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Heads of Department: Miss S Lucey


English is regarded as one of the core departments at The Matthew Arnold School. Team English is made up of a group of enthusiastic and passionate teachers, who together have a wealth of subject knowledge across all areas of English. Our students learn and develop strong skills in reading and writing: they explore a range of 19th century and modern extracts for English Language; English Literature comprises of the study of both classic and contemporary texts. Throughout both aspects of the English curriculum, we encourage our students to explore and discuss a range of issues and ideas as we prepare them for life outside the classroom.

Year 7

Year 7 students will explore and enjoy a range of stimulating topics, including ‘Frankenstein’, a gothic play based on the novel by Mary Shelley, An Introduction to Poetry (including modern and classic poems, as well as song lyrics) and language analysis. Over the course of the year, they will continue to develop their skills in reading, writing and oral communication as they make the transition from primary to secondary school and we begin to prepare them for the demands of GCSE.  

Year 8

Students in year 8 will begin to study the Shakespearean play ‘The Tempest’, read Malorie Blackman’s ‘Noughts and Crosses’ and be introduced to GCSE ‘Love and Relationships’ poetry. In addition to working with this challenging but engaging literature, they will explore a range of writing styles and begin to prepare for the transition from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4.  

Year 9

In year 9, our students will begin to study more provocative texts in order to prepare them for the challenges of GCSE. Novels studied include William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ and ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck. In addition to this, they will prepare for English Language Paper 1 and 2 as well as begin preparation for GSCE study of ‘Power and Conflict’ poetry.

Year 10 and 11

Students in years 10 and 11 will follow AQA’s new English Language and English Literature specifications which were examined for the first time in 2017.

To prepare for the English Language examinations, students will be taught to respond to extracts from a range of high quality pieces of fiction and non-fiction. These are chosen from 19th century and modern texts. They will develop their written communication skills, something that will help them as they prepare for all of their written exams, and will also complete assessments in English Speaking and Listening.

The new English Literature examination requires students to read and respond to different types of literature from different time periods. Texts studied may include ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare, ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens and ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J.B. Priestley. In addition they will study an anthology of 19th century ‘Power and Conflict’ poetry and develop skills to analyse Unseen Poetry.


Homework in English is designed to extend and develop the learning in the classroom. The tasks set will be suited to a range of learning styles to ensure that all students are given the opportunity to capitalise on their individual skills and abilities. Examples may include contextual research or an artistic representation of a poem.

Useful Links

English plays an essential role in ensuring that our students leave The Matthew Arnold School with the widest range of opportunities available to them.

Below is a list of websites that may be useful in supporting the learning that takes place in school:





Additional Information

The English department have several exciting enrichment activities planned for this year, including a performance of ‘An Inspector Calls’, a ‘Macbeth’ workshop and a creative writing club which meets every Thursday after school. In addition to this, a group of our year 10 students make themselves available each week to assist and encourage our students in year 7 who can find reading challenging. To support learning, we encourage all students to read for pleasure as a means of developing and enhancing literacy in all areas.

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