English Language and English Literature

Our vision is to make the study of English Language and English Literature a challenging compelling and thought provoking experience.  In language we aim to equip students with the complex skills of comprehension, interpretation and written and verbal expression that they will require in day-to-day in day-to-day life.  In literature we aim to encourage a love of reading which goes beyond the classroom.  To us, the study of English is a study of life and we encourage our students to question opinions, assumptions and bias whilst showing tolerance and respect for the viewpoints of others. 

English language and Literature are delivered as two separate subjects on the timetable in years 9-11 in order that students can appreciate the subtle differenced between the demands of each. 

At Key Stage 3 our students are expected to work independently and in groups when required; promoting personal learning and thinking skills which are essential to success.  Students are assessed at the end of each term via a formal essay.  The Key Stage 3 Language curriculum is varied and balances the study of explicit reading, writing and speaking and listening skills.  In literature, students study classic and contemporary fiction and non-fiction texts across the key stage along with poetry and Shakespeare, ensuring that they are fully prepared for the demands of GCSE 

At Key Stage 3 students are formally assessed at the end of each half term against reading and writing AO’s (Assessment Objectives).  This enables us to closely track their progress in each AO over the year and indeed the whole Key Stage and to implement interventions on an individual an whole class basis where necessary.

Key Stage 4 builds on the work years 7-8 and culminates in exams for both GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. 

Year 9 is a preparatory year for GCSE, in which the skills for the following years are embedded.  Language units include writing to argue and persuade; the study of speeches, and the study of the Gothic style.  Literature units cover contemporary poetry; Dickens ‘ A Christmas Carol’ and an introduction to Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Students follow the AQA syllabus.  The Key Stage includes the study of poetry, a Shakespeare play and various fiction from different genres.  We enrich the course by visiting a ‘Poetry Live’ revision workshop and by attending the theatre to see ‘An Inspector Calls’ when is its performed locally. 

Students follow the AQA specifications for GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature, which involved 100% final examination assessment.  Both years 10 and 11 are spent covering the content and skills required to complete the courses.

The ability to understand the character and motivation of those around you is a useful tool in any circumstance: being ‘well read’ also engenders a better understanding of human nature throughout the ages, whilst providing access to social, historical and political commentary, written by men and women within prominent literary circles.  At St Margaret Ward, students follow the AQA English Literature Specification A which offers a challenging and enjoyable programme of study for all those with an interest in and enthusiasm for, literature across all genres.  Universities regard this subject as an academic and rigorously assessed certificate and without doubt see it as an indicator of a well rounded student. 

The aim of the course is to consolidate and enhance skills acquired at Key Stage 4 and nurture independence.  Throughout the course, students complete units on prose, drama, Shakespeare and poetry all based around the themes of ‘Love through the Ages’ and ‘Texts in Shares Context- Modern Times’.  Coursework assessment is through an extended essay which includes analysis of a set novel, along with a text of the students own choosing, encouraging greater independence and allowing the students to tailor part of the course to their own literary preferences.  The course culminates in two examinations which test the students understanding of literature across the ages from Medieval to Post-Modern writing and includes not only the texts studied in year 12 and 13, but also unseen literature and a collection of poetry studied throughout the course. 

The Library and Learning Resource Area

The Library is available for pupils and staff. It provides reading books, support and help for homework, coursework and revision.


Monday – Friday: 8.00-4.00

(Opportunity to do homework, coursework or quiet reading before and after school: 8.00-8.45am and 3.10-4.00pm)

We have a large selection of both fiction and non-fiction books. This includes the latest teenage novels, for example, Diary of a Wimpy kid, Hunger Games, Jacqueline Wilson, Vampire Diaries, Cherub and Henderson Boy’s. There are also many non-fiction books to enjoy, ranging from Guinness World Records, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Ghosts, Pets, Football and Optical Illusions to name a few.

  • A Book club on Wednesday after School to enjoy reading the latest books together. Sign up with Miss Barnett.
  • Book quizzes
  • A request and reserve facility allowing staff and pupil’s to order new books for our Library
  • The Librarian, Miss Barnett, is available to support and help throughout the School day. If you have any questions or suggestions please ask.



Library Activities

We have recently been given the title of Champion School in Accelerated Reading.   Well done to all of our amazing Accelerated Readers and to Miss Barnett!


2018 Readathon


Stoke Literacy Festival 2017
On 8th June Miss Barnett, Miss Gould and 3 pupils went on a reward trip to the Stoke literary festival held at the Emma Bridgewater factory. On arrival we enjoyed the Emergency poet which was a unique idea of you lying down In  a real ambulance and you were diagnosed and treated with a poem to heal your symptoms. We then had tickets  to listen to Tim Smit entrepreneur and founder of The Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden project. He was inspirational and very amusing! We had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and the pupils received great compliments from out taxi driver and event organisers on how very polite and well behaved our pupils were representing our School. Well done Jessica Adams, Harry Challinor and Uswa Mirza.

Potato Book Character Competition 2017