English at Mount Gilbert

At Mount Gilbert we view English as central to our curriculum offer because of the key role that the subject plays in allowing our students to access the other areas of the curriculum, progress on to further education and function effectively in the ‘real’ world. We have therefore thought very carefully about the range of qualifications that we offer in the English Department and how these are best deployed to meet the varying needs of all of our students.

At KS3 students follow a thematic Literacy curriculum. This innovative curriculum includes English, Geography, History and RE. It encourages students to develop their reading, writing and speaking and listening skills through investigations into themes such as: emotion; influence; power struggles and dilemmas. Our curriculum is designed to engage students through the use of interesting and relevant topics and foster an appreciation of good literature through the study of a wide variety of texts.

Students are assessed rigorously throughout the year and are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning and development through the use of clear assessment focuses. Assessment covers a range of skills and is used to help students in the transition between KS3 & KS4 at the end of Year 9.

Year 7, 8 and 9 Students follow a Literacy curriculum with the aim of ensuring that they make rapid progress in reading, writing and speaking and listening.


English in KS4

Teaching Staff:

Name Role Email
Lucy French-Rodgers Teacher in charge of KS4 English


Tina Picken Teacher of Functional Skills English Tina.picken@taw.org.uk


Exam Boards:

GCSE Language- AQA

GCSE Literature- Edexcel

Functional Skills English- Edexcel


Helpful Websites:

Students should use these websites for revision and support with their understanding of work done in lessons. The grammar support is aimed for much younger children than KS4 but acts as a useful reminder of key grammar skills.

GCSE Language- Revision support at http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zr9d7ty

GCSE Literature- Revision support at http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/english_literature

Whole, free text of Romeo and Juliet- http://shakespeare.mit.edu/romeo_juliet/full.html

Basic grammar support- https://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/grammar-practice


Our students typically follow two pathways for English during KS4.

Pathway One: GCSE Focus

Our students will study a course with the designed outcome of one or two GCSE results in English. During Year Ten students develop their analytical skills in order to thoroughly read and understand fiction and nonfiction texts and to see how language is used to make them successful. Our Year Ten students will also consider writing themselves, using the skills they have learnt when analysing texts to produce and effective writing style of their own. Those students who excel in these areas will take their GCSE Language exam at the end of Year Ten whereas other students may need further study in Year Eleven to get the grade they deserve.

In Year Eleven students on this pathway with either continue to study and write fiction and none fiction texts in order to gain their GCSE in English Language or begin to study for their GCSE Literature exam. Students doing the GCSE in Literature will study a poetry anthology (with the theme of ‘Conflict’), a Shakespeare play (Romeo and Juliet), a pre 19th century text (‘The Strange Case of Doctor Jeykll and Mr Hyde’) and a post 19th century text (‘Animal Farm’). They will be using similar analytical skills to those they have already learnt but will also learn new poetry terminology and contextual information about their studied texts.


Pathway Two: Functional Skills English

Functional skills is a course designed to support and promote practical English skills in our students. Students will follow the course to better understand formal and stylistic methods needed in practical applications of English that they may encounter throughout their lives. For example, letter writing and understanding instruction. Functional Skills English is offered at many levels, Entry 1-3 will award a students a grade the equivalent to a pre-GCSE grade. We aim for most of our students to achieve an Entry Three grade at the end of Year Ten.

In Year Eleven our students will focus on gaining a Level One in Functional Skills English if they are able. This is the equivalent of a lower GCSE grade. Again, like Functional Skills English at Entry Level, our students are encouraged to learn practical skills in English that will help them when they leave Mount Gilbert.


Both the GCSE English and Functional Skills English pathways are linked through theme and some resources. This makes us able to move a student from a Functional Skills course to a GCSE course if suitable. We will aim to ensure our students are entered on a course that will give them the most benefits when they leave Mount Gilbert.


KS4 Schemes of Work Include:

A lot of the schemes of work include topical subjects and so change in focus (though not skills learned) yearly depending on current events.

Mysteries: Past Present and Future

A scheme of work that aims to intrigue by encouraging our students to look into the unknown! It begins with the mystery of the Aberystwyth Skeleton and asks students to use gained knowledge to guess how he may have died.

The scheme then looks towards the near future and focuses on fiction and none fiction texts as we try to understand what the future holds for humanity.

Crime and Punishment

Students look at how crime and punishment has changed through some key points in time: The Greeks, the Romans and the Victorians. Studying none fiction texts our students then have to write in character taking on the role as a Victorian criminal.

After this romp through history we focus on modern day laws and crime. Students look at old laws that should maybe not exist nowadays as well as thinking of new laws that would help improve our society today.

The Media

The aim of this scheme of work is to introduce our students to a range of text types including articles, reviews and letters. Pupils do comprehension work to ensure good understanding of the material followed by a breakdown of the features required so they are able to produce their own persuasive letters and reviews.

Animal Farm

Post 19th Century Text

GCSE Literature study focused on George Orwell’s text ‘Animal Farm’. Our students study the Russian Revolution of 1917 and Communism in order to contextualise the work. They also do a mixture of simple and complex tasks to result in a comprehensive knowledge to the text.

Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Pre 19th Century Text

GCSE Literature study focused on Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella ‘The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde’.

Anthology- Conflict

GCSE Literature study focused on 15 poems from the exam board’s anthology. These poems range in style and era but all link to conflict in some way- war, relationships and race. Our students are encouraged to develop a personal response to these poems as well as developing critical skills to better analyse them.

Romeo and Juliet

GCSE Literature study focused on William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Language, character and theme are analysed with our students so they become confident when discussing and writing about this text.


Literacy Schemes of work:

Years 7 – 9

Refugee boy

Boy in the striped pyjamas

Charles Dickens


Further literacy documents:

Mount Gilbert Little Book of Literacy

10 steps to good literacy

Whole school literacy mat

Form time ‘reading for pleasure’

Staff favourites ‘reading for pleasure’

Marking guidelines