Crispin School


English at Crispin

The English Faculty is a large and thriving one which consists of eleven qualified specialist teachers who see the subject as vital in its own right and essential in helping students to access the rest of the curriculum. Every member of the team is proud to offer positive and dynamic learning opportunities within each of their own well-resourced rooms, for all students to develop their creative and critical reading, imaginative writing skills, and effective oracy for life. Teachers enjoy excellent relationships with the students they work tirelessly with to ensure they excel and reach their potential. Intervention is commonplace, with teachers working closely with small groups to ensure all students reach their potential. 

We are very proud of our students’ high level of success in GCSE examinations. In 2018, we enjoyed some of the most impressive results in the county including 82% grades 9-4 in English Language and 79% in English Literature – well above the national averages. This success is a result of quality first teaching and learning which is at the heart of the team’s collaborative, hardworking approach.

English is fortunate to be based within its own building which also houses the school’s well-stocked library managed by two committed librarians. The faculty works closely with the library to coordinate long-established book clubs and host a variety of author visits and events.

Encouraging students to read for pleasure is at the heart of our English curriculum. We embed independent reading into our Key Stage 3 lessons, encouraging students to make use of Crispin’s library. 

We also expect students to be reading regularly at home as an integral part of their extended learning. An advisory reading list is available here to help students make the transition from children’s to Young Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction. We also have a recommended list of effective texts for more reluctant readers here.

English Curriculum Roadmap

Students in Years 7 and 8 follow a popular two year KS3 knowledge-rich programme, recently redeveloped to prepare them for the robust content of the new GCSE specifications but also to enable them to develop their English skills for life. This includes studying an exciting range of contemporary and classic literary prose, poetry, and drama texts including Shakespeare. Students are equally taught to analyse and critique writers’ agendas in a variety of non-fiction texts.

Year groups are split into four classes on each side of the year. Year 7 and 8 are currently taught in mixed ability groups as part of ensuring effective transition from Key Stage 2.  The English faculty see Key Stage 3 as an integral part of a five-year plan. Year 6 data is carefully analysed and baseline assessments are sat within students’ first autumn term at Crispin. This allows us to identify Year 7 students who will benefit from our Year 7 Catch Up programme taught by specialist English teachers who are experienced in conducting effective interventions.

Year 7 & Year 8 Units of Study
Term Year 7 Year 8

Autumn Term

Autobiographical Critical Reading & Writing


Island ‘Survival’ Oracy Project

Noughts and Crosses’ – Dominic Cooke’s drama adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s novel


Representation of Christmas in the Media

Spring Term

Family Dynamics in Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream


War Horse’ by Michael Morpurgo 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ by John Boyne


Gothic Synoptic

Summer Term

EOY7 Exam Preparation


Investigative Journalism

EOY8 Exam Preparation


Don’t Get Me Started!’ Rhetoric in Famous Speeches

Year 9 is a preparatory year in which students begin their transition to GCSE Language and Literature studies. Students hone their skills and enrich their knowledge in a range of poetry modules; a preparatory unit on the 19th century and studying modern dramatists. We take an integrated approach to the delivery of the Key Stage 4 curriculum moving fluidly between Language and Literature throughout the course which we begin in the summer term of Year 9.

Year 9 Units of Study

Autumn Term

Novella Study – ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck


Victorian Villains and Heroes

Spring Term

Different Cultures in Fiction and Non-Fiction


An Inspector Calls’ by J.B. Priestley

Summer Term

EOY9 Exam Preparation


Representation of War in Fiction, Non-Fiction and Media

All pupils in Key Stage 4 study both English Language and Literature GCSEs. The two courses are taught fluidly in set-ability classes to ensure a creative, holistic approach to the demands of the new GCSE specification. Students will be set specific extended learning tasks to complete at home which could involve quote learning, exam practices, re-reading of set texts, and creation of revision resources. These are ongoing priorities across the two-year course and we do expect students to take responsibility for their own extended learning.

Year 10 & Year 11 Units of Study
Term Year 10 Year 11
Autumn Term

Attitudes to War in Poetry

A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens and 19th Century Non-Fiction

Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth


Preparation for Y11 Mock – GCSE Literature, Paper 1 – Shakespeare and 19th Century


Unseen Poetry

Spring Term

Preparation for Y10 Mock - GCSE Lang, Paper 2 - Writer's Viewpoints and Perspectives


Nature vs. Man in Poetry


Understanding Unseen Creative Texts – 20th/21st Century Literature

Revision of Priestley’s ‘AIC’/Willy Russell’s ‘Blood Brothers

Crafting Brilliant Sentences – writing creative texts and effective non-fiction texts

Summer Term

Culture and Identity in Poetry


Speaking and Listening NEA

Explicit Exam Preparation for GCSE Language and GCSE Literature

Students will be assessed through linear exams at the end of a two year GCSE course. There are two terminal exams for GCSE English Language and two terminal exams for GCSE English Literature. The Examination Board for all qualifications is AQA.

GCSE English Language:
Paper 1: Explorations in creative reading and writing – 50% of qualification - Summer 2021 (TBC)
Paper 2: Writer’s viewpoints and perspectives – 50% of qualification - Summer 2021 (TBC)

GCSE English Literature:
Paper 1: Shakespeare & 19th century novel – 40% of qualification - Summer 2021 (TBC)
Paper 2: Modern prose/drama & poetry – 60% of qualification - Summer 2021 (TBC)

More information on these courses can be found here

Past paper and example exam questions can be found here

As well as leaving school with two GCSE English qualifications, students are also required to have a Spoken Language endorsement (Pass, Merit, or Distinction) which reflects their ability to speak and discuss in a formal situation.  At the end of Year 10, students deliver a presentation to the group on a topic of their choice and then to respond to questions from their peers and class teacher.

Outside the Classroom

As well as striving for success in examinations, the faculty’s priority is to foster a love of literature; an appreciation of what can be achieved through language and secure creativity in our students. As such, we offer a number of enrichment opportunities within the subject.

Theatre Visits

Years 9 and 10 attended Bristol Old Vic’s theatrical adaptation of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’. 

Year 10 visited Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre in September 2019 to attend Stephen Daldry’s award winning adaptation of J.B. Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’.

Competitions and Conferences

Internal and national writing competitions are often promoted from within the faculty and likewise there are regular reading challenges designed to promote a love of reading across the key stages. Our students also enjoy opportunities to attend conferences and workshops, as well as participate in regional and national competitions.

Author Visits

During the academic year, we may get opportunities to invite visiting authors and poets to work with students or to offer workshops designed to assist specific year groups with their learning. Students respond extraordinarily well to these fun and exciting opportunities.

In March 2019, Year 10 students were fortunate enough to benefit from a visit by award winning poet, Hollie McNish. Hollie is the author of five books of poetry, she won the 2016 Ted Hughes award for New Work in Poetry and was U.K. Slam Champion in 2009.  She is well known for her ability to engage with live audiences and for her work with young people. Strode have been lucky enough to host Hollie previously and students have been delighted by her taboo-breaking approach, both in terms of questioning what poetry is and exploring topics that cut close to the bone.

Last Updated: March 2021


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