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St. Mary's Menston


The study of English and its literature is an act of empowerment. At St Mary’s the English department aim to equip students with knowledge and skills that will enable them to become engaged, articulate, and critical thinkers. Studying with us will also enrich lives through engagement with 'the best that has been thought and said'.

Miss Crompton, Faculty Leader for English and Media

Subject Overview

English is an essential part of our lives. It is how we communicate with each other, forging links that allow us to realise we are not alone. Without verbal and written communication, the greatest minds in history may not have ensured the future progress of our species. Our recognition of how language operates also allows us to avoid being subject to its manipulation. The English department provides a broad and aspirational range of texts that ensure students continually develop their understanding of our rich literary heritage. In addition, students cultivate their ability to engage with texts by developing skills of interpretation, inference, and analysis, applying these skills to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts. Throughout our curriculum journey, students enhance both their written and verbal communication, enabling them to articulate their thoughts and construct critical arguments effectively; skills and knowledge that provide them with the tools to be personally, socially, and professionally successful throughout their lives.

Course Content

English Years 7 - 9

  • Students study a spiral curriculum that continues to build on previous knowledge.
  • Study of a novel: students develop their understanding of key concepts such as plot, character, and theme. Students also develop their ability to approach a text critically.
  • Study of drama, poetry, prose through time: students study the key forms of literature, journeying chronologically to recognise key movements and cultural shifts.
  • Study of Shakespeare: students study comedy in Year 8 and tragedy in Year 9.
  • Thematic study: students study a range of texts within the Year 8 dystopian scheme. They study a range of texts from diverse cultures during Year 9.

English Years 10 and 11

Students build on the fundamental concepts, knowledge and skills developed in earlier years. The spiral curriculum allows students to apply their previous learning to more challenging texts and tasks, such as:

  • Study of a novel: Lord of the Flies.
  • Study of a Shakespeare play: Macbeth.
  • Study of a 19th century text from the English literary heritage: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
  • Study of poetry: Power and Conflict.
  • Writing: Writing both fiction and non-fiction for a range of purposes and audiences.
  • Reading: Ability to read a range of fiction and non-fiction texts.