English is a very popular subject at St Michael’s and students excel at each key stage, with our GCSE and A Level results being amongst the highest in the country. The Department believes in providing a broad and stimulating curriculum within each key stage. Our pupils become analytical and critical thinkers, with many of our students pursuing English at undergraduate level. Ultimately, the analysis and appreciation of the subject matter of the English programmes of study encourage understanding of moral and ethical issues. Through English, students face challenge in debate and study, which will foster recognition and sympathetic awareness of others’ values and beliefs.

The Department:

H. Theodore:  Head of Department
A. Majid:        Second in Department:
N. Phelan:     Learning Mentor
D. Manning:   Oxbridge Applications
M. Roe:         Coursework Co-ordinator
C. Duffy:       Competitions and Enrichment

Key Stage 3

The curriculum at KS3 is partly dictated by the National Framework in that we have moved towards setting out teaching objectives for pupils to ensure that they will build on their achievements from primary school. Pupils read a range of literature, investigating key features of style, characters and themes. They explore the style and effects of language in non-fiction texts. Their writing develops in range, sentence structure and vocabulary. They proof-read their own work. By the end of the key stage, handwriting should be fluent and legible. They develop collaborative and argumentative oral skills by working in pairs and groups. The school examination tests their knowledge and understanding of literary and non-fiction texts, and their ability to write accurately and appropriately, matching style to purpose. The department’s overall aim is that by the end of Year 9, each pupil will be a fluent, perceptive and independent reader, a confident and competent writer and an effective speaker and listener. Students have three English lessons per week in addition to a library lesson, where they are guided in their reading experience and encouraged to maintain a reading journal.

Key Stage 4

 The Department delivers AQA: English Language 4705 and Literature 4710. Literature is a compulsory subject for all students and 100% are entered for the higher tier. The course is introduced in the summer term of Year 9 with a bridging unit on Moon on the Tides from 2012 GCSE Anthology. Our students do exceptionally well at English and we endeavour to maintain interest and challenge by adding a range of activities and exercises to ensure they gain the breadth to stimulate and prepare for A Level. Students receive four lessons per week with students following the same teacher through the two years. They are invited to participate in a range of writing and speaking competitions, attend courses and theatre trips as well as participate in the Book Club that meets regularly.

English Language:                                                   English Literature:
40% Controlled Assessment Tasks                  25% Controlled Assessment Task
20% Speaking and Listening                              40% Unit One- examination
40% Unit One- examination                               35% Unit Two- examination

Key Stage 5

English Literature is one of the most popular subjects in the school. This is because of the enduring appeal of studying a variety of texts and authors within a school that has a strong tradition of literary pursuits. At A Level students follow the AQA: Specification B, studying a range of poetry and prose texts. The students are invited to suitable theatre visits, films and lectures, and numerous courses off-site, as well as attending extra tutorials within the department. Specialised mock interviews are held in preparation for University entrance and our top students are coached for the Oxford ELAT (English Literature Admission Test.) Students are encouraged to participate in the Senior Book club and receive extension reading lists, which take them beyond the remit of their A Level course. We pride ourselves on sharing the expertise of students within the school- and we have a very successful mentoring system, linking A-Level English students with pupils in key stage 3 and key stage 4 in order to enhance their reading and writing skills.

A.S. Level                                                      A2
40%: Coursework                                  40%: Coursework
60%: Exam- Aspects of Narrative          60%: Exam- Texts and Genres

There are a number of clubs and activities which our students are encouraged to attend, including Junior Poetry Club, Junior Book Club, Senior Book Club, Debating Society and a range of educational visits throughout the year. Our annual trips include:

  • Year 7 visit Stratford-Upon-Avon in the summer term to complement students’ introduction to Shakespeare.
  • Year 8 visit The Globe Theatre and attend a workshop and performance.
  • Year 9 participate in a theatre workshop to support their Key Stage 3 curriculum
  • Years 10 and 11 attend a range of theatre visits and the prestigious Poetry Live conference
  • Sixth Form attend relevant Sovereign Education days, theatre trips, as well as an end of year literary tour, to complement their study of Gothic fiction.


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