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Woodbridge High School

Woodbridge High School


‘Some books are to be tasted; others to be swallowed; and some few to be chewed and digested’  

Francis Bacon

Ethos of the English Department

As a department, we are committed to:

  • Inclusion through our planned mixed ability teaching groups where every learner is given the opportunity to make a contribution and develop the life-long skills of being a confident speaker, reader and writer.
  • Providing high quality teaching of stimulating lessons where careful planning ensures all learners are valued and given opportunities to achieve and enjoy their learning.
  • Sustaining a climate of professionalism where each member of our dynamic team is valued, supported and empowered to contribute to the forward planning and shaping of the vision of the department and our role in the whole school curriculum.
  • Maintaining a strong ethos of sharing and engaging in discussion about pedagogy, which continues to be the main unifying force in our department. 
  • Developing practitioners who actively seek to improve their practice where we always ensure that the pupils are at the centre of what we do.

We are proud of our results and continue to reflect on ways to encourage our learners’ self-improvement and our own craft as teachers.

Aims of the English Department

  • To nurture a life-long love of reading across a wide variety of literature and all aspects of the English Language, understanding writing confidently to communicate, understanding the development of spoken language.
  • To enable learners to think imaginatively and to articulate well-considered responses and views. 
  • To enable learners to understand the world around them through exploration of both contemporary and pre- 1914 Literature – including fiction, non-fiction and literary non-fiction.
  • To develop critical thinking skills and to become confident reflective thinkers.
  • To encourage students to explore a range of different viewpoints on key issues that affect them and characters they discover in texts.
  • To transform learners into independent young people who will be able to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world and to develop emotional intelligence, empathy and value (and promote) diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • To inspire learners to want to study English Language and/or English Literature and other related courses at university or other post-18 pathways.

Why study English?

So, you like reading great books or learning about how the English Language works, but you might still wonder why study English Language or English Literature?  English Language and English Literature are, undoubtedly, the most important subjects you can study at school. The study of literature gives you an insight into human emotions and behaviour that very few other subjects can achieve. It is something that can be enjoyably explored through studying the works of Shakespeare, Orwell, Steinbeck or of writers, poets and playwrights of the eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. An appreciation of literature often develops into an interest in books and reading and this helps develop the extensive vocabulary and reading skills we need in all aspects of our everyday lives.

In addition to the study of literature, the study of the English language offers you the opportunity to develop your writing, reading and speaking skills to an exceptional level; something undoubtedly key in their future lives. Our learners are empowered to develop self-editing skills and appreciate the importance of writing accurately.  Through understanding the effects of a well-chosen verb or a thoughtful subordination in a sentence, learners begin to realise how they can form and adapt the language for situations they will encounter in everyday life, including later careers.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9) 

At Key Stage 3, our learners develop a wide range of skills through a range of units of study.  Once a fortnight, learners in year 9 fortnight, are given the opportunity to read aloud to their teacher and peers to further develop their reading fluency. They are encouraged to read their own books or choose one from the classroom reading box that stocks books written by a diverse range of writers including those from Black and Asian heritages.  Alternatively, they can borrow a book from the school library.

Learners will study Shakespeare plays and contemporary texts such as A Monster Calls, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, Of Mice and Men, Animal Farm. During their studies, they will also cover a range of contemporary drama texts, poetry anthologies and non-fiction texts, all designed to build their essential analytical and evaluative skills in writing, reading and speaking and listening.  Our learners have the opportunity to respond creatively in each year; for example in year 7, learners write their own five-chapter book.

Year 7 and 8 learners have timetabled library lessons once a fortnight where they follow the Accelerated Reading Programme and further develop their life-long love of reading for pleasure.  The programme also allows them to choose books at their reading ability level; they read these, take quizzes and star assessments to help them develop their skills in reading fluency and comprehension. In these sessions, the learners take turns to read to the teacher so the progress in their reading fluency can be supported.

Year 8 learners take part in the traditional popular Public Speaking Competition where each learner chooses and researches a topical issue of their choice, writes a persuasive speech and delivers it to their classmates.  Class winners are entered into a final stage where the last finalists present to the whole year group and invited guests, including the head teacher and members of the Governing body of the school.

Year 9 learners, in addition to their main units of study, follow a transition unit, in the summer term, to prepare for KS4 skills.  They study a Gothic unit which prepares them for responding critically to challenging texts.  Learners also study a non-fiction unit which is designed to build on the writing skills gained from year 7 and 8 and prepare them for writing more sophisticatedly at GCSE standard and beyond, and also to ready learners to explore and respond to even more challenging texts at KS4 and beyond.

All KS3 learners are periodically assessed for understanding and recall: interim and main assessments - and given specific personalised targets to help them improve in both their essential literacy and competencies assessed against the frameworks for the particular units of study.

Key Stage 4 (Years 10 & 11 - GCSE) 

At Key Stage 4, our learners study for two GCSEs: English Language and English Literature. They will study a wide range of topics including Shakespeare plays, wide range of poetry, modern novels and texts by authors from a diverse heritage and cultures, fiction and non-fiction writing skills and they will study how to craft speeches and deliver these with increasing fluency and confidence.  They will complete a range of interim assessment tasks including mock exams to help track their progress and prepare them for the GCSE exams. Both GCSEs are studied through the Eduqas (formerly WJEC) exam board and more information can be found at

GCSE English Language:

This subject, allows our learners to develop their skills as both readers and writers. A range of modern fiction texts and non-fiction texts (from Victorian and modern times and by authors from diverse cultural heritages and backgrounds) are explored where learners are guided in analysing and appreciating the effect of language, form and structure. Learners also engage in writing creatively for both real and imagined audiences in both a creative and discursive way. Additionally, a non-examined compulsory unit, Spoken language, further develops their presentational skills, boosts their confidence in speaking and listening in a range of registers, about a range of topics and for different audiences.

GCSE English Literature:

This subject allows our learners to develop their knowledge and understanding of both modern and traditional literature. A range of drama, prose and poetry is studied. Pupils are also encouraged to enjoy literature and to read as widely as possible. Our core texts include a Shakespearean play, a Victorian novel and a range of poetry through the ages, meeting the requirements of the national curriculum and the GCSE syllabus.

Key Stage 5 (Years 12 & 13) 

The English department offers two separate A Level courses: English Language and English Literature.  Both courses are highly successful and offer our learners a superb opportunity to develop their enjoyment of English to a higher level over a two-year linear course.

In A level English Literature, our learners study the literature of the WW1 and the literature of love. These topics give our learner opportunities to widen their empathetic, analytical and evaluative skills as they are encouraged to respond sensitively to a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, and engage in critical debates, wider reading and develop their skills in writing in an academic register.

In A level English Language, our learners develop their skills as investigative linguists.  Their study includes topics such as Child Language Acquisition and the Development of the English Language since 1500.  Both disciplines develop the our young peoples’ independence as learners and prepare them for a wide range of opportunities post-6th form.

Both A Level courses are studied through the AQA exam board and more information can be found at

For more information, please click on the link below which takes you to the Curriculum Information Booklets on our school website.  Here, you will find more detailed information on the curriculum and assessment provision for every year group – from Year 7 to Year 13.

Future Pathways

Our young people who have studied English at Woodbridge often go on to have successful careers in Journalism, Government, Law, Education and many more.  It goes without saying that competencies gained through the study of English Language and English Literature, underpin all the skills required to be successful in every career and in life.

Contact Head of English