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English language and English literature lessons at Somercotes encourage students to develop the skills, knowledge and communication abilities necessary to succeed in adult life. An encouraging and supportive learning environment ensures our students achieve their full potential in the study of these subjects.

Please explore these pages to find out more about what we offer.

Ethos & Values

Our aims are:

  • To enhance children's quality of learning through the effective delivery of the English curriculum, in a way which is lively and thought-provoking, enabling students to develop their own opinions positively.

  • To make English enjoyable as a subject through resources and specialist teaching expertise. Students are encouraged to maximise their full potential in the three areas of language development: reading, writing, and speaking and listening.

  • To ensure that learners build confidence, feel valued, motivated and informed about their own progress and are proactively involved in reviewing and evaluating their individual achievements.

  • To have consistently high expectations and match these with high quality resources and learning strategies.

  • To provide a range of learning experiences appropriate to the age, ability and needs of the students. Students are encouraged to actively participate in lessons, developing the ability to communicate effectively, accurately and with confidence, both orally and in writing, in a variety of styles and situations.

  • To support the English Curriculum and student's progress through the development of independent learning at home.

Knowledge & Skills

  • All students are encouraged to improve spoken, reading and writing skills, through a range of varied and engaging classroom activities.

  • Focusing on the basic principles is designed to enable students to become confident and coherent speakers. Students will be encouraged to speak in a range of different situations and for varied audiences. All students are encouraged to express personal and informed opinions through discussion, presentations, role-play and improvisation.

  • Students are also expected to develop their ability to read for different purposes - for information, research and personal enjoyment.

  • They are also given opportunities to improve their written communication when writing for a wide variety of different audiences in different contexts. The need for accuracy in spelling, punctuation, grammar and paragraphing is emphasised and the opportunity for honing these basic skills is supported by the department's schemes of work and helpful marking.

  • There is scope for students' personal growth as learners, through active participation in class lessons and homework.

Resources & Facilities

  • Many lessons are taught in specialist rooms, most of which are equipped with an interactive whiteboard. Video and audio recording of students' presentations is encouraged to aid self and peer-assessment.

  • Contemporary and classic literature is used to support lessons. All works are tailored to individual classes by teachers. The English Department has access to an extensive range of literary resources across all Key Stages.

Courses & Qualifications

Key Stage 3

Students follow the National Curriculum in English, which provides a broad and balanced programme of language work. All students have the opportunity to analyse poetry, prose texts and works from different cultures, to participate in play-reading and to enhance all aspects of speaking, listening, reading and writing throughout Years 7 and 8.

Year 7

Over the course of Year 7, students will read a range of exciting and challenging materials as they cover different Schemes of Work. Adventure and Growing Up are taught through the use of targeted class readers; students will learn about gothic and horror writing conventions through Things That Go Bump; a class specific play will be studied for character, plot and language; students become reacquainted with Shakespeare through the study of a range of sonnets and his famous comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream and then they will end the year studying a variety of texts within the topic of Heroes and Villains.

Year 8

The year is split into five Schemes of Work. In the topic of War, students will study a class reader as well as look at poetry from a variety of conflicts; the writer's craft is the focus of the class reader led Character and Voice; the poetry and texts read in Exploring Other Cultures expands on knowledge of the wider world and literary rich heritages; What The Dickens allows students to view Victorian society through the writing of Charles Dickens and Media is designed as unit to engage students with current affairs.

Key Stage 4

Starting in Year 9, GCSE English prepares students will the skills necessary to access all forms of reading and writing once they have left school, whether they enter the world of work, apprenticeships or to continue their studies. Reading skills are developed through the study of a range of texts, while writing skills encourage students to be inventive with language and explore the function of vocabulary for effect. Students are taught to consider how form, audience and purpose are important in the language choices they make. Specialist teachers select texts according to the ability and make-up of their class and regular assessment informs students of their progress and areas for improvement. Additionally, students are assessed in 'Spoken English' to support the development of skills that are essential to adult life.


AQA English Language: this GCSE consists of two examinations, each being 1 hour and 45 minutes long. Across the two equally weighted papers, students will answer reading assessment questions on texts from the 19th, 20th and 21 century, followed by answering one writing task on each paper.

AQA English Literature: Paper 1 assesses understanding of a Shakespeare text and a text from the 19th century, chosen from a list prescribed by AQA. At 1 hour and 45 minutes long, it is worth 40% of the final grade. Paper 2 is 2 hours and 15 minutes and consists of four questions based on a modern text, an anthology of poetry and an unseen poem.

Learning Outside The Classroom

The English Department is always looking to involve students in theatre visits. In recent years students have visited London to see West End shows as well as performances of set texts such as Romeo and Juliet, An Inspector Calls and Blood Brothers.

Touring theatre companies are also used to enhance students' dramatic experiences.

Where Does This Take Me In The Future?

As English underpins all other subjects in the curriculum, it plays a major role in preparing students for both study and working life.

  • It also provides opportunities for students who may wish to be employed in all areas of business and a good progression route to more advanced qualifications.

  • The study of English improves students' abilities to express their ideas clearly, coherently and confidently in both speaking and writing, and to communicate effectively in all areas of adult life.

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Somercotes Academy Principal

Frances Green