English Curriculum

Why is the study of English important?

English is a subject that has the power to inspire and empower students. It enables them to communicate effectively and enriches their emotional intelligence to gain an understanding of wider contexts and worlds.  Throughout their time at Sirius Academy West, reading a variety of challenging literary texts will enable students to explore big issues in the world today and study the language used by different writers to express and challenge opinions and viewpoints.

Students will also be inspired to continue reading for pleasure and, in turn, use their imaginations to improve their own writing skills and creativity.

English is a subject that captures students’ imaginations and we will continuously build upon skills, equipping them with opportunities in lessons to discuss and develop ideas with one another and take part in group and team activities that allow them to take on different roles. Our students will be challenged to interpret concepts in poems, plays and novels; they will question the texts’ meaning and why they have been written. They will be encouraged to seek answers to their own questions and embrace their inquisitive minds. At Sirius Academy West, students explore the morality of characters in Macbeth, the Victorian contextual issues revealed through Scrooge in A Christmas Carol and the diverse, cultural differences presented in Mulligan’s novel Trash. Our curriculums provide opportunities to explore the lives of others from different times and different worlds and to learn from them, improving their cultural capital and understanding of the wider world.

It is within this rich and diverse subject that students gain the confidence to vary their own writing structures, uses of vocabulary, and linguistic features in a successful manner, enabling them to communicate effectively throughout their lives. Our curriculum will teach students to appreciate all styles of fiction and non-fiction writing and be able to vary their own writing convincingly for different purposes, whilst conveying their own personalities through their work. They will be encouraged to have a voice and to present their own arguments with fluency and passion.

The English curriculum at Sirius Academy West is designed to enrich lives, imaginations and creativity. It will inspire confidence in speech and writing, as well as thoughtful analysis of writers and their craft; the curriculum will allow students to develop flair within their own writing. It is through this variety of spoken language, writing and reading skills that students can be challenged at all levels and supported to thrive in their development as they embed the skills learnt in English into their professional lives. It is the texts studied at school that students remember as adults; it is through our curriculum that we endeavour to inspire our students from Year 7 to 13 and beyond.

What will the study of English teach you?

English Language and Literature helps students develop in a range of areas in order to become confident and independent learners. At Sirius Academy West, skills for oral and written communication are developed; students are encouraged to critically question texts and the world around them. A variety of different forms of writing, from a range of historical eras, will be explored to help students develop important skills such as:

  • to interact with other people confidently, presenting an independent viewpoint
  • to participate in discussions, working in collaboration with others
  • to write accurately and with expression for a variety of audiences and purposes
  • to use language persuasively and effectively to promote opinions and views
  • to entertain others by using language effectively
  • to be able to plan, draft and edit extended written work
  • to read challenging texts for enjoyment and to learn new things
  • to analyse texts closely in order to explore a range of different interpretations
  • to explore big ideas and issues that are present in a text and how they link to the real world
  • to understand the differences between different historical eras and social contexts
  • to develop an awareness and appreciation of different cultures
  • to understand how writers are influenced by the world around them

How does the study of English support your study in other subjects?

Studying English is the gateway to success for all subjects at Sirius Academy West as it develops communication skills - essential for interacting and presenting - as well as requiring a host of other skills. In order to participate in debates, weigh up arguments and provide alternative viewpoints in discussions, and of texts, students require empathy and the ability to negotiate and mediate. These are all essential skills in a modern workplace as they are central to collaborative work. The requirement to analyse data and evaluate the effect of a writer’s specific choices of language, structure and form are high level skills which benefit all subjects, as is a good understanding of grammar and language. English Literature provides the opportunity for students to examine situations, people and places from different perspectives and explore different eras. This exploration of the human condition, as well as historical and geographical contexts, makes English so beneficial when studying other subjects, such as Geography, History, Law and Sociology. It enables individuals to develop a moral compass and go on to be active and thoughtful citizens.

Key Assessment Objectives
There are 9 assessment objectives for English Language:
AO1: Identify and interpret explicit and implicit information and ideas. Select and synthesise evidence from different texts.
AO2: Explain, comment on and analyse how writers use language and structure to achieve effects and influence readers, using relevant subject terminology to support views.
AO3: Compare writers’ ideas and perspectives, as well as how these are conveyed, across two or more texts.
AO4: Evaluate texts critically and support this with appropriate textual references.
AO5: 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.
AO6: Use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation.
AO7: Demonstrate presentation skills in a formal setting.
AO8: Listen and respond appropriately to spoken language, including to questions and feedback on presentations.
AO9: Use spoken Standard English effectively in speeches and presentations.

There are 4 assessment objectives for English Literature:
AO1: Read, understand and respond to texts. Maintain a critical style, develop an informed personal response and use textual references, including quotations, to support and illustrate interpretations.
AO2: Analyse the language, form and structure used by a writer to create meanings and effects, using relevant subject terminology where appropriate.
AO3: Show understanding of the relationships between texts and the contexts in which they were written.
AO4: Use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation.

How can the study of English support you in the future?

The study of English Language and English Literature develops essential transferable skills that are relevant and beneficial to a wide range of occupations. Skills such as exploration, analysis, evaluation, and interpretation are highly regarded by colleges, universities and employers and the opportunity for creativity promotes independent thought.

English Language and Literature are studied at all major colleges and universities and can be studied separately, as a combined course or as joint honours with a different subject.

As well as there being opportunities for study at a higher level, the skills gathered when reading English also benefits the study of other subjects. An understanding of grammar and literacy, as well as being able to plan well-structured and cohesive essays, benefits all subjects where written work is an essential component.

English students can move into a wide range of careers. Here are a few examples:

Throughout history, English has been a popular subject and has been studied by people who are famous in different areas, for example: actors such as Emma Watson and Hugh Grant; film directors such as Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese; and writers such as Philip Pullman and Stephen Fry. 

Key Stage 3 Subject Overview

Scroll right / left on the table below to view all the information.


Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Autumn 1

The Island

Big question: Why do we adapt our writing?

Novel Study: Private Peaceful

Big question: What makes a good plot?

Novel Study: Hunger Games

Big question: How can a world be truly perfect?

Autumn 2

Shakespeare: The Tempest

Big question: Are we more influenced by our nature or how we are nurtured?

War Poetry

Big question: Do poets influence our opinion?

Novel Study: Hunger Games

Big question: Should writing follow rules?

Spring 1

Novel Study: Trash

Big question: Are novels just stories?

Literary villains

Big question: Are villains born evil?

19th Century Fiction

Big question: Is 19th Century fiction still relevant?

Spring 2

Other Cultures poetry

Big question: Does being cultural make us diverse?

Shakespeare’s Villains

Big question: Are we all potential villains?

19th Century Non-Fiction

Big question: Is exploration still exciting?

Summer 1

The Gothic: Genre Study

Big question: Does a genre limit the possibilities of a text?

19th-century Vs Modern Life: Then and Now

Big question: Can we predict our future from past events?

Love and Relationships in Unseen Poetry

Big question: Are poems songs?

Summer 2

Play: Dracula

Big question: Are plays only for entertainment?

19th-century Vs Modern Life: Media and Technology

Big question: Has communication changed?

Love and Relationships in Shakespeare

Big question: Is blood thicker than water?

Key Stage 4 Subject Overview


Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Term 4

Term 5

Term 6

Year 10



A Christmas Carol
Reading and exploration


A Christmas Carol


An Inspector Calls
Reading and exploration


An Inspector Calls


Macbeth Reading and exploration


Poetry (Power and Conflict cluster)



Reading skills (Paper 1 Section A)


Narrative/ descriptive writing


Reading skills (Paper 2 Section A)


Presenting a viewpoint


Speaking and Listening


Reading skills
(Paper 1 Section A)

Year 11


Structure of play & exam techniques

Revision -  An Inspector Calls

A Christmas Carol
Focus on key themes/characters

Revision - Poetry

  An Inspector Calls
  Focus on key themes/ characters

Revision – Macbeth

Focus on making links

Revision – A Christmas Carol




Narrative/ descriptive writing




Reading skills (Paper 2 focus)


Presenting a Viewpoint


Exam preparation

View English Sequencing


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