Head of Department

Mrs K Lorriman

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, therefore 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. Not only this, 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 communicator at Cornwallis Academy and beyond. 

Year 7 and 8 students enjoy 4 hours of English per week; whereas Years 9, 10 and 11 enjoy 5. Whilst Year 7 and 8 act as foundation years, building on the skills needed to progress into KS4, it also focuses on embedding the love of reading and writing into our students. Year 9 acts as a bridging year; and it is in this year we expose students to GCSE texts, giving them a taster of the challenging and rigorous demands of the GCSE. 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 

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.

Our revised KS3 provision ensures we meet the new requirements of the National Curriculum for the 21st century, while our roll-out of the more granular assessment targets ensures a greater student understanding of their levels and ownership of their progress.

Year 7:

Year 7 units of work:

Term 1: Once by Morris Gleitzman – Modern Literature
Term 2: War Poetry – Pre-1940 Literature
Term 3: Alice in Wonderland – 19th Century Literature extracts and creative writing
Term 4: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – Modern Literature
Term 5: The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty by David Calcutt - Play
Term 6: 19th Century Extracts (thematic) - Play

Year 8:

Year 8 units of work:

Term 1: Charles Dickens Extracts –19th Century Literature extracts and creative writing
Term 2: Shakespeare Sonnets- Pre-19th century poetry
Term 3: Then by Morris Gleitzman- Modern Literature
Term 4: Other Cultures Poetry – Post-1940 Literature
Term 5: Modern Heroes – Non-fiction extracts and writing
Term 6: Gothic Extracts – reading and writing

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 – Modern Poetry

Term 2 – Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle

Term 3 – Journey’s End by R.C Sheriff

Term 4 – Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Term 5 – Pigeon English by Stephen Keller

Term 6 – Poetry Anthology; Power and Conflict cluster

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 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 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 Willy Russell’s, Blood Brothers. 

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 required to answer one question on Willy Russell’s, Blood Brothers or An Inspector Calls by J B Priestly

Assessment at Key Stage 4:

Regular assessments throughout the course, including PPE 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 

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 global contexts, and explores literature from different historical periods and in diverse cultural settings. It encourages extensive analysis of writing and speech in a wide range of forms, and develops skills in the interpretation of literary and non-literary texts.

What Will You Study/Assessment:

Component 1: Students will study the creation of voice 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 (A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry or 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.

A Level English Literature

Examining Body:


Overview of the course

English literature is a broad, accessible and important subject where you will have 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 three World War One inspired texts: Regeneration by Pat Barker, Up the Line to Death edited by Brian Gardner, and My Boy Jack by David Haig. Students are assessed on two questions: one essay question on a set text; one question on an unseen extract; one essay question linking two 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.