"One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world."


English at Kings Langley School

To us as a Department, English is not just the letters and words that make up our basic understanding or an exam to be sat at the end of a child’s education. In teaching English we are unlocking a door to different perspectives past and present, different cultures far and wide and a new lens on the world that both stimulates and enriches the students in our care. When a child studies English as a subject at Kings Langley School, they are shown through words, worlds they will have never encountered, taught how to read with new eyes and write with a passion and creativity that is encouraged and harnessed through our dedicated and experienced team of staff. We as a Department are packed with expertise and experience, passion and precision and arguably most important of all a love of literature!

English is, also, not just studied in the classroom. It is learnt through the wide range of theatre and educational trips we offer. It is taken in through the guest writers and speakers we have brought in to school and it is reinforced through our close association with our outstanding Learning Resource Manager Miss Hill.



Mr L McGuigan (Subject Leader English) 

Mrs G Harris (Lead Practitioner)

Mrs S Butt

Mr P Trenoweth

Mr A Bilton

Miss L Reeve

Ms N Murphy

Mrs L Harris

Miss V Little

Ms Q Williamson

Miss J Hill (Learning Resource Manager) 


Curriculum Intent

As a department of dedicated and experienced subject specialists we offer English and English Literature at Key Stage Three and Four and English Literature at Key Stage Five. We are committed to sharing our passion for the subject, providing a stimulating, dynamic and academically rigorous experience of English for all our students.

We aim to deliver a KS3 curriculum that is both academically rigorous and culturally enriching in order to prepare students for the challenges of GCSE and beyond. We aim to foster a love of reading and literature through the study and appreciation of a range of increasingly challenging material and encourage all students to read widely and often. Our KS3 curriculum allows students to become confident and creative, curious and analytical, empathetic and empowered as they develop the skills to communicate effectively through the spoken and written word.

We challenge our pupils to think sensitively and carefully about issues in their own lives, in the world around them and in the books we read. English at Kings Langley School allows students to explore and debate, to escape into unfamiliar and fictional worlds and to recognise the power of language. We encourage our students to explore their ideas in a variety of forms: spoken and written, creative and analytical, fictional and transactional. We want our pupils to enjoy exploring language through creativity, performance and analysis and aim to encourage sensitive listening, fluent speech, discerning reading, independent thought, and for pupils to express themselves in writing with clarity and precision.

We have worked tirelessly to provide students with an engaging curriculum that will enable students to appreciate the intricacies of language, including the beauty and versatility that language has in shaping meaning.

Our aspiration for the study of English is that it should offer students a way of understanding people, with all their emotions and motivations; of understanding our country and its vast literary heritage; and of understanding the wider world, with its diverse inter-relationships and modes of communication.

Furthermore, we want the students to read! Books, texts, advertising… indeed anything of value so that they think about how people are presented and how the language used is dynamic, exciting and ever-changing. Pupils examine a variety of texts and these span the centuries, from Beowulf – arguably the oldest text in the English language – to Regeneration, a 21st-century work studied at A-level. We aim to help them find a type or genre of literature which they enjoy reading, be that novels, poetry or high-quality articles, and to appreciate that reading is, tout court, a great use of one’s time.

Language and literature bring readers into contact with important opinions and perspectives, whether those are political, such as Animal Farm, or intensely personal – various myths and My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece. Our students learn about people and ideas that go beyond purely British or European cultures, and texts can help our students develop empathy towards the viewpoints of others. Hence, we discuss controversial issues in challenging texts; for example, regicide in Macbeth, man’s darker side in the Tempest, or issues of political or personal conflict in poetry.

Our priorities include enabling our students to become excellent communicators of the spoken word. English lessons are based on the essentiality of discussing and debating issues at every opportunity. Through the cut and thrust of such debate, students learn that they can argue forcibly and passionately, yet without jeopardising friendships. They learn, too, the importance of the use of anecdote in working with, and eventually managing, people, as well as grasping the power of language; how just one word or comment can change someone’s destiny, whether in Romeo and Juliet or in real life.

Finally, we want our students to use language effectively in social contexts, to share stories, to be witty and (where appropriate!) to make people laugh. That aim extends to all students: we help those who do not necessarily see themselves as the wit or entertainer in a group to find their level, to become more confident and to communicate verbally in a way that suits them.


Key Stage 3 (Years 7 - 9)

At Key Stage 3, we focus on developing and securing the key knowledge and skills required for the study of English and English Literature, whilst also encouraging students to read widely and develop a love and enthusiasm for the subject. We do not seek overly to compartmentalise our curriculum, believing that the study of language and literature resist simplification. The subject is a constant negotiation of meaning in the transactions that occur between readers and texts, writing intentions and writing outcomes. We want our students to have as many options open to them as possible in negotiating how they read and respond.



Pre Term Transitional Unit: Rat by Patrice Laurence 

Our two reading lesson texts for the year are The Ghost of Thomas Kempe and Chinese Cinderella

Telling Tales

Growing up




Myths and Legends

Tales of Troy


My Sister Lives on The Mantelpiece


The Bone Sparrow


Rationale- provision of lexical challenge; introduces literary conventions that induct the students into the discipline of literary study; critical-creative continuum


Rationale- provides students with cultural capital and/or useful knowledge; praxis, or action-reflection



Rationale- introduces literary conventions that induct the students into the discipline of literary study



Our two reading lesson texts for the year are Pig Heart Boy and The Invisible Man

Changing Societies

Gothic Literature


An Inspector Calls

Animal Farm




Twelfth Night


A Walk in the Woods

Rationale- Understanding the interconnectivity of the body of knowledge; provides students with cultural capital and/or useful knowledge; praxis, or action-reflection

Rationale- allows for conceptual and philosophical thought about the human condition; introduces literary conventions that induct the students into the discipline of literary study

Rationale- provision of lexical challenge; praxis, or action-reflection



Our two reading lesson texts for the year are To Kill A Mockingbird and Nineteen Eighty Four


War and Conflict

Love & Hate

Noughts and Crosses

The Book Thief


Romeo & Juliet


Rationale- Understanding the interconnectivity of the body of knowledge; provides students with cultural capital and/or useful knowledge

Rationale- allows for conceptual and philosophical thought about the human condition; provides students with cultural capital and/or useful knowledge

Rationale- Understanding the interconnectivity of the body of knowledge; critical-creative continuum



Key Stage 3 useful links

BBC Bitesize

Education Quizzes - KS3 English


Epic the leading digital library for children 


Key Stage 4 (Years 10 – 11)

At Kings Langley School, all students work towards a GCSE in English Language and English Literature

(EDUQAS English Language)

All students will encounter a range of unseen texts including extracts from novels, short stories, newspaper articles, reviews and letters dating from the nineteenth to the twenty first century.

As part of their study, students will consider how established, modern and emerging writers use narrative and descriptive techniques to capture the interest of readers; identify and interpret explicit and implicit information and ideas; select and synthesise evidence from different texts; use relevant subject terminology as part of their analysis and to compare writers’ ideas and perspectives. Students will also be taught to communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, adapting the tone, style and register of their writing for different forms, purposes and audiences. We aim to develop students’ ability to develop writing that conveys complex ideas convincingly. In addition, students are expected to use punctuation with a high level of accuracy, to securely use complex grammatical structures and to achieve high levels of accuracy in spelling.


All texts in the examination will be unseen.

Component 1 20th Century Literature Reading and Creative Prose Writing

Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes (40%)

Questions include:

Section A: Reading (40 marks) (20%): one single literature fiction text

Section B: Writing (40 marks) (20%): one extended writing narrative question

(24 marks for content, 16 marks for technical accuracy)

 Component 2 19th and 21st Century Non-Fiction Reading and Transactional/Persuasive Writing

Written exam: 2 hours (60%)

Questions include:

Section A: Reading (40 marks) (30%): Understanding of two extracts (about 900-1200 words in total) of high-quality non-fiction writing, one from the 19th century, the other from the 21st century, assessed through a range of structured questions.

Section B: Writing (40 marks) (25%): Two compulsory transactional/persuasive writing tasks

Non-examination Spoken Language

This is assessed within the school by means of a presentation, where pupils respond to questions and feedback.

 (EDUQAS English Literature)

At Kings Langley School, students will study a nineteenth century novel ‘Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens; a modern drama text ‘Blood Bothers’ by Willy Russell; a Shakespeare play, ‘Macbeth’ as well as a range of poetry from Dickenson to Duffy.

As part of their study, the students will learn to adopt a critical style, developing an informed personal response to the texts. They will learn to analyse the language, form and structure used by a writer to create meanings and effects in an insightful and sophisticated way. Additionally, students are taught to develop an understanding of the relationships between texts and the contexts in which they were written.



All assessments are closed book

Component 1: Shakespeare and Poetry

Written examination: 2 hours (40%)

Section A: (20%) Shakespeare (Macbeth)

One extract question and one essay question based on the reading of the text.

Section B: (20%) Poetry from 1789 to the present day

Two questions based on poems from the Eduqas Poetry Anthology, one of which involves comparison.

Component 2: Post-1914 Prose/Drama, 19th Century Prose and Unseen Poetry

Written examination: 2 hours and 30 minutes (60%)

Section A: (20%) Post-1914 Prose/Drama (Blood Brothers)

One source-based question on a post 1914 drama text

Section B: (20%) 19th Century Prose (A Christmas Carol)

One source-based question on a 19th century prose text

Section C: (20%) Unseen Poetry from the 20th/21st Century

Two questions on unseen poems, one of which involves comparison. 


Key Stage 4 useful links

Exam board websites (specification and specimen papers):

English Language

English Literature


Key Stage 5 (A Level) 

(AQA A- English Literature)

Literature at A Level is a broad and challenging journey through the literary canon. Students are encouraged to develop interest in and enjoyment of English Literature, through reading widely, critically and independently, across centuries, genre and gender, and through experience of an extensive range of views about texts and how to read them. There is significant scope for independent study and the emphasis of the course will be on development as an informed, independent reader of literary texts through a course of wide and close reading. As a result, students can expect to read numerous texts, write regular essays and be constantly engaged in reading further around the content of the course. 


a. Love Through the Ages - One core set text (The Great Gatsby); One drama text Shakespeare (Othello) and pre-19th century poetry anthology

b. Modern times: literature from 1945 to the present day- One core set text (The Color Purple) One drama (A Streetcar Named Desire or All My Sons), one poetry (Feminine Gospels) 

c. NEA - Independent critical study: texts across time (comparative study of two texts of students' choice)


KS5 useful links

AQA - English Literature


Useful websites:






British Library Catalogue