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St Thomas More Catholic School

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Our mission is to inspire students to flourish in the wider world by fostering a love of reading; encouraging them to become skilled writers; and to develop into confident and articulate speakers. We believe that English has a pre-eminent place in education and in wider society, and as such we teach students to read, write, and speak fluently and confidently so that they can communicate successfully.

At Key Stage 3, we have designed a curriculum that builds from Key Stage 2 that is broad and enriching, and leads to success in Key Stage 4, Key Stage 5, and beyond the educational context. We ensure that students’ literacy (both written and verbal) is of the highest standard. Through exposing students to a robust selection of texts from the literary canon to the modern day (both fiction and non-fiction, and from writers from diverse backgrounds) they encounter challenging vocabulary which they then apply within their own writing and speaking. We aim to ensure that students have the stamina to write extended pieces, fluently, confidently, and in a sustained way. We design our progression model so that students:


  • Present complex and sophisticated ideas
  • Match writing to purpose and audience
  • Use standard English and appropriate register
  • Organise material through paragraphs, fluently linked connectives, and discourse markers
  • Using ambitious and extensive vocabulary for specific effect
  • Use accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar, using a variety of punctuation for specific effect
  • Intentionally use language devices
  • Plan, edit, and proofread


  • Make inferences, including multiple interpretations
  • Know the purpose, audience for and context of the writing and draw on this knowledge to support comprehension
  • Know how language, including figurative language, vocabulary choice, grammar, text structure and organisational features, presents meaning, using accurate subject terminology
  • Recognise a range of conventions of form
  • Make critical comparisons across text

Through reading in particular, students in our department develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. We aim to develop reading for pleasure and build cultural understanding, as well as supporting students to become independent readers.

By the end of Key Stage 4, we ensure that students are confident in oracy, can critically analyse a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, and can write confidently and competently in a range of styles for different audiences and purposes, in preparation for the choices they make going into Key Stage 5.

The English curriculum content is designed to be inclusive, inspiring and foundational to every pupil's understanding of the world around them, whatever their individual needs. We ensure that challenge is built in at every level, and that all students receive equality of learning opportunities, with every pupil's learning process being of equal value.

The English curriculum content is also designed in conjunction with Catholic values and British values as we use texts and discussion to promote respect for the individual, tolerance, and inclusiveness. We inspire students to be successful and communicative members of community who contribute to making the world a better place through their expression of respect for others.

As cultural capital, we expose students to a range of opportunities outside the classroom (including the Mock Trials, Debate Mate, Speak Out competitions, and Poetry By Heart).


As a multi-cultural London school, we pride ourselves on having a diverse range of teachers with different experiences and expertise, which enables us to relate to students and bring challenging concepts to life in an engaging way. Our teachers have a variety of degree backgrounds including English, History, Politics, Journalism and Media; teachers with these areas of specific subject knowledge lead on individual units for resource making and CPD. We have three exam markers for GCSE and A-level, in both Edexcel and AQA, and use this for regular moderation. We also have an external AQA exam moderator who marks the final mock exams for year 11. We regularly engage in CPD with AQA and the English and Media Centre.

We draw from an extensive collection of reading books across the Key Stages, used for whole class study and to promote reading for pleasure. We belong to ‘Box of Broadcasts’, ‘National Theatre’ and ‘Massolit’ which enable us to challenge the most able students with university lectures and documentaries related to social and historical context for texts. We regularly attend lectures in relation to A-level texts, working closely with the English Departments across the Cardinal Hume Academies Trust to share best practice.

To stretch and challenge students and to encourage a love of reading, we give all year 7 students a reading book to take home under the Book Buzz scheme, and we send home reading books at the end of every term for years 7 and 8. We encourage students to enter a range of reading and writing competitions, and have regular author visits. We also distribute an extensive KS3 and KS4 reading list for students, and lend challenging books to students.

Whole School Literacy

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Drop Everything And Read takes place for all students, years 7-13, for 30 minutes each week. Years 7 – 9 independently read a challenging novel, with the aim of fostering reading for pleasure, as well as improving reading fluency and increasing vocabulary. For years 10-13, subject teachers provide students with a stimulating, extended text such as a news article or academic journal that is directly integrated with the curriculum. This is then interwoven into the lesson through a discussion of big ideas, learning new technical vocabulary in context, or an evaluation of how contemporary issues and current affairs contribute to the subject. The whole school focus allows us to develop rigour and raise the profile of high-quality reading for students. This focus on disciplinary literacy makes clear the value of reading in every subject and that each subject has its own unique language. Sixth form students benefit from developing a substantial wider reading base, and from the explicit preparation for university in which they will read substantial texts in any subject they go on to study.

To further promote reading for pleasure and embed a love of reading, popular lunchtime book clubs take place, and we also regularly give students books to take home and keep, as part of regular author visits and the year 7 Bookbuzz scheme. KS3 students also have lessons in the library, and take part in the National Reading Quiz and Poetry By Heart national competition. We have a team of student literacy ambassadors who plan and coordinate events and competitions to promote reading and fiction. World Book Day is a major date in our school calendar each year; staff dress up and we run a whole host of fun activities, competitions, and author workshops, making it a highly engaging, memorable, and meaningful day for students.

To develop writing skills for extended answers, each department uses subject-specific writing frames that have been made into stickers for the front of KS4 exercise books so that students can always refer to this tool. Student literacy ambassadors offer creative writing support in drop-in lunchtime sessions. As part of our focus on explicit vocabulary instruction, the Word of the Day is embedded within each day, with students applying the words throughout the day and in form-time activities. The annual Spelling Bee takes place in the summer term, which is always very popular and lots of fun!

Literacy intervention takes place on Saturday mornings, running at full capacity and proving to be a successful way of supporting students who need additional help with their reading and writing. Guided reading and handwriting clubs also take place throughout each week.


Mr B Andrews

Mrs T Bayat

Ms C Brem

Mr D Clarke

Mrs K Clifford, Head of Department

Ms J Cornwell

Miss F Cutts

Miss A Daniels, English Assistant Head of Department and Literacy Coordinator

Mr J De Groot

Miss L Drake

Mr N Frederick

Miss E Gale

Ms C Grounds

Ms R Mackay - KS5 English Coordinator

Ms D Secgin

TAs in English: Mrs M Ryan

For further information please contact us at admin@stthomasmoreschool.org.uk

Curriculum Map

English Curriculum Map 2023/24


Why is English Important?

English has a pre-eminent place in education and society. English will teach pupils to communicate their ideas and emotions to others and, through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Reading enables pupils not only to acquire knowledge and build on what they already know but also provides them the chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society.

Curriculum Overview

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Creative writing: myths

War poetry (WW1) leading to spoken word

Creative writing: diversity in literature

Shakespeare: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

Victorian fiction: ‘A Christmas Carol’ and Dickens’ London

Shakespeare: ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Non-fiction: persuasive writing

Shakespeare: ‘The Tempest’

Poetry: love and relationships

Novel: ‘Refugee Boy’

‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley, adapted by Philip Pullman

Non-fiction: ‘The World We Live In’

Dracula - play text

Creative writing: dystopian fiction

Victorian literature: ‘The Time Machine’

Exam preparation

Introduction to poetry

Exam preparation

Non-fiction comparison: crime

Exam preparation

Revision Support

The English Department has a comprehensive reading list which suggests a range of reading material, including the classics and modern fiction.  These are intended to stretch pupils’ reading ability and instil a love of reading. These reading lists are regularly updated and given to pupils during the Autumn term.

Key Tips for Success

It is vital that independent reading of fiction, non-fiction, good quality newspapers and magazines is facilitated outside of school. Pupils and parents can ask the school librarian or their English teacher for recommendations.

Encourage good writing practice using spelling, punctuation and grammar.

How can a parent help their child succeed?

Oversee your child’s reading.  Encourage them to read widely!

Discuss your child’s homework – encourage them to engage with topics covered in class and how these relate to modern society.

Suggested Reading

Suggested reading list for KS3 pupils


Curriculum Overview

Year 10

Year 11

Modern text: ‘Blood Brothers’/’An Inspector Calls’

English language paper 1

Shakespeare: ‘Macbeth’ (in-depth revision)

Power and conflict poetry / unseen (in-depth revision)

English language paper 1 (in-depth revision)

19th Century Text: ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’

English language paper 1

English language papers 1 and 2 (revision) (preparation for mock exams)

19th Century Text: ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ (in-depth revision)

Power and Conflict poetry / unseen poetry

English Literature paper 2



Power and conflict poetry / unseen (in-depth revision) Focus on comparison

Modern text: ‘Blood Brothers’/’An Inspector Calls’ (in-depth revision)

Shakespeare: ‘Macbeth’

Revision of all papers

Final full mock exams (literature and language)

Power and Conflict poetry

English language paper 2

Final revision based on mock exams

Preparation for external GCSE exams

External GCSE exams begin

English language papers 1 and 2

English literature papers 1 and 2

End of year exams

Unseen poetry

(one week) – preparation for final exam (paper 2)

 Suggested Reading 

Suggested reading list for KS4 pupils


English Literature (A Level) - Curriculum Overview

Year 12

Year 13

Edexcel Poems of the Decade - 16 poems based on the modern world

Coursework based on Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber compared to a novel of students choice

A Streetcar Named Desire

William Shakespeare's Hamlet/Coursework

Revision of A Streetcar Named Desire

Wuthering Heights

 Poetry - Keats

Revision of Wuthering Heights and Mrs Dalloway

Mrs Dalloway

In depth revision of Contemporary poetry compared to unseen poetry/End of coursework

Prep for coursework The Bloody Chamber

Revision of all texts.

End of A level two-year course

English is a demanding A Level. It requires a challenging transition from GCSE to A Level studies. A love of books is essential as well as a sense of enjoyment from analysing texts.

Subject requirements at GCSE

A grade 6 in both GCSE English Language and English Literature are required in order to study English at A Level. In addition, all students sit a baseline test in September based on the work they are asked to complete over the summer break prior to them starting Year 12. 

Complementary subjects

English is well-paired with any Art and Humanities subject such as History, Geography, Media, Drama, Sociology and Psychology.  However, students have taken English in combination with an array of other subjects to develop more rounded skills.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

The English department offers students a range of educational trips that help to bring studied texts to life.  Students have the opportunity to visit the Hampstead home of poet John Keats; the Yorkshire Dales, home of Emily Brontë (residential trip); and attend evenings of spoken word and poetry performances in Central London. 

Future Directions

Which university courses require English Literature A Level?

English degrees and related degrees such as Linguistics usually require English Literature.

Which university courses look favourably on English A Level?

Any essay based subject will look favourably on English A Level as it is proof that you can read complex texts and write well. Degrees might include History, Sociology, Philosophy or International Relations.

What are the entry requirements to study English at university?

English requires anywhere between A*AA and BCC.

Which careers could English A Level lead to?

Traditional paths might include Journalism, working in Government, Public Relations, Advertising or Teaching. Increasing numbers are doing Law Conversion courses to become lawyers, where their literacy skills are highly valued.