Our key aim in English is to develop our students’ verbal and written communication so that it can be adapted to a range of styles, purposes and audiences, with accuracy, clarity, creativity and confidence. Of equal importance is the role of literature and reading to provide our students with the opportunities to: debate controversial issues in a safe space; develop empathy and social and emotional literacy; explore complex relationships; cultivate their own views of the world around them and underpin them with indispensable knowledge and experiences which will open their eyes to ideas they may never have experienced. Above all, we want to create the next generation of readers, providing them with the skills, knowledge and experiences to thrive in the modern world.

In English, our primary aim is to develop a love of reading and writing for a variety of forms, audiences and purposes.  We strive to increase the cultural capital and creativity of our students by exposing them to a breadth and depth of texts from across different time periods and cultures. We provide opportunities for them to develop their knowledge of how language shapes meaning and affects how we perceive the world around us. Our schemes of learning have been designed to equip students with a range of reading, writing and speaking and listening skills – as well as providing them with opportunities for critical thinking and debate. We have chosen texts that allow us to explore issues linked to our community and school context, such as anti-Semitism in The Merchant of Venice, in order to serve our local community and widen students’ knowledge and understanding of critical issues. Ultimately, our curriculum teaches our students to be effective communicators, critical thinkers and judicious consumers of information.

In Key Stage 3, students have 4 hours of English lessons each week and they study a varied curriculum. In-class lessons are supplemented with independent work linked to reading, writing, research and revision tasks.

Students receive regular feedback on their class work and have the opportunity to respond to and act on this in order to support their progress. Each half-term the students complete formal assessments that are used to track and monitor their progress.

Students in KS4 (Year 10 and 11) are working towards two GCSE qualifications: English Language and English Literature. They follow the AQA exam board.

The specification code for English Language is: 601/4292/3



The specification code for English Literature: 601/4447/6



At Key Stage 4, students have 4 lessons each week for English. Each half-term the students cover the course content and complete GCSE style-assessment tasks to track their progress. Students are also expected to complete independent revision and homework task to supplement their in-class learning.

Throughout their time at The Heys School, students are taught the following skills:


  • Identify and interpret explicit and implicit information and ideas. Select and synthesise evidence from different texts.
  • Explain, comment on analyse how writers use language and structure to achieve effects and influence readers, using relevant subject terminology to support their views.
  • Compare writers’ ideas and perspectives, as well as how these are conveyed, across two or more texts.
  • Read and understand a range of texts to: Evaluate texts critically and support this with appropriate textual references.


  • Communicate clearly, effectively, and imaginatively, selecting and adapting tone, style and register for different forms, purposes and audiences. Organise information and ideas, using structural and grammatical features to support coherence and cohesion of texts.
  • Candidates must use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation.

Spoken Language

  • Demonstrate presentation skills in a formal setting
  • Listen and respond appropriately to spoken language, including to questions and feedback to presentations
  • Use spoken Standard English effectively in speeches and presentations

The topics students cover throughout Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 are outlined in the link below:

Curriculum Overview English -Year 7 to Year 11 (2023-24)

Intervention – KS3/KS4 Students withdrawn from lesson and given support with literacy and reading.


Revision Sessions – KS4 – After School


Trips – Theatre


Clubs – Creative writing club, Book Club


Events – KS3 Rewards events each term to celebrate our students’ best work