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Our learning


The English Department is a stable and supportive team of 14 teachers who are committed to the success, achievement and personal development of all of the pupils that they teach. The teaching team includes Ms Pitt (TiC), Ms Pattman (2iC), Ms Caygill (2iC), Mr Thomas, Ms Haque, Mr Rutland, Mr Kanu, Ms Hepher, Mr Haigh, Ms Hirst, Ms Pickets, Ms Manku, Ms Christy and Ms Smith.


Aims of the Department

Our vision is that all learners of English strive to achieve their potential as a result of high quality learning and teaching in an environment that is stimulating, dynamic, safe and inclusive.


Whilst we are confident that the quality of teaching in our department ranges largely from good to outstanding, we continually develop our ability to plan effectively using data to improve this further. We also hold weekly departmental training sessions to improve learning and teaching in the team. During this academic year we intend to continue to formalise our assessment and marking cycle so that it is more consistent across the department.


We are developing the school Library into a resource that will support pupils’ learning and their development into effective, independent learners and readers. ‘Accelerated Reader’ software is being used highly effectively by Year 7 pupils. This is a package that tests pupils’ reading ability, gives suggestions of books to read and then tests them on the books that they have read. This has been successful in raising reading levels of pupils in other schools across the country - sometimes up to 2 levels in a year.


Literacy remains a whole school focus, and this will be developed further this year as part of the personalised learning and cross-curricular provision. This includes alternative pathways and partnerships, which prepares pupils for progression to further education, employment and training. English is central to the promotion of literacy skills. We know the importance of literacy within society, particularly the employment market, and thus we endeavour to ensure that pupils are fully literate by the time they leave school. With this in mind, we offer a curriculum that is balanced in terms of reading, writing and speaking and listening. We work closely with the EAL department to deliver training to colleagues in other departments.


Pupil feedback is essential to the development of the curriculum. We conduct bi-annual pupil voice interviews and this provides us with feedback about the curriculum and helps us to decide on changes and improvements that need to be made. The latest pupil voice interviews suggest that pupils are broadly happy with the curriculum but still find poetry and Shakespeare difficult to master, so these remain areas for development.


As part of our strategy to create opportunities for all pupil groups to be actively involved in the school, the English Department runs a programme for Literacy Leaders, whereby Year 10 pupils support Year 7 pupils to develop their reading and writing skills. In addition, we engage pupils in various aspects of cultural diversity during Diversity Week. We utilise pupils in extra-curricular events, such as Open Evenings, and they play a key role in representing the school to the wider community. Last year, a number of pupils took part in a Borough-wide debating competition, which was hosted by the school. We have also been involved in the Carnegie Award with other schools and we hope to develop that further this academic year. Another programme we have put in place are reading groups which utilise technology such as Kindles to increase engagement with reading.


Last year, we gave our Year 9 and 10 pupils access to theatre productions. Our Year 10 pupils benefitted from watching the Globe Theatre’s production of Othello, and our Year 9 cohort took part in Macbeth workshops conducted by the Young Shakespeare Company.


The English Curriculum

The English Curriculum in Year 7

In Year 7 pupils study English for 4 hours a week. The units are:


  • Autumn 1 – Escape from Krasnir
  • Autumn 2 – A Christmas Carol
  • Spring 1 – Romeo and Juliet
  • Spring 2 – Poetry
  • Summer 1 – Our Day Out
  • Summer 2 – Shrek and Fairytales


The English Curriculum in Year 8

In Year 8 pupils study English for 4 hours a week. The units are:


  • Autumn 1 – Dracula
  • Autumn 2 – Dickens
  • Spring 1 – Richard III
  • Spring 2 – 18th/19th/20th Century Poetry
  • Summer 1 – Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
  • Summer 2 – Crime


The English Curriculum in Year 9

In Year 9 pupils study English for 4 hours a week. The units are:


  • Autumn 1 – Of Mice and Men
  • Autumn 2 – The Woman in Black
  • Spring 1 – Macbeth
  • Spring 2 – Conflict Poetry
  • Summer 1 – East is East
  • Summer 2 – Magical Realism


The English Curriculum in Year 10

In Year 10 pupils study English for 4 hours a week. They will be following the Pearson Edexcel syllabus for English Language and English Literature


  • Autumn 1 – English Language Paper 1
  • Autumn 2 – Lit: A Christmas Carol
  • Spring 1 – English Language Paper 2
  • Spring 2 – Lit: Poetry
  • Summer 1 – Mock Prep
  • Summer 2 – Speaking and Listening


The English Curriculum in Year 11

In Year 11 pupils study English for 4 hours a week and are currently following the AQA syllabus for Language and Literature:


  • Autumn 1 – Romeo & Juliet/Sonnets Controlled Assessment
  • Autumn 2 – Mock Exam Revision
  • Spring 1 – An Inspector Calls
  • Spring 2 – Revision for Exams


Assessment for Learning

Assessment is central to our pupils’ learning and progress. The focus of written and oral feedback is to inform pupils and provide them with a clear understanding of how well they have gained knowledge, concepts and skills and then explain what needs to be done to further meet the learning objectives. Our aim is to ensure that pupils’ work is marked regularly and in such a way that it improves their learning and builds self-esteem. The English department assesses learning in 3 areas: Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening


Books are marked regularly, with detailed comments given to pupils every 3 weeks. Teachers give pupils a chance to act on the changes that they have suggested so that they can see how to improve their work. Furthermore, at the end of each unit of work, pupils will be given a formal assessment task, usually a controlled assessment or an essay, which will be awarded a National Curriculum level or GCSE grade.


We take every opportunity to discuss pupils’ strengths and areas for develop, both formally and informally, as we believe that this is central to helping them to progress in their learning.


The English department sets homework every week, and these tasks should be directly related to the pupil learning in class.

Aside from marking, we also use many opportunities during lesson time to ensure that pupils are actively engaged and that they both understand the learning and can apply this to their own work.



Cumberland School

Oban Close, London, E13 8SJ



T. 020 7474 0231

F. 020 7511 2510




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