Head of Department

Miss M Beeching

Subject Overview

The English Department at Cornwallis Academy is a passionate, dedicated and enthusiastic team. We aim to excite and enthuse by bringing all texts to life and instilling a lifelong love of English and literature

Our revised curriculum aims to challenge students from Year 7 with a range of thought-provoking 19th, 20th and 21st century material. We explore the challenges of the new GCSE examinations throughout Key Stage 3 right through until Year 11, in order to fully prepare students for their final exams. We are committed to creating effective and confident communicators. This is demonstrated in our exciting new curriculum, which encompasses all those vital skills required to be a successful at Cornwallis Academy and beyond. 

Year 7, 8 and 11 enjoy five hours of English per week whilst years 8 and 9 enjoy four. Through our new English Mastery programme years 7 and 8 act as foundation years, building on the skills attained at KS2. The programme, whilst focusing on embedding the love of reading and writing, is also academically challenging. Year 9 acts as a bridging year; it is in this year we expose students to GCSE texts or texts that will directly benefit their GCSE journey, giving them a taster of the challenging and rigorous demands of the course. Students in Year 10 and 11 go on to follow the new AQA English Language and Literature specifications. Our ever popular A-Level classes continue to thrive at Sixth Form level, offering A Levels in English Literature and English Language and Literature.

Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3 Overview:

The English department aim is to inspire, challenge and support all of our students to prepare them for the future – both at GCSE and in the wider world. Years 7 and 8 complete the English Mastery programme which is a traditional study of the English Literary canon and enables all students to flourish in English. By the end of key stage 3, the students will know more about the foundational texts in literature, and therefore will be able to remember more about English Literature’s social and historical context and will be able to do more creative and critical writing. The curriculum is cumulative and integrated, in order for the students to solidify their understanding, and form a firm foundation of literary and linguistic knowledge that enables them to read and write both accurately and critically. Our newly revised KS3 provision fully shares the guiding principles of the National Curriculum, by developing an appreciation and love of reading and writing, whilst also developing the students cultural, emotional and social awareness though the texts and study activities in which they complete. Students study a wide range of texts during the English Mastery course. They read pre- and post-1914 novels, and study three different Shakespeare plays. Reading for Pleasure also gives the students the opportunity to study a wide range of voices and text types. The guiding principle of Mastery Writing is to help students write accurately, fluently, effectively and at length. Every activity, and every lesson, is helping students build towards this point. This all consolidates and builds on the grammar students learn at key stage 2. We also strive to work cross-curricula where possible in order to embed learning in to student’s long term memory. Our assessments ensure a greater student understanding of their levels and promote ownership of their progress.

Year 7:

  • Terms 1 and 2: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  • Terms 3 and 4: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
  • Terms 5 and 6: Poetry anthology and The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan or Danny Champion of the World by Ronald Dahl.

Year 8:

  • Terms 1 and 2: The adventures or Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Terms 3 and 4: The Tempest by William Shakespeare
  • Terms 5 and 6 Animal Farm by George Orwell
Key Stage 4

Key Stage 4 Overview:

All units of study aim to explore and equip students with the required skills in order to be successful in the new GCSEs, following the AQA specification. Units of study in year 9:
  • Term 1 & 2 – The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle and 19th Century non-fiction extracts
  • Term 3 & 4 – Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare and Love and Relations Poetry Cluster (AQA)
  • Term 5& 6 – Noughts & Crosses by Mallorie Blackman and 20th/21st Fiction extracts

Years 10 and 11:

AQA Language GCSE:

Both papers in the Language Examinations consist of five questions. Questions one to four assess students’ ability to read for meaning, analyse language and structure and critically analyse texts. Question five assess students’ ability to write in the correct form and for purpose. In both papers students will be provided with unseen extracts. Paper 1 - Students will be provided with an extract from a work of fiction.  They will be required to answer four questions testing their reading skills and one question testing their writing skills. Paper 2 – Students will be provided with two non-fiction extracts, including a 19th or 20th Century text.  They will be required to answer four questions testing their reading skills and one question testing their writing skills.

AQA Literature GCSE:

Paper 1 – 19th century texts and Shakespeare.  This examination is closed text. Students will be required to answer one question on Shakespeare’s, Romeo and Juliet and one question on R.L. Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.  The examination will be closed text but students will be provided with a short extract from each text.

Paper 2 – Modern texts and poetry.  This examination is closed text.

Section A - Modern texts
Students will be required to answer one question on An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestly.
Section B – Poetry (Power & Conflict).
Students will be provided with one poem from the Poetry Anthology and will be required to write a comparative essay, referring to another poem that they have studied from the collection.
Section C – Unseen Poetry
Students will be provided with two unseen poems and will be required to write an analytical essay and a comparative essay.

Assessment at Key Stage 4:

Regular assessments throughout the course, including PPEs will enable the department to support students as they prepare for final examinations for both GCSE English and GCSE English Literature in the summer, at the end of their two year courses.
Key Stage 5

Course Title:

A Level English Language and Literature

Examining Body:


Overview of the course:

This course is a comprehensive and stimulating introduction to English language and literature. It investigates how the English language is used in a variety of modes and  contexts, including novels, poetry, drama texts and non-fiction writing.

What Will You Study/Assessment:

  • Component 1: Students will study how voice is crafted in speech and writing using an anthology of literary and non-literary texts and one drama text. Students are assessed on two questions in an examination: one comparative essay on an unseen extract and one from the anthology; one extract based essay question on A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams.
  • Component 2: Students will study two texts within the theme of Society and the Individual; one compulsory prose text (The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald) and one other literary text (The Whitsun Weddings by Philip Larkin). Students are assessed on two questions in an examination: one essay question on an unseen prose non-fiction extract linked to the theme Society and the Individual; one comparative essay question on the prose text and the other literary text from the theme.
  • Coursework: Students will write three pieces of coursework following the independent study of two separate texts of the same theme: a piece of creative fiction (e.g. prose, drama, poetry) inspired by the chosen texts; a piece of non-fiction (e.g. review, article, travel writing); a reflective commentary on the creative process.

Possible Career Paths:

A number of English students choose to undertake further study at university, while many more use the communication and analytical skills they develop during this course in a range of careers including advertising, acting, publishing, teaching, librarianship, public relations, journalism, the legal professions, management consultancy and finance.

Course Title:

A Level English Literature

Examining Body:


Overview of the course:

English literature is a broad, accessible and well respected subject which gives students the opportunity to examine literary and non-literary works of all periods, from Shakespeare to the present day, taking in a wide range of authors and themes, and gaining a detailed and coherent sense of the current priorities and debates in the discipline. The course offers a full and balanced coverage of dramatic, poetic and prose works, including many from outside the usual literary canon and revealing the extraordinary scope of English literature and its significance today.

What Will You Study/Assessment:

  • Paper 1: Students will study three texts: A pre-1900 poetry anthology, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Othello by William Shakespeare. Students are assessed on three questions in an examination: one Othello extract-based essay question; an essay question on two unseen poems; one essay question linking the two other texts.
  • Paper 2: Students will study a range of exciting texts chosen from the unit, ‘Modern times: literature from 1945 to the present day’.  These texts include, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams; A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Feminine Gospels by Carol Ann Duffy.  Students are assessed on three questions: one essay question on one of the set text; one question on an unseen extract; one comparative essay linking two of the set texts.
  • Coursework: Students will write a piece of coursework (2500 words) drawing comparisons between two independently studied texts on a theme of their choice.

Possible Career Paths:

The variety of assessment styles used, such as discursive essays and research-based investigative writing, will arm you with a range of skills needed in the workplace, including clarity of expression in written work and oral presentation, research skills, and the ability to analyse arguments and ideas. This course is an ideal foundation for the study of English Literature at university and onward into any job that involves communication, writing and/or literary knowledge. These include: advertising, marketing, writing and journalism, law, consultancy, business, teaching, performing arts, academia, government, linguistics, foreign languages, media and design.