Southgate School English department is committed to ensuring all students, regardless of gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background, make better than expected progress across all Key Stages in the subject. Our curriculum is designed to build on the skills students acquired at Key Stage 2 and to prepare them for the rigours of GCSE and A Level. Not only are we focussed on positive outcomes but we also endeavour to inspire our students to be avid readers, lovers of literature and flourishing writers.

In Year 7 we teach all the reading and writing skills students will need to be successful at every Key Stage and beyond, beginning with the most basic: selecting and retrieving key information, moving on to inference and analysis of language and structural features in a text. We also incorporate more advanced skills such as evaluation and exploration of writers’ methods. We teach these skills through a broad range of high quality literature texts. This includes fiction and non-fiction from across the centuries. Topics include Victorian crime, Romantic poetry and Shakespeare.

All Year 7 and 8 students follow the Accelerated Reader programme to boost their reading ages, increase their capacity for vocabulary acquisition and of course, their love of reading.

In Year 8 we develop the skills learned in Year 7, challenging students to go further in their exploration of texts, building on their cultural capital through more challenging extracts, novels and poetry. We revisit skills from Year 7 and develop more sophisticated ones such as comparison and evaluation. We recognise the importance of revision strategies to ensure learning ‘sticks’ and incorporate this in to our teaching through activities such as 5-a-Day.

By Year 9 our aim is to employ a range of teaching and learning strategies to provide a level of challenge for our students which supports their independence and resilience in preparation for the next stage. We select texts that prepare them for GCSE whilst maintaining a clear Key Stage 3 curriculum. This sparks their interest in topics such as Shakespearian tragedy in Hamlet or Victorian London in Sign of Four which supports the students to progress to Christmas Carol and Macbeth in Years 10 and 11. We end the year with the rollover and devote this time to developing students’ speaking and listening skills and Anthology poetry.

In Years 10 and 11 we follow the AQA specification and focus more intensely on regular assessment of the skills acquired right from Year 7 as well as regular revision activities. Students will be able to draw on all the skills they have been developing since Year 7.

At Key Stage 5 we follow the AQA English Literature B course which includes the study of Tragedy in Year 12 and Social and Political Protest Writing in Year 13. In line with the ethos of the English Literature A Level course, we foster independent research of literary theory, critical lines of inquiry and a life-long love of reading.