Our Curriculum Intent 

At Clayton Hall Academy, the English curriculum both inspires and challenges our students, creating an appreciation of human creativity and achievement through our study of literary heritage texts, including those from different cultures from within Britain and around the world. By giving our students a diverse and challenging curriculum, we also give them the skills, resilience and independence needed to become well-rounded individuals with an appreciation for wider societal values. These texts help them to experience life beyond their local contexts and become citizens of the future.

The curriculum has been created with a backbone of English skills which are explicitly taught and re-visited throughout all five years. This spiral curriculum model allows us to adapt and update curriculum content on a regular basis whilst still ensuring that students are fully equipped with the English skills needed for both further study and future careers. In addition to this the study of current affairs, based non-fiction, allows us to challenge negative views and prejudices whilst promoting British values. Our speaking and listening opportunities allow students to present and articulate ideas and opinions to formal and informal audiences in a professional manner, communicating confidently with others using a range of vocabulary.

Ultimately, the English Curriculum at Clayton Hall Academy is designed to create curious and creative individuals who have the skills, confidence, and knowledge to achieve their potential both at school and beyond.


Gold Standard Teaching and Learning 

We expect that in English this would include:- 

  • clear learning aims and a clear route to achieving success
  • high demands of pupil involvement and engagement with their learning
  • an appropriate use of a range of pedagogies and learning strategies
  • learning through oracy with regular opportunities for pupils to talk both individually and in groups 
  • an expectation that pupils will accept responsibility for their own learning and work independently
  • regular use of encouragement and rewards to engage and motivate pupils 
  • topics, texts and activities that aim to engender a love of the subject
  • the opportunity to connections between English study and the real world 

Key Stage 3 Overview 


Key Stage 4 Examination Overview 

AQA GCSE English Language 8700 

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing 

What’s assessed:- 

Section A: Reading 

  • one literature fiction text  

Section B: Writing 

  • descriptive or narrative writing  


How it’s assessed:- 

  • written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes  
  • 80 marks  
  • 50% of GCSE  



Reading (40 marks) (25%)– one single text 

  • 1 short form question (1 x 4 marks)  
  • 2 longer form questions (2 x 8 marks)  
  • 1 extended question (1 x 20 marks)  

Writing (40 marks) (25%) 

  • 1 extended writing question (24 marks for content, 16 marks for technical accuracy)  


Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives 


What’s assessed:- 

Section A: Reading 

  • one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text  

Section B: Writing 

  • writing to present a viewpoint  

How it’s assessed:- 

  • written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes  
  • 80 marks  
  • 50% of GCSE  



Reading (40 marks) (25%) – two linked texts 

  • 1 short form question (1 x 4 marks)  
  • 2 longer form questions (1 x 8, 1 x 12 marks)  
  • 1 extended question (1 x 16 marks)  

Writing (40 marks) (25%) 

  • 1 extended writing question (24 marks for content, 16 marks for technical accuracy)  


Non-examination Assessment: Spoken Language 

What’s assessed:-  

  • presenting  
  • responding to questions and feedback  
  • use of Standard English  

How it’s assessed:- 

  • teacher set throughout course  
  • marked by teacher  
  • separate endorsement (0% weighting of GCSE)  


AQA GCSE English Literature 8702 


Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel 


What’s assessed:- 

  • Shakespeare plays  
  • The 19th-century novel  (‘A Christmas Carol.’)  


How it’s assessed: 

  • written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes  
  • 64 marks  
  • 40% of GCSE  



Section A Shakespeare: students will answer one question on their play of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.  

Section B The 19th-century novel: students will answer one question on their novel of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole  



Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry 

What’s assessed: 

  • Modern prose or drama texts (‘Blood Brothers’)  
  • The poetry anthology (Power and Conflict)  
  • Unseen poetry  

How it’s assessed:- 

  • written exam: 2 hour 15 minutes  
  • 96 marks  
  • 60% of GCSE  



Section A Modern texts: students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on their studied modern prose or drama text.  

Section B Poetry: students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.  

Section C Unseen poetry: Students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.  


What resources could I buy or borrow that will help my child? 



Our library has a wide range of books available for loan and a fully qualified librarian to help support your child in finding not only a book to interest them but one that will be appropriate for their needs.  


Set texts for English Literature GCSE 

We encourage all GCSE students to purchase their own copies of the set texts so that they can annotate these during study to aid later revision. The ISBN numbers for the editions we use in class are as follows:-  

‘Macbeth’ – ISBN 978-0-19-832400-3  

‘A Christmas Carol’ – ISBN 978-1-407143-64-4  

‘Blood Brothers’ – ISBN 978-0413695109 


Alternatively, electronic copies of both ‘Macbeth’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’ are available to download for free; parents should please note however that mobile phones are not allowed in school and that any e-readers are brought in at the students own risk. Copies are, of course, provided for students to use in lessons and can be borrowed from the library for students to use for homework and revision.  


Copies of the poems in the ‘Conflict and Power’ poetry collection are provided by the school for use in lessons. 


Revision guides for GCSE 

The department does not recommend any particular style of revision guide as all students have different preferences. However, they must always be suitable for the AQA syllabus as question styles vary between exam boards. Occasionally, where a discounted offer has been obtained, the department will offer revision guides for sale. Parents will be contacted via email where this happens.  


Dictionaries and thesauruses. 

Having copies of these readily available at home helps to support students in not becoming over-reliant on spelling and grammar checking software, whilst also building their ability to recognise word patterns and root words which will support both vocabulary acquisition and reading ability.  


What are the key websites or Apps that my child could use? 




BBC GCSE Bitesize 

YouTube Revision Videos (Mr Bruff is especially good. ) 


Seneca Learning 

Oak National Academy 


What can I do to encourage my child to take further interest in English? 

  • Share reading with them – read the same book or just ask about theirs.  
  • Watch the news together – many of the non-fiction texts we look at are focussed on national and international issues; writing tasks in exams ask students to respond to scenarios involving local council decisions.   
  • Argue about the news - Oracy and debate are incredibly useful skills which can be practised at home. (Also, it’s fun to win a debate!)  
  • Find online writing competitions for budding poets and storytellers.  
  • Play word games – the better your vocabulary the better you achieve in all subjects.  


What after school or other extracurricular activities are available in English and when are they? 

Fully Booked 

Our librarian, Mrs Corbet, runs the ‘Fully Booked’ reading club, an exciting way for pupils to discover, read, discuss and respond to a wide range of fiction. Students take part in both the ‘Staffordshire Young Teen Fiction Award’ and in the ‘Carnegie Award’ where young people review, and vote for their favourites, from a range of newly released fiction. 

Theatre trips are organised at various points, as and when performances become available. Students are informed by class teachers and via the Daily Bulletin. 


Email Links 

To find out more about the curriculum we are studying please contact staff via email