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Introduction to the Subject & Team

The English department is staffed by a dedicated and forward-thinking team of seventeen teachers and two Learning Mentors. The English Leadership Team consists of the following staff:

Matthew Vellensworth
Mr Matthew Vellensworth (mvellensworth@ossettacademy.co.uk)
Director of Language and Literacy

Mrs Lindsey Goode                     
Curriculum Team Leader of English

Mrs Lyndsey Chand  
Deputy CTL (Key Stage 5)


Mrs Brigette Bake
Deputy CTL (Key Stage 4)

Our vision is to inspire our students to be the thinkers, writers and creators of tomorrow, as we hold the keys to developing their literacy, creativity and curiosity to ensure them success in the wider world. We aim to build a nurturing learning environment that supports an ethos of resilience, confidence and self-belief through our shared commitment and determination; our students are challenged to take a glimpse through our windows of opportunity, as we hand them their own set of keys for a successful future.

In addition to core English lessons, we offer a range of extra-curricular activities and opportunities. These include a weekly Key Stage 3 Creative Writing Club, a Sixth Form study group, additional study support sessions after school and participation in multiple national writing competitions. We also run some exciting educational trips including theatre trips to productions such as An Inspector Calls, Poetry Live and Macbeth.

Course Content at Key Stage 3

Students receive four one-hour lessons of English per week and are placed into sets using Key Stage 2 data, plus the academy’s assessment data as they progress through Key Stage 3.

Year 7

During Year 7, students will be introduced to a range of engaging texts, including fiction and non-fiction. In the Autumn Term we start with some exciting work about Forensic Lingusitic Detectives and then move on to some work on persuasive writing. In the Spring Term, we look at some poetry and then Shakespeare’s language through the study of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Summer Term will focus on George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and some creative writing.

Year 8

The autumn Term sees students studying theme and character in historical fiction and a modern play. The Spring term allows a detailed study of both poetry and a selection of non-fiction texts; both a requirement of the new GCSE exam structure thus giving students an excellent grounding for their exam studies at Key Stage 4. Summer Term will focus on the modern novel and the further development of creative writing.

Year 9

Students move to a curriculum which more closely mirrors the GCSE examination format as they move into Year 9. As well as studying more complex novels, they will explore the analysis of unseen poetry and modern drama. The Autumn Term allows for in-depth study of a modern novel and an exploration of the presentation and language use in the news and current affairs. In the Spring Term, students will study ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare, with a focus on context, theme character and language. In the Summer Term, students will return to a study of poetry and prepare for their end of year exams.

Selected students in Year 7 and 8 also participate in our Accelerated Reading programme, which involves a fortnightly reading session in the library and a computer-based quiz to confirm understanding. The AR programme has excellent results and we regularly see substantial improvements in students’ reading ages over the course of a year.

Course Content at Key Stage 4

Year 10 and 11

Exam board/Specification: AQA GCSE English Language / English Literature

Assessment and examinations:


English Literature

Paper 1: 1 Hour 45 Mins, 80 Marks, 50% of the GCSE

Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

Section A: Reading

Section B: Writing

Paper 2: 1 Hour 45 Minutes, 80 Marks, 50% of the GCSE

Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives

Section A: Reading

Section B: Writing


English Literature

Paper 1: 1 Hour 45 Minutes, 64 Marks, 40% of the GCSE

Section A Shakespeare: 1 Question based on a Shakespeare play studied in class

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Section B 19 Century Novel: 1 Question based on a novel studied in class

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens


Paper 2: 2 Hours 15 Minutes, 96 Marks, 60% of the GCSE

Section A Modern Texts: Answer 1 Question on a text studied in class

An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

Section B Poetry: Answer 1 Question based on poetry studied in class

Poems from the ‘Power and Conflict’ Anthology Cluster

Section C: Unseen Poetry:  Answer two questions based on unseen poems


During Year 10 and Year 11, students will start to study and prepare for their GCSEs in both English Language and English Literature. Exams for these two subjects will be taken at the end of Year 11. At KS4 English students will study a wide range of English Literature and will have a chance to study novels and plays from the 20th and the 21st Century along with a range of 19th Century texts. Alongside this, there will be a chance to analyse non-fiction texts from the 19th and 20th Century that will include appreciation and analysis of language. Students will also study a Shakespearean play in depth.

Career Opportunities and Progression within the Subject

At Ossett Academy, we want all students to enjoy English and be confident in their use of everyday English in the wider world. Whether or not a student formally carries on with English in a qualification or career, the ability to communicate is an essential skill. However, there are various options for students who want to make English a central part of their life after GCSEs.

Firstly, there are three specific English ‘A’ Levels available (English Language, English Literature and English Language and Literature), which seek to extend and develop the appreciation of language developed at GCSE. However, ‘A’ Levels such as Film Studies and Media Studies incorporate similar skills to those used in English but through the analysis of more ‘visual’ texts. Many students who enjoy GCSE English go on to study these ‘A’ Levels.

Beyond school and college life, the opportunities with English are boundless. There are a whole range of degree level courses from English itself to Creative Writing, Journalism and Communication Studies (to name just a few), as well as courses that focus on specific aspects of English.

There are probably few careers where confident use of English is not essential and whilst journalism, teaching and writing are probably the most obvious examples of careers using English, the list is endless. Speechwriting, news presenting, marketing, careers in film and theatre, researcher, reporter. Any job where you need to be clear, concise and imaginative in your communication will be easier with good English skills.

How Parents Can Support Learning

  • Take an interest in your child’s weekly English homework and ensure that they are spending an appropriate amount of time on it.
  • Encourage your child to proof read their written work and look up any spellings they are ensure of in a dictionary.
  • Encourage reading for pleasure (fiction and non-fiction, including newspapers and periodicals).
  • In Years 7 and 8, monitor your child’s Accelerated Reading progress by checking the relevant section in their planner and asking them about the book they are currently reading.
  • Encourage your child to examine all texts critically e.g. web pages, leaflets, letters, articles, etc.
  • Encourage your child to help you with any ‘real life’ writing tasks you might have a home, for example writing a letter or e-mail of complaint or job application letter.
  • Purchase copies of the GCSE set texts and revision guides (your child’s class teacher will inform them of the titles and relevant editions).
  • During exam season, help them to create a revision timetable which includes specific revision activities to complete. Your child’s class teacher can give them guidance on this.

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