The English Curriculum

The English Department at Platanos College is both large and successful, with experienced and more newly qualified teachers. English is a multi-disciplinary subject encompassing the study of language, drama, speaking and listening, writing, reading, media and I.C.T work.

We aim to teach a wide range of skills in line with the National Curriculum, whilst offering a stimulating framework which captures the enthusiasm and enjoyment of English for students of all abilities. Our key goal is to empower pupils to understand how language and literature give insight into what the world means, how we make sense of it through language and how we understand others’ views and construct our own identity. Through this, we can support all students in achieving their potential.

We embed key GCSE skills from year 7 to enable students to master these skills as they move towards year 11. These include:

  • Language analysis
  • Structural analysis
  • Word level identification
  • Evaluation skills (To what extent does…)
  • Comparison
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • How to structure your own writing for effect


We believe strongly in the importance of reading, both for enjoyment and to aid academic success. Therefore, all Year 7 and 8 students have a timetabled Accelerated Reader lesson in the library once a week, delivered by our librarian and supported by a teacher. Students read to the staff and take quizzes to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the books they have read. Staff guide pupils to become independent in expressing their ideas and choosing what they read and write. Independent reading is encouraged at all Key Stages and we have Drop Everything And Read for 15 minutes, three times a week.

We are committed to offering students a variety of extra-curricular activities and consider this a strength of the Department. We have a flourishing Creative Writing Club and a successful Debating Society. Recently, our students have been to the Globe Theatre to see performances of Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew. We have teamed up with the History department to take students to the London Dungeons and on a Jack the Ripper walking tour to help them with their understanding of the context of the Victorian texts they study. Furthermore, we have taken students to performances of An Inspector Calls, The Tempest, The Life of Galileo, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and many more. We feel that these events and clubs are integral in instilling a love of English within our students.

Key Stage 3

The Key Stage 3 curriculum is condensed into two years and therefore pupils begin their GCSE journey in Year 9. We offer a broad, balanced and engaging curriculum where pupils are encouraged to become independent learners. Pupils are encouraged to broaden their knowledge through extended project work. We are proud of our outstanding GCSE results and recognise the importance of embedding the necessary skills at Key Stage 3 to allow pupils to excel in their exams at Key Stage 4.

Year 7 

  • Pupils explore texts including Gothic literature, A Christmas Carol, a range of poetry and Shakespeare.


Year 8 

  • Pupils analyse Victorian literature, including Dickens’ Oliver Twist, a selection of war poetry, as well as modern fiction and non-fiction texts such as Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.


Key Stage 4

Year 9

Pupils begin their GCSE learning journey. Pupils are taught how to:

  • Analyse the prose text ‘Jekyll and Hyde’, where they are assessed for their understanding of the social, cultural and historical context of the novel and their ability to analyse the text
  • Explore poems from different cultures and traditions
  • Respond to Shakespearean text ‘Romeo and Juliet’
  • Explore how to use a range of stylistic conventions to write for specific audiences and purposes 


Years 10 and 11

Pupils complete a two year course where they have the potential of attaining a double award for English Language and English Literature from the AQA and Edexcel awarding bodies.

In Year 10, pupils are able to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of language and its usage by responding to English in the daily world through the study of a range of onscreen and or paper texts. They are also able to develop their awareness of how spoken language works.

For English Literature, pupils have to write extended responses to a modern play and a Shakespearean play under controlled conditions.

Pupils sit four exams at the end of the course:

AQA English Language (two exams)

  • Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing – students are asked to read an unseen 20th century extract and respond to questions on language, structure and evaluation. They will also be asked to write a descriptive or narrative essay.
  • Paper 2: Writer’s Viewpoints and Perspectives – students must read an unseen 19th century and 21st century extract and summarise, analyse the language used and compare  how methods are used both. They must then write to present a viewpoint on a given topic.

For more information on this exam, visit (external site)

Edexcel English Literature (two exams)

  • Read texts such as Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ and J.B. Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’ critically and analytically looking at the way characters, themes and settings are explored.
  • Write sensitively and insightfully on both poems that they have studied and poems they have never seen before.

For more information on this exam, visit (external site)

We have high expectations for all our pupils and ensure that every learner is challenged and supported to reach their full potential.