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English & Drama

The department aims to imbue in all students a love of English and its literature through a range of texts, genres, cultures, and tasks across the age-ranges. Our primary aim is to create an ambitious and thoughtful curriculum so that all students, regardless of their background, can develop into independent, creative, and critical thinkers. Our intention is to explore the rich and varied literary canon, using texts and genres to teach students about the human condition as well as the functionality of the subject. Crucially, we endeavour to provide all students with a language toolkit that will support and facilitate their lives beyond The Royal School.

Reading at Key Stage 3 is wide, varied and challenging. Pupils are expected to read whole books, to read in depth and to read for pleasure and information. Pupils continue to develop their knowledge of and skills in writing, refining their drafting skills and developing resilience to write at length. They are taught to write formal and academic essays as well as writing imaginatively. They are also taught to write for a variety of purposes and audiences across a range of contexts.   

Pupils require an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary will arise naturally from their reading and writing. Teachers will show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language.   

Pupils will be taught to control their speaking and writing consciously, understand why sentences are constructed as they are and to use Standard English. They will understand and use age-appropriate vocabulary, including linguistic and literary terminology, for discussing their reading, writing and spoken language. This involves consolidation, practice and discussion of language.    

In KS4, we follow the AQA exam board for both English Language and English Literature. During this key stage, we aim to move students beyond their substantive knowledge learned in KS3 and begin to explore sources and texts in a more disciplinary way in preparation for their exams and their post-16 education.  

In Language, students read, analyse and evaluate a wealth of different texts with a focus on exploring writing for different purposes and audiences. They will read both literary and non-literary source material from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries and use their points of analysis to craft their own descriptive, narrative and discursive writing.  

In Literature, students use a skill and knowledge-based approach to study a wealth of texts from the literary canon. These include: Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Robert Priestley, and several poets with a focus on power and conflict.