Subject Leader - Mrs J McIlroy (stmcilroyj@selstonhigh.org.uk)

English at Selston High School is a thriving subject area which aims to interest and engage all students. We provide every student with opportunities to make excellent progress, to develop in self-confidence and to find excitement in learning. The texts we study are varied and tasks are challenging. All students focus on the core skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening with regular assessments throughout KS3, resulting in GCSE qualifications in KS4. The English Department staff are a motivated and inspiring team who bring a wide range of skills and interests to the department. A lot of focus is put on ensuring that students are adequately supported in English where required, but also that they are challenged and that they have high expectations of themselves. We aim to do this in a supportive atmosphere that enforces high standards at all times.

Key Stage 3

At key stage 3 students study a wide range of topics in English; these are organised thematically and ensure that all students study a broad range of texts including poetry, Shakespeare, pre-19th century literature and non-fiction texts. KS3 is vital in English as it builds the blocks to ensure students are successful at GCSE. To support with this, students are assessed continuously through KS3; this includes a mixture of both short, timed assessments, longer and more detailed pieces of work, and end of year examinations. Please see below the thematic topics explored in each year group, and a selection of the texts that are studied.

Year 7

Students study the themes of “Challenge”, “Relationships” and “Friendship”. The texts they could study include Holes, Wonder, The Switch, Romeo & Juliet and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Students also study poetry and a range of non-fiction reading texts. They will also study different types of writing, and will have skills-based lessons on a weekly basis to focus on key skills.

Year 8

The themes of “Heroes and Villains” and “story-tellers” are studied in Year 8, as well as a unit on 19th century literature. The texts they could study include A Christmas Carol, Hamlet, Macbeth, The Tempest and Horowitz Horror. Alongside, this students study a range of poetry texts as well as non-fiction texts. As in Year 7, they continue to study different types of writing and will continue to have skills-based lessons on a weekly basis to focus on key skills.

Year 9

Year 9 is a key year in English as it is a bridging year for students to prepare for the rigour of GCSE. Students study the themes of “fractured worlds” and “Time and Place” as well as completing a full unit on key skills for GCSE. The texts the students could study include Of Mice and Men, Animal Farm, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Woman in Black, Maggot Moon, and Stone Cold. They will also study a range of poetry, including a unit on conflict poetry, and a range of non-fiction texts. Skills-based lessons will continue in Year 9, giving students a chance to develop their basic skills in English.


All students study AQA English Language and English Literature. This means that the students achieve two GCSEs in English at the end of Year 11. The course includes the study of the following texts:

  • J. B Priestley: An Inspector Calls
  • Robert Louis Stevenson: Jekyll and Hyde
  • William Shakespeare: Macbeth

Alongside these, students study 16 poems based around a central theme, as well as a selection of other poems in preparation for an “unseen” element of the exam.

The students have four GCSE examinations, two for English Language and two for English Literature. There is no coursework or controlled assessment and so the entire qualification is assessed by examination only.

Facilities and resources

The department has its own suite of classrooms that are equipped for the teaching of English. We also have access to the library next to the school which we use regularly with the students. KS3 students have timetabled library lessons and have the opportunity to borrow books and engage with a wide range of new and exciting texts.


The English Department tries to offer a range of enrichment activities across the year. These include school trips, theatre visits, visiting authors/poets and booster sessions/after-school clubs where appropriate. These activities occur throughout the year and your child will be made aware of those that are relevant to them. 

English - Curriculum Coverage 2018