During the Key Stage Three placement, pupils study a scheme of work on a made unit themed around Human Rights, with emphasis on writing to persuade and speaking and listening skills. The unit is aimed to practise basic media analysis skills, as well as raising student consciousness of social issues. Students also study novel writing, often on texts that involve social issues; for example, the novel Stone Cold and the topic of homelessness. Students are also encouraged to express themselves creatively and develop empathy skills. In the past year students wrote creatively after studying the topic of the sinking of the Titanic. Curriculum planning is informed by the recommendations of the Chief Examiner for English’s Moving English Forward report(2012)

All KS3 and 4 students are initially assessed to ascertain baseline literacy scores. All students follow the Dyslexia Action approved literacy-intervention programme Units of Sound. This is a structured, cumulative, multisensory programme that teaches reading, spelling and writing skills to students of all ages from 7 through to adult. The English Department has also developed its own student progress system to record students’ learning progress.

At Key Stage Four, pupils follow a structured pathway through Functional Skills English Levels 1 and 2. Students with particularly weak literacy skills may follow the Entry Level Certificate courses. Further literacy testing is triggered by below average Baseline literacy tests and the data from the theses tests is used to determine whether additional time and support can be made available in public exams. Students who are able to are entered for GCSE, and usually follow the AQA 4700 English syllabus. The intention of the English Department is to achieve a recognised qualification for all students and to achieve a GCSE grade for as many students as possible.