English is a skills-based subject, important, both in its own right and as the medium through which  other subjects are taught. The skills of speaking, listening and writing for a variety of purposes and audiences are explored and developed. Content includes a wide variety of texts: poetry, drama and fiction, as well as media and non-fiction. We encourage active participation in our classes; lessons include a mix of group and individual work. We enjoy our subject and so do our students – we shall endeavour to ensure that this continues!


At KS3 (Years 7-9), students are assessed each half–term for speaking and listening and either reading or writing. Students’ assessed work is kept in school in a Progress Folder, and may be seen at Parents’ Evenings or on request. KS4 (Years 10-11), GCSE requirements are that Controlled Assessments are taken in some units, whilst other units are examined. At KS5 (Years 12-13) each of the A level subjects contain a coursework element and a final examination.


We have six purpose-built English classrooms, all of which have texts and displays which support students in their learning. Teachers use classrooms in a flexible way so that a classroom can become a research library, a theatre, or a newspaper office. We have a set of small netbook computers and ICT rooms.

Additional Activities

Writers are invited to talk with selected year groups. Year 8 students experience a creative writing day. Year 9 enjoy a theatre company visit and the performance of the Shakespeare play being studied and workshops run by actors. Throughout the school, we encourage involvement in additional activities we organise from theatre trips to competitions and workshops.

Reading Rationale

At Woodroffe students are encouraged to maintain a wide range of reading experiences, both fiction and non-fiction as a matter of routine to develop their understanding of how texts in various forms engage, inform and persuade, and to support the development of vocabulary. As well as in English lessons this encouragement takes place through the Year 7 Reading programme, through Tutor Group reading sessions, writer visits, access to a well-stocked library, displays and any additional resource that is made available to us.

Year 7

Students will build on and develop skills taught at upper KS2 by being able to:

  • Read a range of fiction and non-fiction texts as well as extracts from fiction and non-fiction texts written before 1900 (reports and recounts based on smuggling pre- and post- 1900). (Whole texts studied include A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Coraline/City of Ember, The Pied Piper and other poems.);
  • Build an understanding of character and setting as well as ideas expressed through text;
  • Develop an ability to identify how texts are structured, as well as how language is used to affect meaning and reader response;
  • Enjoy the challenge of new texts, new ideas and new perspectives.

Year 7 students are taught spelling once a fortnight using the lessons on the PDF files linked below. They all have a personalised spelling book with the spelling strategies sheet to help them.

Title Download
1. Spelling Plurals
2. More Plurals
3. Even More Plurals
4. Commonly Misspelt Words
5. Prefixes
6. Adding ‘ing’ to Verbs
7. Adding the Suffix ‘ful’
8. Adding the Suffix ‘ly’
9. Verbs and ‘ed’ Endings
10. Adding Suffix ‘able’ & ‘ness’ etc
11. Changing Adjectives to Adverbs
12. Spelling Test – Weeks 23 & 25
13. Double Consonant Rule
14. I before E Rule and Exceptions
15. Commonly Confused Words
16. Homophones
17. Etymology Starters
18. Foreign Words Starter
19. Spelling ‘ough’ Words
20. Spelling Homework
21. Spelling Strategies

Year 8

Students will build on and develop skills taught in Year 7 by being able to:

  • Read a broader range of challenging texts from across different genres, including a variety of poems from different eras with a focus on understanding how writers are influenced by their surroundings, culture and literary heritage, as well as personal experience. (Whole texts studied include The Tempest, The Hunger Games, and Face, the play and a range of poetry in different forms);
  • Explain how characters are portrayed;
  • Show understanding of the features and effects of dramatic, narrative, rhetorical and poetic language and devices;
  • Show understanding of main themes and how they are presented to an audience;
  • Read with growing confidence and expression in a variety of contexts;
  • Continue to find exciting ideas, themes and perspectives beyond their own personal experience, as well as the riddles of language in texts.
Year 9

Students will build on and develop skills taught in Year 8 by being able to:

  • Understand increasingly challenging texts, both fiction and non-fiction (diaries, reports, recounts, opinion articles, speeches). (Whole texts studied include Romeo and Juliet, To Kill A Mockingbird/Of Mice and Men, The Speckled Band and pre- and post-1900 poetry previously taught at GCSE);
  • Understand and explain how social and cultural context affects both writer and reader;
  • Compare how texts are created for meaning and themes, as well as their similarities and differences in language and structure;
  • Be excited about the prospect of the high level of reading challenge at Key Stage 4.

None of the above is intended to create a ceiling for achievement; it is representative of the progress expected across a range of skills which our curriculum addresses at Key Stage 3. The department and the school is keen to encourage attainment at each individual’s potential.

Writing Rationale

Students are encouraged to engage in a range of writing experiences, both inside and outside the classroom, using their reading as models of good practice. The department runs a creative writing club, advertises a number of writing competitions (for both fiction and non-fiction genres) and holds a creative writing day in Year 8.

Year 7

Students will build on and develop skills taught at upper KS2 by being able to:

  • Begin to develop an understanding of the role of the writer;
  • Identify features and conventions of narrative and descriptive writing: the importance of character, setting and plot;
  • Understand and use some of the features in their own writing;
  • Revise and use some grammatical features (eg noun phrases) in their descriptions of character;
  • Be able to use non-fiction forms such as writing to argue, persuade and explain with clarity and awareness of purpose and audience;
  • Be able to edit their work and independently identify where improvements can be made;
  • Aim to write to create explicit effects on the reader.
Year 8

Students will build on and develop skills taught in Year 7 by being able to:

  • Develop understanding of the writer’s craft and begin to replicate the craft:
  • Recognise and begin to apply the conventions of the gothic and dystopian genres;
  • Understand the importance of description in establishing a genre; and aim to replicate the genre;
  • Be able to build an atmosphere through description of setting;
  • Use a number of grammatical features in writing their descriptions;
  • Write appropriately in non-fiction forms such as letters, journals and reports;
  • Be critical of their own work and that of others in the editing of their work for content and accuracy;
  • Begin to show an understanding of the effect of their writing on the reader.
Year 9

Students will build on and develop skills taught in Years 7 and 8 by being able to:

  • Demonstrate an explicit understanding of the writer’s craft and show an ability to replicate that craft, as well as to write independently for a range of audiences and purposes, both in fiction and non-fiction genres;
  • Recognise and be able to apply the conventions of specific genres;
  • Effectively use a range of rhetorical techniques in argumentative and persuasive writing;
  • Match the form and structure of their writing to form and genre;
  • Consciously use a wider range of grammatical features;
  • Demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate their own work;
  • Use an increasingly broad range of vocabulary and sentence structures;
  • Be more effective in proof-reading for greater accuracy in spelling and punctuation;
  • Become a more “readerly writer” – showing an awareness of the effect intended upon the reader;
  • Know and use strategies to improve spelling and punctuation, in addition to the above in all years.

As with reading, none of the above represents a ceiling of attainment, but shows the progression of skills taught in each year group. Spoken language is integral to learning and is used in every lesson to create a dialogue about that learning.

Glossary of terms:

Context – The situation (including time and place) in which a piece of writing is created and read.
Conventions – Different ways writers write for different purposes and audiences.  For instance a story has a narrator (story-teller) and dialogue.   A newspaper has a headline and begins with a “what happened to whom, when and where?” paragraph.
Dystopian – A genre of fiction in which the world is a place where everything is as bad as it can be.
Genre – The type of text produced:  in fiction – romance, historical, crime, dystopian story.  In non-fiction – journal, diary, news report, persuasive speech or advertisement.
Gothic – A genre of fiction which often contains a supernatural element.
Imagery – A group of words that create a picture – similes, metaphors, (both of which compare one thing to another) and personification (comparing something inhuman or inanimate to a human).
Language – Words – and uses of techniques like imagery.  Students are encouraged to explain why a writer has chosen one word or technique, to be able to explain what effect the writer intended to create for the reader.
Narrator – The story-teller.
Noun phrase – A noun is a person, place, thing, thought or feeling.  When it is described in some way it becomes a noun phrase;  eg cottage (noun); the pretty cottage by the sea (noun phrase).
Perspectives – Can be the views/opinions/responses of the reader, the writer or any of the characters within or referred to in a text.
Rhetorical – Anything to do with persuasive or argumentative speech or writing.  There are devices which are used to support persuasion and argument, such as repetition, rhetorical questions.
Rhetorical question – A question which is asked of an audience and is posed in such a way that agreement with the speaker is assumed.  (Just listen to any politician.)
Structure – In English this is the way a text builds from the beginning (title) to the end, whether it’s a poem, novel, play or piece of non-fiction.
Theme – The ideas that arise from a text (not always explicitly discussed) – we often refer to inference skills and ask students to consider what the writer is expressing through a story.

English Language GCSE

Exam Board – AQA. All texts in the English Language exam will be unseen.

Course ContentAssessment

Paper 1 – Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

  • Reading – one literature fiction text post 1900
  • Writing – descriptive or narrative writing

Written exam – one hour 45 minutes forming 80 marks and 50% of GCSE.

Paper 2 – Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives

  • Reading – one pre 1900 non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text
  • Writing- writing to present a viewpoint

Written exam – one hour 45 minutes forming 80 marks and 50% of GCSE
Non-examination Assessment – Spoken Language

  • Presenting
  • Responding to questions and feedback
  • Use of Standard English
Teacher set throughout the course – Marked by teacher

Separate endorsement (0% weighting of GCSE)

English Literature GCSE

Exam Board – AQA. All exams in English Literature are closed book.

Course ContentAssessment

Paper 1 – Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel

  • Shakespeare – Macbeth
  • 19th Century Novel – Jekyll and Hyde

Written exam – one hour 45 minutes forming 64 marks and 40% of GCSE

Paper 2 – Modern texts

  • Drama – An Inspector Calls
  • Poetry – Love and Relationships cluster from the GCSE Past and Present Anthology
    PLUS a question on a previously unseen poem

Written exam – two hours 15 minutes forming 96 marks and 60% of GCSE

Years 12 & 13

Students need to have achieved grade-B as a minimum to proceed to A level. The department offers Media Studies, English Language and English Literature at A level.

You can find out more information about courses offered at A Level by visiting the Sixth Form pages here.

Mrs Farrow
Head of English
Miss Langley
2nd in Department
Mr Brown
Head of Sixth Form
Miss Harley
middleton_s millmanjones_h petty_c
Miss Mercer
Mr Middleton
Mrs Millman Jones
Mrs Petty
Miss Trunks
Mrs Walding
Senior English TA