speaking & listening assignments, practise writing in different styles and revise for both English Literature and English Language exams through out delayed assessment methods.  

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.  

English is a popular option; as well as being enjoyable, English Literature will develop a student’s 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 students to different writers throughout history and give an understanding of the conventions, structure and stylistic features of different genres.  Students will look at how different texts relate to their audiences and will deepen their appreciation of literary styles. 

At SWRS we follow the AQA B syllabus, and our study incorporates prose, plays and poetry.  In Year 12, we will look at twentieth century prose, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, as well as the Shakespeare play, Othello.  There will also be an opportunity to learn how to analyse unseen extracts surrounding social and political protest.  Students also complete a study of the poetry of William Blake alongside the drama, The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, through the dual teaching of this specification.  

In Year 13 students go on to study The Kite Runner by Khalid Husseini ready for their exam and develop their independent study skills in preparation for their coursework element of this course.  This is a great opportunity for students to enrich themselves and extend their reading of the English Literary Canon.  


Homework and English Support Club: (Wednesday 2:50pm – 3:50pm) 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.

Creative writing Clubs: (2:50pm – 3:50pm) Students are welcome to come and explore the creativity embedded within literature in this interactive, lively sessions. Students develop their own personal flair and are encouraged to share their ideas through class readings and performance. 

Year 7 – Wednesday  

Year 8 and 9  Thursday 

Please note our Clubs are not currently running due to Covid-19.