Key Stage 4

Year 9: Gateway to GCSE

We are extremely proud of our Year 9 ‘Gateway to GCSE’ curriculum. Although we read the texts that the pupils will eventually cover for their GCSE studies, we spend the vast majority of year 9 studying a fiction, non-fiction and poetry anthology designed by our own English team. By viewing GCSE texts through a contemporary lens, we feel that this places our learners in a much better position from which to enjoy and understand the texts. Rather than simply studying the texts in isolation and repeating these during years 10 and 11, we ask the following questions-

  • What is the downfall of Man? (Macbeth)
  • Are humans fundamentally good? (A Christmas Carol)
  • Can we fully take responsibility for our actions? (An Inspector Calls)
  • Does absolute power corrupt absolutely? (Power & Conflict Poetry)

Alongside our Gateway curriculum, for two periods a week, pupils read a range of fiction texts, including tasks that seek to improve their core knowledge of reading and writing. As with the Gateway Anthology, the underpinning tasks are designed solely “in house” in order to ensure that we are extremely clear about the knowledge, sequencing and application that the pupils need to be familiar with in order to succeed.

You can support your child by:

  • Discussing their anthology with them and asking them what they have been reading in class this week
  • Ensuring they complete their weekly Reading Plus tasks (homework)

Key stage 4

Exam board – AQA

In Year 10, although we understand the importance of acclimating pupils with their exams, in Language, we continue to focus on units such as social justice and mental health, as well as exposing them to a wide range of high quality fiction and non-fiction with a real focus around crafting writing. We feel passionately that we ought to focus on understanding the mechanics of language and literature in year 10, as this will ultimately serve our learners much better in the future.

In Year 11, we focus much more directly on the quality of exam technique; in essence, we begin to more directly translate the learning and experiences of the previous four years into exam practice to ensure that all pupils achieve their very best.


As well as class-based assessments, the following ‘whole school’ assessments inform our interventions:

  • Year 9: A ‘hybrid GCSE’ assessment that asks pupils to form critical opinions on texts before offering an evaluation, and undertaking both fiction and non fiction writing
  • Year 10: A series of class based GCSE style Language and Literature assessments that combine with an end of year PPE to give us an accurate indication of pupil progress
  • Year 11: As well as rigorous class based exam style questions, we undertake three full PPEs (of which at least one is externally marked by exam board markers).

We are proud to have a number of colleagues in the team that have marked for our exam board; this greatly helps the quality of our moderation and accuracy of assessment.

You can support your child by:

  • Encouraging them to speed plan essays and paragraphs using our practice exam papers; a range of knowledge building activities and exam practices can be found on our online drive of resources here –
  • Encouraging them to access and use independently

Discussing and encouraging your child to read quality fiction and non fiction; for high quality comment pieces and reading, we thoroughly recommend The Guardian, and as well as the link above a wonderful range of fiction can be found here –