The King's (The Cathedral) School

Peterborough

In English we learn about communication. We develop our Writing skills to address a range of different audiences in a range of different styles. We become analytical Readers who are able to extract the purpose of a writer’s work from anything from an internet blog to a Shakespearean Tragedy and everything in-between. We learn to deliver speeches, work in teams and listen, sensitively, to others.

‘Language is the armoury of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests.’

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

English lessons are delivered by a team of passionate and innovative subject experts. Lessons are designed to match the needs of individuals within the class and we aim to challenge developing minds and support learning at every level. We aim to produce resilient students who are not afraid of a challenge and who will leave KS3 with a love of the written word, fully prepared for their next key stage. We offer extra-curricular activities such as our Year 9 Literature Society, which is delivered by our Sixth Form English A-Level students and the Arts Award for those who wish to explore literature alongside other ‘arts’ in more depth.

KS3

During Years 7 to 9 students will explore:

  • Reading (Pre-1914 texts and contemporary works of Literature)
  • Poetry (From other cultures and themed)
  • Drama (Shakespeare - two plays across the key stage - and modern drama)
  • Speaking and Listening (Individual, Drama role play, discursive, presentation)
  • Writing to Argue and Persuade
  • Writing to Entertain
  • Media (Print and moving image based)

Each year builds upon prior learning and aims to prepare students for the rigours of the new GCSE curriculum and life beyond the classroom.

KS4

At the end of Year 11, students will gain two qualifications, AQA 8700 GCSE English Language and AQA 8702 GCSE English Literature.

The twelve English lessons per fortnight cover the syllabus for both qualifications. Both GCSEs have a mixture of exams and controlled assessments.

English Language

This course will enable students to:

  • read a wide range of texts fluently and with good understanding
  • read critically, and use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing
  • write effectively and coherently using Standard English
  • use appropriate grammar correctly
  • punctuate and spell accurately
  • acquire and apply a wide vocabulary

Students will gain knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.  Students will also be encouraged to listen to and understand spoken language and use spoken Standard English effectively. 

Course Structure

  • Examination Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing (50%)
  • Examination Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives (50%)

English Literature

This course will enable students to:

  • read a wide range of classic literature fluently and with good understanding, and make connections across texts
  • read in depth, critically and evaluatively, so that they are able to discuss and explain their understanding and ideas
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often
  • appreciate the depth and power of the English literary heritage
  • write accurately, effectively and analytically about their reading, using Standard English
  • acquire and use a wide vocabulary, including the grammatical terminology and other literary and linguistic terms they need to criticise and analyse what they read

Course Structure

  • Examination Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel (50%)
  • Examination Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry (50%)

KS5

At The King’s School, the English department offers two A-Level courses:

Language and Literature (Edexcel 9EL0)

Literature (OCR H472)

In order to study either of these courses, we strongly recommend that you have at least B grades at GCSE in both English Language and English Literature. You must have a passion for reading, enjoy discussing texts (poetry, prose and drama), and be a skilful essay writer.  We like George Martin’s comment: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies … The man who never reads lives only once.” Reading is a highly active enterprise; it requires sustained and focused attention, as well as the skills of memory, creativity, imagination and higher-order thinking. The skills you learn in these A Levels will prepare you for a wide range of further study or employment in the future.

English Language and Literature (Edexcel)

One of the most exciting aspects of this course is that it will open an entirely new area of study to you. Linguistics is the study of how language works both in speech and writing. You will learn how to apply the information and skills gained in your own creative pieces and critical analysis.

Literature is about ideas. In all works of literature authors put across attitudes and values through the characters they invent—often through the way in which they are shown to speak or to think; sometimes more directly through the narrative. The intention is always to entertain but often also to challenge the preconceptions of the reader. This is especially true in the case of the literature we will study.

You will study a selection of drama, poetry and literary prose along with a range of non-literary texts including diaries, autobiographies and speeches.

Course Structure

Voices in Speech and Writing (40%) - Examination: 2 hours 30 minutes, open book

Texts: Anthology of non-literary and digital texts, and modern drama text

Varieties in Language and Literature (40%) – Examination: 2 hours 30 minutes, open book

Texts: Range of non-fiction texts, prose text (‘A Room With a View’ by E M Forster), Shakespeare ('Hamlet')

Investigating and Creating Texts (20%) - non-examined assessment (coursework)

Suggested Reading:

The list below does not include the prescribed texts for the course but instead covers the relevant genres and authors studied at A-Level, alongside other texts that will hopefully prove both educational and enjoyable.

For the Non-fiction side of the course, you regularly need to:

  • read broadsheet newspapers for:  Articles, Reportage, Reviews, and Travelogues
  • select Autobiography / Biography & Diary / Memoir guided by your interest
  • read and listen to Blogs and Podcasts guided by your interest
  • read, watch and listen to Interviews as broadcast
  • watch Speeches as broadcast or on catch up devices

For the Literature side of the course, the following texts are recommended:

Prose

We study E M Forster’s A Room With A View, but the following offer a broad and interesting introduction to some of the most thought provoking tales in English Literature:

18th Century (very much the early days of the novel)

  • Daniel Defoe - Moll Flanders (Moll tells her own story of how a woman on her own can keep body and soul together in 18th Century England)
  • Jonathan Swift - Gulliver’s Travels (much more than just Lilliput – a biting social satire)
  • Laurence Sterne - The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (a wonderful book. Anarchic, rambling, funny, clever. The recent film “A Cock and Bull Story” tried to capture its flavour)

19th Century (the flourishing of the novel in all its glory)

  • Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice; Sense and Sensibility...
  • Mary Shelley - Frankenstein (with yet another distorted adaptation coming to the cinemas: this is the original story)
  • George Eliot - Middlemarch (a door-stop of a book, but absolutely worth it: love, idealism, corruption, ambition...)
  • Charles Dickens - Nicholas Nickleby or take your pick...
  • Charlotte Bronte - Jane Eyre (one of the most famous and iconic romances in literature)
  • Emily Bronte - Wuthering Heights (the classic Gothic love story)
  • Bram Stoker - Dracula (another Gothic classic)

Twentieth Century Classics

  • Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited (“a poignant story of the loss of love and innocence”)
  • E. M. Forster - Howard’s End (a novel of class and personal relationships in the early years of the century)
  • Aldous Huxley - Brave New World (a classic of dystopian fiction, as is...)
  • George Orwell - 1984 (Winston Smith’s attempts to rebel against Big Brother)

English Literature (OCR)

The aims of this course are to encourage students to develop their interest in and enjoyment of literature and literary studies. The telling of stories is fundamental to our nature as human beings, and we look forward to working with you as you encounter and interrogate a range of different texts. During the course, you can expect to:

  • read widely and independently, both set texts and others that you choose for yourself
  • engage critically and creatively with texts, learning different ways of responding to them
  • develop your knowledge of literary analysis, learning to evaluate, debate and defend your views
  • explore the contexts of your set texts, engaging with the ways others have interpreted them

We cover a range of texts, so that you emerge from the course as a well-read student, confident in engaging with writing from different centuries and of different genres. The non-examined unit encourages you to study independently; it also offers you the opportunity for some re-creative writing, should you wish to take it. 

Course Structure

Shakespeare, Poetry and Drama pre-1900 (40%) - Examination, 2 hours 30 minutes, closed book

You will study Shakespeare, a collection of Rossetti’s poetry and Wilde’s An Ideal Husband.

Comparative and Contextual (40%) - Examination, 2 hours 45 minutes, closed book

You will study two American novels written between 1880-1940: Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck

Literature post-1900 (20%) - non-examined assessment (coursework). Two essays, one comparing two texts and one close reading or re-creative piece with commentary (you will study A Streetcar Named Desire, Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Simon Armitage’s translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight).

Suggested Reading: 

These are made on the basis of (a) novels that are recognised “classics”, texts that have been influential over a long period; and (b) novels that we have greatly enjoyed and hope that you will too!

18th Century (very much the early days of the novel)

  • Daniel Defoe - Moll Flanders (Moll tells her own story of how a woman on her own can keep body and soul together in 18th Century England)
  • Jonathan Swift - Gulliver’s Travels (much more than just Lilliput – a biting social satire)
  • Laurence Sterne - The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (a wonderful book. Anarchic, rambling, funny, clever. The recent film “A Cock and Bull Story” tried to capture its flavour)

19th Century (the flourishing of the novel in all its glory)

  • Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice; Sense and Sensibility...
  • Mary Shelley - Frankenstein (with yet another distorted adaptation coming to the cinemas: this is the original story)
  • George Eliot - Middlemarch (a door-stop of a book, but absolutely worth it: love, idealism, corruption, ambition...)
  • Charles Dickens - Nicholas Nickleby or take your pick...
  • Charlotte Bronte - Jane Eyre (one of the most famous and iconic romances in literature)
  • Emily Bronte - Wuthering Heights (the classic Gothic love story)
  • Bram Stoker - Dracula (another Gothic classic)

Twentieth Century Classics

  • Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited (“a poignant story of the loss of love and innocence”)
  • E. M. Forster - Howard’s End (a novel of class and personal relationships in the early years of the century)
  • Aldous Huxley - Brave New World (a classic of dystopian fiction, as is...)
  • George Orwell - 1984 (Winston Smith’s attempts to rebel against Big Brother)
  • Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid’s Tale (much talked about at the moment with a TV series creating quite a stir)
  • Khaled Hosseini - The Kite Runner (on our A-Level teaching syllabus until 2015; a powerful tale of friendship, betrayal and redemption from the early 21st Century)

American Literature from 1880-1940

Reading literature from this genre will improve your knowledge and understanding of both contexts of reception and production which are worth 50% of the marks in the exam.

  • Henry James - The Portrait of a Lady
  • Mark Twain - Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Theodore Dreiser - Sister Carrie
  • Willa Cather - My Ántonia
  • Edith Wharton - The Age of Innocence
  • William Faulkner - The Sound and the Fury
  • Ernest Hemingway - A Farewell to Arms
  • Richard Wright - Native Son
  • Anything by John Steinbeck
  • Anything by F Scott Fitzgerald

Further Opportunities within English

  • Theatre trips
  • Visiting poets
  • Visiting writers
  • Visiting Theatre Companies
  • Literary Competitions
  • Literature Club (KS5)
  • Book Club (KS3)
  • Creative Writing Club
  • Contributions to the School Magazine
  • English Wiki

Department Staff

Mrs Tamlyn Rose (TGR): Head of English Department & KS4/KS5 Coordinator
Mrs Joanne Jones (JNJ): Teacher of English & KS3 Coordinator
Mrs Sue Baker (SJB): Teacher of English
Mrs Kate Clarke (KMC): Teacher of English
Ms Sarah Vaughan (SCV): Teacher of English
Mrs Mandy Warner-Bradshaw (MWB): Teacher of English & Pupil Development Manager (Year 11)
Mr Darren Ayling (DAY): Teacher of English & Headteacher
Mr Charlie Armstrong (CJA): Teacher of English & Assistant Headteacher