Over the course of Years 7-9, students will write imaginatively in diverse forms and for a variety of purposes and audiences, including autobiography, letters and stories. We build on student experience at Key Stage 2, developing subject-specific skills and consolidating the fundamentals of spelling, punctuation and grammar embedded by Year 6. By Year 9, they will also be introduced to the format of the GCSE English Language papers, developing their transactional writing skills. They will study writers and texts from the traditional canon, such as Shakespeare, as well as being introduced to literature from other cultures and traditions. A library lesson every fortnight gives them the time and space to read for pleasure, and promotes good academic practice through library skills sessions. Spoken language assessments also take place across the Lower School. Opportunities for super-curricular activities include competitions, such as the BBC 500 words competition, something which every Year 8 student has entered in past years. Author visits and poetry societies provide further opportunities for engagement.  

All students study English Language and English Literature at GCSE, following the Eduqas specifications in both. There are three strands to English Language: reading, writing, and spoken language. There are regular opportunities for assessment and feedback in all three areas. Teachers have some flexibility in the selection of set texts for English Literature, although all must study a Shakespeare play and an Eduqas curated anthology of poetry. Texts chosen include Romeo and Juliet OR an alternative Shakespeare play, Jekyll and Hyde, and An Inspector Calls. We arrange trips to see plays in performance where possible. The culture of promoting reading for pleasure continues to be at the heart of all we do, and students are invited to use the Senior Library for their fortnightly session. One example of the extra-curricular activities on offer is the English Speaking Union Public Speaking Competition, in which Pate’s students were national champions for 2019.  

Studying English Literature at A Level allows students to develop the skills learned at GCSE, adding a depth of critical appreciation to their reading. Classes are invariably smaller, and the learning is much more student driven. Group discussion is the key to success, and we aim to promote an environment that is safe, friendly and supportive. Set texts are taught for drama and poetry, supported by work on prose writing from specific periods of history, covering the late 19th to mid 20th centuries. Text choices include The Tempest, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Mean Time by Carol Ann Duffy.  Finally, there is a coursework element, in which there is an opportunity to write a comparative study of two prose texts. Where set texts are staged, we will take students to see them, and we have also attended text-based RSC workshops. Many students, around 5% of the entire year group historically, choose to study English at university, and this is a proud tradition that we aim to uphold.

Year 7 English Curriculum Year 8 English Curriculum Year 9 English Curriculum Year 10 English Curriculum Year 11 English Curriculum Year 12 English Curriculum Year 13 English Curriculum