Our English curriculum invests in our students the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to become lifelong learners, linguists and critics. We offer provision, inside and outside the classroom, that engages our students, is relevant to their experience and appropriate to their needs. We intend to broaden our students’ understanding, knowledge and skills by placing challenge at the heart of an experiential, diverse and outward-looking curriculum, so that we can enrich their learning, stretch their capacity and push them beyond their understanding. We want to immerse our students in the wonders of quality texts to instil a love for reading, producing and performing; a passion for discovery and a confidence to explore their imagination.

We want learners to make rapid progress and we facilitate this through our cumulative, frequently revisited and interleaved curriculum. We want learning in English, Drama and Media to interrupt the psyche and for students to feel difficulty so that they can develop resilience and independence and be agentive in the classroom and in wider society. We intend to “make the difference” to our students’ lives.


 Our curriculum is centred around high-quality age-appropriate texts of different forms and genres which will create opportunities to incrementally develop literacy (textual and performative) and comprehension across the key stages. Programmes of learning will focus on key reading strategies and skills and on developing knowledge and understanding of grammar, punctuation and technical accuracy in writing which students can apply across the wider curriculum. At key stage 3 in particular, our boys will approach learning through a thematic enquiry model so that they accrue knowledge that is rich and transactable and that which speaks to them, engages them and challenges them. They will do this, for example, through the study of race, migration and empire using different text-types to facilitate their enquiry.

In line with whole-school priorities, we are clear that there will be no cap in aspiration in the classroom and beyond and we frame all learning with stretch and difficulty. Moreover, we are clear that effective learners are not factory produced and therefore believe very much in the value of experiential learning and learning that takes place outside of the classroom. We promote literacy and creativity through enriching the curriculum, across all key stages, with trips and workshops and through residential visits to locations such as the Forest of Dean and Stratford-Upon-Avon and Haworth; and through celebrating events such as National Poetry Day and World Book Day and through dropping down the curriculum for events such as Shakespeare week and the Spoken Language Challenge. The enrichment and extra-curricular provisions we seek to offer are central to our culture and identity and we are unflinching in our view that building of cultural capital is the most sustainable way of securing success for our students.


We strive to ensure that our students’ attainment is in line with or exceeds their potential when we consider their different starting points. In tracking the progress of our learners, we consider the age-related expectations for each year group and use a range of performance measures to evaluate curriculum impact: this includes learning walks, book looks and student voice, alongside summative outcomes. We are committed to ensuring that students will make at least good progress in reading, writing, speaking, presenting and listening from their last point of statutory assessment but also that they become more resilient, independent, confident and emotionally literate. The impact of our English curriculum will ensure our students are academically, emotionally and socially prepared for life beyond our school.

Boys and English


All classes, in all years, have opportunities to study poetry (pre and post 1900), drama (Shakespeare and post-1900), prose (pre and post 1900), media and non-fiction. They are taught and develop skills in the three key components: reading, writing and spoken language (speaking and listening). These skills are built upon and developed from Y7 to Y13.There are key schemes of work for each year group.

There is a focus on ‘depth over breadth’, with students fully understanding the relevance of the skills they develop, appreciating where they can be used and for what effect. Our students are given adequate time to apply the skills they have learnt, with opportunity for extended writing, reading analysis and spoken language presentations. 



Understanding the Importance of Exam Success

The English Department seeks to fully embed the skills required for national external examinations in Key Stage 4 and 5 from Y7. This is done through a combination of textual study, discussion, e-learning, conferences and workshops. The aim of this is to ensure our students, at all abilities, are confident of how to attain and achieve.  Ultimately, we are keen to transmit our enthusiasm for the subject to all who study it, regardless of age or ability!


Students are challenged with language discussion and analysis, remembering techniques and quotes, preparing them for the demands of the new literature focussed GCSE: developing the ability to apply these key reading and writing English concepts is increasingly important. Retaining and utilising key skills effectively is achieved by regularly revisiting key reading, writing and spoken language concepts, ensuring there is adequate extended writing and analysis of reading practice. These skills are taught through a range of approaches deliberately designed to engage boys!

Accelerated Reader

2Our students are encouraged, throughout, to be independent readers and one lesson for KS3 is dedicated to Accelerated Reader. Boys are given specific book choices related to their reading ages, which are reviewed to ensure progress is made in reading across the years. There are close links with the school library that monitor this.



The department follows AQA GCSE English Language (8700) and Literature (8702) at Key Stage 4 (worth 2 GCSEs). We believe all our boys can attain and should have access to those GCSEs. Courses are 100% examination, made up of understanding literary and non-literary fiction and non-fiction texts. The Literature course is 100% examination, exploring both 19th century and modern texts, poetry Shakespeare. The GCSEs prepare for A Level English Literature study and a number of other courses in higher education. All potential employers, in whatever chosen career, will be looking for people who can communicate clearly and express themselves appropriately. Good communication skills are vital in all aspects of life.

Further information about the GCSE courses is available from: 




At KS5, those who have not attained GCSE at the required government passing benchmark, continue with this study. AQA Literature A (7712) is undertaken for A Level. The Literature course is 80% examination, exploring drama, poetry and prose from pre-1900 to post-2000. A Level Literature is an excellent foundation for many undergraduate courses, aside from English based study.

Further information about the A Level course is available from:


English KS3

English KS4

English KS5

Curriculum Maps

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

English Language

Year 10

Year 11

English Literature

Year 10

Year 11

Year 12

Year 13 

School Calendar

Southborough High School
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020 8391 4324
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