Our aim is to equip our students with the language skills to succeed in adult life. We have a strong focus upon literature, both contemporary and from the literary heritage, and a belief that speaking and listening supports and enhances the more traditional communication methods of reading and writing.

In all year groups, students are offered the chance to engage with texts from a variety of sources, both full novels and plays, and non-fiction articles, transcripts of spoken language and poetry. Students are encouraged to transfer their skills between texts and to make connections both across texts and across the school curriculum as a whole.

Increasingly, the department makes effective use of technology, from interactive whiteboards in the classroom to exploring the benefits of using Twitter to provide a gateway to the plethora of excellent writing available to students at the touch of a button. Students are encouraged to read widely around the texts and topics they cover in class through targeted reading lists.

Outside of the classroom, students are also offered vast opportunities to both develop and use the skills they have already learned in English. The school has a long history of success in the Rotary Club Youth Speaks competition, whilst students also compete in in-house writing competitions. We are also proud supporters of the Berkhamsted Writing Competition, a local writing competition which raises money for the Hospice of St Francis.


Key Stage 3

All students receive five hours of English per fortnight. In Year 7, one lesson a fortnight is dedicated to private reading in order to provide students with an opportunity to develop their love of literature.

Each half term is dedicated to a different topic, designed to engage and appeal to a wide range of students.

Year 7 Year 8 Year 9
Introduction to Shakespeare A Midsummer Night's Dream Short Stories                                          
The Gothic Modern texts (choices from Our Day Out by Willy Russell), Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo or KIng of Shadows by Susan Cooper Modern texts (choices from Stone Cold by Robert Swindells, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne or The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins)
Modern novel  (choices from Holes by Louis Sachar or Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magonian) Detective Stories Twelfth Night or The Tempest
Sporting Tournaments (non-fiction texts) Titanic (non-fiction texts) Poetry anthology
Introduction to Dickens Poetry Rioting (non-fiction texts & GCSE bridging unit)

Students are taught in mixed ability groups in Year 7, whilst in Years 8 and 9 they are taught in ability groupings based upon previous attainment and teacher assessments.


Key Stage 4 (from September 2015)

All students study GCSE English Language, with the majority of students also studying GCSE English Literature. Students study a variety of texts from the 19th century to the present day.

Click here for more information on AQA English Language GCSE

Click here for more information on AQA English Literature GCSE


Key Stage 5 (from September 2015)

Students follow the AQA A specification for A Level English Literature. As part of this course, they study a range of whole texts relating to two major themes: World War I and its aftermath, and Love Through the Ages.

Students can also pursue their own literary interests through the coursework component of the course where more freedom is given in their choice of texts and question.

Click here for more information on AQA English Literature A Level Spec A