The English team consists of nine well-qualified and enthusiastic teachers, led by Ms Harris. She may be contacted via email: 

At Copthall, students are encouraged to become confident readers, writers and speakers through their study of English and Literature. 


The aim of the English curriculum is to develop our students as critical thinkers and effective communicators. We wish to prepare students to go on to further study and the world of work as good readers and writers with a broad cultural knowledge. To this end, there is a strong focus on key Literary Heritage texts: students will study authors such as Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte alongside more modern fiction and non-fiction texts.  

The English department aim to instil intellectual curiosity and a love of Literature in all of our students; therefore, our curriculum incorporates texts from different times, places and voices. Regular lessons in the library and activities such as author visits and theatre trips are arranged to broaden students’ knowledge and enjoyment of the subject. 

Emphasis is placed on reading for pleasure: students are encouraged to read often and with enthusiasm. At KS3, students are expected to read for at least thirty minutes every day and use Accelerated Reader to help them to select books which are appropriate and challenging. 

Students are expected to reflect on their progress by redrafting work based on teacher feedback, and through frequent opportunities for self and peer-assessment. The English department aims to challenge and stretch all students, and lessons are designed accordingly. Within class, students have regular opportunities to work as part of a group, but to also develop the skills that make them good independent learners. 

English KS3

The KS3 curriculum has been designed to interest and inspire. It utilises the best of what has been written and thought, in order to develop students’ reading, writing and speaking skills. 

In Year 7, we cover a range of texts and topics that introduce students to their literary heritage. The year begins with the roots of English Literature through exploration of Greek mythology, Beowulf and Arthurian legend. In the spring term, students are introduced to genre through fairy-tales and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The summer term sees students examining travelogues and literary journeys including Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.  

Year 8 develops upon the foundations laid in Year 7, building students’ appreciation of their literary heritage through a range of poetry and A Christmas Carol. During the spring term, students explore the theme of witchcraft in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. In the summer term, we study voices of rebellion through George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Students also learn to develop their own voice, through a unit on the art of rhetoric. 

English KS4

At KS4, students study for GCSEs in English Language and English Literature. Lessons are separated into these two subjects. 

In Year 9 this preparation begins with units on Dystopian Fiction and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies designed to widen students’ knowledge of literature and language. The spring term sees students explore the Gothic genre and their first GCSE exam text – the Love and Relationships poetry from the AQA anthology. In the summer, students study their second GCSE text – An Inspector Calls, by J.B. Priestley, and hone their written voice through a unit exploring broadsheet opinion pieces.  

In Year 10, the remaining literary texts are covered – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, alongside English Language units on fiction and non-fiction reading and writing. Year 11 sees students undertake a programme of interleaved revision, which culminates in their final GCSE examinations.  

Assessment of the two GCSE subjects is in the format of four exams, all sat at the end of Year 11: 

English Language Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing (50% of the Language GCSE grade) 1 hour 45 minutes 

English Language Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives (50% of the Language GCSE grade) 1 hour 45 minutes 

English Literature Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel (40% of the Literature GCSE grade) 1 hour 45 minutes 

English Literature Paper 2: Modern Texts and Poetry (60% of the Literature GCSE grade) 2 hours 15 minutes 

In addition to this, students are awarded a pass, merit or distinction for the Spoken Language Endorsement.  

The GCSE course covers the Functional Skills requirements and Entry Level is offered as an alternative pathway for those needing extra support. 

Having a 9-4 grade in English GCSE is crucial for students planning to go to university, college or work.  All employers look for individuals who can communicate effectively, and read and write confidently. The GCSE course is an excellent way of developing these skills. 


At A Level, we offer OCR English Literature (course code H472). This course builds effectively on the study of English Literature at KS4. It is a two-year course which includes coursework and exam-assessed content, and is broken down into the following components:  

COMPONENT 1: Shakespeare + Poetry pre-1900 

Worth 40% of A Level 

Closed book examination 2 hour 30 minutes 

1.       Shakespeare (‘Twelfth Night’) 

2.      Drama and Poetry pre-1900 (Selected Christina Rossetti poems compared to 'A Doll's House' by Henrik Ibsen) 

COMPONENT 2: Comparative and Contextual study 

Worth 40% of A Level 

Closed book examination 2 hours 30 minutes 

  1. Close reading in topic area (Gothic)   

  1. Comparative essay on two texts studied related to topic area (‘The Bloody Chamber’ by Angela Carter compared to ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley)  

COMPONENT 3: Non-examined Assessment (coursework): Literature Post-1900 

Worth 20% of A level 

Study 1 x poetry; 1 x prose; 1 x drama. All texts post-1900; 1 text post 2000. 

1. Task 1: Close reading of up to 3-4 pages of a literary text; 1000 words (not including quotes) – ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams 

2. Task 2: Comparative essay: 2000 words (not including quotes) – ‘Rapture’ by Carol Ann Duffy’ compared to ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath 

The range of texts covered in the A Level course offer students a broad and challenging experience of Literature. Prominence is placed upon wide reading, analytical skill and critical interpretation: essential tools for undergraduate study. 

Subject Documents Date  
English Curriculum Map KS3 KS5 30th Apr 2020 Download
KS3 Reading for Pleasure 30th Apr 2020 Download
KS4 Reading for Pleasure 30th Apr 2020 Download
KS5 Reading for Pleasure 30th Apr 2020 Download
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