English Curriculum Department

English Curriculum

Age Range: 4-18

Vision statement

We believe English is an inherently creative subject that requires authentic dialogue between student and text, students and teachers, and students with each other. It should empower students to confidently express themselves in both their writing and verbally (mastery). It should spark joy and debate.

Big Ideas

Text as a construct (narrative, genre, context) Students understand that literature can be organised by genre, and can discuss ways in which texts fit into different literary movements (class readers and personal reading). Students can explain narrative choices and the purpose or impact of these, such as the use of the split narrative in a novel. Students can explain or appreciate how the society or cultural setting of a book has different prejudices, values and customs to their own society or culture.
Empathy/human condition Students can consider and explain the actions, motivations and changes in characters they read about. Students notice shifts in relationships between characters, and can explain reasons for them. Students elicit messages from what they read. Students develop the awareness and understanding to recognise how the character’s actions and behaviours help them to reflect on their own, and others’ actions.
Communication (procedural knowledge based on declarative knowledge) Students are developing a clear and authentic voice, making deliberate choices for what they say and how they say it. Students understand the importance of the drafting process, and readily offer, elicit and respond to critique. Students have the technical knowledge to communicate effectively.
Creativity (procedural knowledge based on declarative knowledge) Students can be playful in their thinking and in their writing. Examples: reimagining Greek myths; writing additional chapters; exploring texts from the perspective of a different character. Students take inspiration from varied places – their reading, their daily lives, TV/film, other subjects / projects.
The study of language Students use lit programme skills to comprehend what they read. They ‘know what they don’t know.’ Students question what they read. Students understand that books are a representation, and can question particular representations, comparing them to their own knowledge or experience of the world. Students can zoom in and out of texts, linking small details to broader themes.
Interpretation/Criticality Students are aware of purpose and audience when dealing with text. They are able to identify structural and stylistic conventions of texts, in order to consider ‘how they work’
Appreciation/Joy Students are developing taste. They have types of books and texts they enjoy, and types they do not. Students see themselves as readers and writers. Students take pleasure in discussing what they have read, and reading aloud what they have written.


The study of English is underpinned by a focus on:

  • Text as a construct (narrative, genre, context).
  • Empathy/human condition.
  • Communication (procedural knowledge based on declarative knowledge).
  • Creativity (procedural knowledge based on declarative knowledge).
  • Interpretation/Criticality.
  • The study of language.
  •  Appreciation/Joy.

These are nurtured through an English curriculum of the head, heart and hand:


  • Learners have a broad knowledge of language and texts and how they both work.
  • Learners are confident comprehenders of texts, and fluent and flexible in their expression.
  • Learners are skilled in inference and analysis.
  • Learners are critical and can ask important questions.


  • Learners read and write for pleasure.
  • Learners have a personal connection with reading through a strong, consistent reading habit.
  • Learners develop empathy and understanding of others through their experiences of English.
  • Learners develop their own tastes, likes and dislikes in their reading.


  • Learners use rich talk to explore texts, discuss ideas and share feedback with others.
  • Learners craft work for authentic audiences Learners are immersed in the real worlds of readers and writers.
  • Learners document their own learning in English through their e-portfolio.


Subject Design Principles:

  • A curriculum which develops the head, heart and hand.
  • In order for the children to think deeply about the subject, teachers need to think deeply about the lessons.
  • Curriculum as conversation of big ideas, not simply about a variety of texts/ text types.
  • Depth of curriculum leads to breadth.
  • Every child as real authentic readers and writers.
  • Real time feedback at all times.
  • A commitment to multiplicity of voices.
  • Oracy as the key pedagogical tool to explore and unlock the subject.
  • Authentic and purposeful outcomes which develop the learner’s skills and understanding.


Phase Specific Journey

Phases 1 and 2 Developing a love of learning
Phase 1 Journey Students build the foundational skills of literacy through listening to a wide range of stories, rhymes and songs which promote participation. Learners will be encouraged to develop reading skills through the explicit teaching of phonics, linking sounds to letters and begin to recognise patterns within words.

During their time in the EYFS students will develop their writing skills, writing simple words such as their names and labels. In year 1, confidence is developed through more formal activities such as writing simple sentences and using punctuation. Their confidence in phonics will be developed and will culminate in the phonics screening check which occurs at the end of year 1.

Phase 2 Journey As children progress to Year 2, they develop their knowledge of grammar and punctuation, as well as their speaking, reading, and writing skills. Learners will become increasingly confident in recognising and spelling many common and tricky words. At this stage of thIer learning journey, creativity and curiosity will be explored through creative writing and poetry.

n year 3 and 4, children continue improving and refining their reading and writing skills through exploration of big ideas. This is taught via the vehicle of high quality texts, which offer the children an arena to develop their own perspective and opinion. It is in these years that the children begin to develop a critical voice within the subject.


Phases 3 and 4 Developing passions and increasing independence
Phase 3 Journey Students engage in a rigorous, creative and innovative curriculum that enables them to consolidate their skills, knowledge and understanding of the last five years. They are encouraged to become responsible and independent learners and to take increasing ownership of their learning. They begin to develop their passions in terms of favourite authors and genres and have the freedom to choose which books they read. In Writing, they continue to develop their authorial style and write using a wide range of complex sentence styles, vocabulary and punctuation. This phase culminates in students taking part in the KS2 SATs tests.
Phase 4 Journey Students begin to think more creatively around texts, interrogating them through different lenses. Learners have the opportunity to write authentically in a wide range of contexts, further developing their own voice. Phase 4 allows the learners to be faced with engaging and challenging topics and to see English as a door to a variety of lived experiences. In this phase, the children develop their own tastes whilst also improving their criticality around literature in all its forms. At the end of the phase, they are encouraged to write for authentic audiences. One example of this is the preparation, writing and performance of their own spoken word poem for the Year 9 Poetry Slam.


Phases 5 and 6 Building choice, autonomy and empowered professionalism
Phase 5 Journey Students continue to develop their analytical skills through the study of GCSE core texts and are encouraged to understand and critically evaluate them through making comparisons, analysing writers choice of language, and seeking evidence in the text to support a point of view. Through empowering learners to be precise and analytical, they are given the tools with which to unlock further study post Year 11.
Phase 6 Journey Students will be encouraged to further expand their interest and enjoyment of literature from across a wider range of genres and text types. They will develop their critical responses to texts and respond to them in deeply personal ways, showcasing a sense of choice and autonomy through planning and writing their coursework. Autonomy will be promoted through learners being able to choose the title and direction of the essay.. Students will leave with a detailed understanding of structure, genre, language and form. They will be empowered through their refinement of critical analysis, to write academically and professionally and will be assured and confident in their reading, writing and speaking skills, Ready to unlock the next chapter of their lives.