Welcome to the English Department

Departmental Courses


  • GCSE English Literature (AQA)
  • GCSE  English Language (AQA)
  • GCSE Media Studies (WJEC)
  • GCE English Literature (AQA)
  • GCE English Language (AQA)
  • GCE Media Studies


Welcome to English. We believe English enables all students to develop their communication skills, critical thinking and imagination through the subject’s three strands: Speaking & Listening, Reading and Writing.

We share a positive view of what students can achieve and we are responsible for providing a supportive but challenging learning environment. We believe students learn best through enjoyment, enthusiasm and excitement; and that all students should have their opinions and contributions heard and respected.

We aim to enable every student to achieve their full potential. Success arises from a desire to achieve combined with a positive work ethic. Consistent effort as well as high attainment should be celebrated.

We believe Reading is the key to all learning. Reading, particularly of literature, offers students the opportunity to develop empathy, wisdom and cultural understanding.

We cover all aspects of the National Curriculum during Years 7, 8 and 9 through differentiated Units. Each Unit includes a formal assessment in Reading and Writing. Our teaching includes a consistent focus on accuracy in Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar. In addition, students sit a formal internal exam in the Spring term of each year. In Year 9, formal assessment and examination grades are combined to create an end of KS3 Level which is the basis for our Year 10 teaching sets.

  • Year 7 Units: Writing to Inform & Explain / Modern Novel / Classic Play / Introduction to Shakespeare / Biography & Autobiography / Writing or Independent Project.
  • Year 8 Units: Writing to Describe / Classic Novel or Short Stories / Myths & Legends / Analysing Media & Non-Fiction Texts / Poetry from Different Times & Places / Reading Comprehension / Storytelling Project.
  • Year 9 Units: Writing to Argue & Persuade / American Novel / Shakespeare Play / Exam Skills & Preparation / Reading & Writing Non-Fiction review / GCSE Spoken Language Presentation / GCSE Unseen Poetry & Love and Relationships’ Poetry Cluster.

GCSE English Language and English Literature

All students at Poole High study both English Language and English Literature at GCSE. A good grasp of the written word alongside a grade 4 or above in English is integral to all students’ plans for the future.

Using the exam board AQA, students study for two exam papers in English Language. Paper 1 focuses on fiction and creative writing skills, using an extract from a novel or short story to explore the writer’s use of language and structure before the students are asked to write a short piece of descriptive or narrative writing of their own.

Paper 2 looks at the ways writers express their views, thoughts and feelings in non-fiction. This paper uses two extracts – one from the 19th century and one on a similar topic from the modern day. After students explore the ways these two texts present their ideas, they are then asked to write their own piece of non-fiction expressing their own views on a subject.

As part of their GCSE English Language course, all students also need to complete a Spoken Language presentation.

GCSE English Literature introduces the students to a wide range of literary texts, from which they are asked to explore language, structure and narrative and link these to the contexts in which they were written. In year 10 students study the novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and the play An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley. In Year 11 students study Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Across both years, students also look at poetry from different eras in AQA’s Power and Conflict anthology and link their skills here to exploring unseen poems in their exams. GCSE Literature is assessed across two exams at the end of year 11.

*In 2021 (current Year 11) AQA have removed the requirement for students to be assessed on all texts in GCSE English Literature, so there will be no assessment of the Power and Conflict poetry. All elements remain for GCSE English Language.

 GCSE Media Studies

Media Studies gives the students the opportunity to study the dynamic and engaging field of media through a combination of theoretical study and practical coursework.

Throughout the course, students are assessed through the four main elements of the theoretical framework – media language, media industries, audiences and representation. These key elements are looked at through 3 different components by the exam board Eduqas.

Component 1 – Exploring the Media looks at magazines, newspapers, video games, advertising and marketing, film and radio. This forms the basis of our study in year 10 and through a variety of set texts students are challenged to explore the ways meanings are created, ideas are expressed and money is made by the media industry.

Component 2 – Understanding Media Forms and Products explores products in slightly more detail and focuses upon music and television. In the music industry, students look at the videos and online presence of Pharrell Williams and Katy Perry and contrast this with 90s band, TLC. In a similar way, they explore in detail the way sitcoms work, focusing on the example of The IT Crowd, and contrast this with an older sitcom – currently Friends. This unit is usually studied in the first half of Year 11,

 Component 3 – Creating Media Products is our coursework unit in which the students learn and show off their practical skills. Each year the exam board set a different brief, which our students need to respond to. This can be for a variety of different audiences and on a variety of different topics. Students then go on to research, plan and produce a website featuring their own images and text, as well as either an audio or video element of their own.

A Level English Literature

Year 12

Students will study two Prose texts – at least one of which will be pre-1900 – from an umbrella theme. Themes include: Science and Society; the Supernatural; and Crime and Detection.  This year’s texts have been drawn from the Science and Society section and include a comparison of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Students will be required to explore attitudes and values, genre features and conventions as well as exploring writer’s use of language, form and structure. Poetry is also studied as a separate module and includes poems drawn from a particular period or named poet from a designated literary period, such as Metaphysical or Romantic poetry; further Poetry studies include a selection of post-2000 poetry, including an Unseen element. 

Year 13

Students will develop their awareness of critical theory through a study of Tragedy or Comedy. Their study will include a detailed exploration of a Shakespeare Play as well as the critical analysis of a modern play. Ample time will be given for revision and development of studies as well as for the completion of their coursework unit which involves a comparison between two literary texts of their choice.


There are three exams: one each in Poetry, Prose and Drama.

A Level English Language

Year 12

The main focus for the first year will be on skills acquisition as students become familiar with applying the linguistic theory of Stylistics to a range of texts. Texts are grouped on a theme of Telling Stories and students will focus on three main areas of study: a collection of non-fiction texts focussing on Remembered Places around the theme of Paris; a short anthology of poetry from a selected poet exploring aspects of Poetic Voices; and a literary prose text which explores aspects of Imagined Worlds.

Year 13

Students will extend their knowledge of and ability to apply Stylistics theory to a further literary prose text and a play through their study of a component entitled Exploring Conflict.  They will also need to research their own chosen linguistic and literary theories as part of their own extended coursework project: Making Connections.


There are two exams: one of 3 hours, testing the texts studied in Year 1; one of 2h 15 mins, testing the remaining two texts.

English is a highly regarded subject and opens up a variety of careers including: journalism, marketing, public relations, human resources and teaching. It pairs well with a variety of other subjects from all disciplines.