English is at the heart of the curriculum. Language is a very powerful tool and facility in its use allows us to engage intellectually and imaginatively in the world around us. To study English is to study how meaning is shaped both in speaking and in writing. We aim to empower our students to have the ability to both construct and question meaning - skills which enhance their life chances.



Mrs Fiona Moore – acting Head of Department, email: english@jkhs.org.uk
Mrs Rebecca Meikle – KS3 Leader, email: englishKS3@jkhs.org
Mrs Caroline Walding – KS4 Leader, email: englishKS4@jkhs.org.uk

Ms Julia Kelly - KS5 Leader, email: englishKS5@jkhs.org.uk

Mrs Amy Cannon

Mr Mark Croad (Assistant Headteacher, Head of Upper School)

Mrs Emma Davies

Miss Verity Dillingham - Librarian

Mr William Jennings

Miss Florence Kingston
Miss Olivia Phillips

Miss Anna Pleasance 

Miss Darcy Williams


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Mrs Fiona Moore

acting Head of English 

Key Stage 3 English

At Key Stage 3, we aim to encourage students to explore their creativity, promote independent thought and inspire a life-long love of reading.

Our Key Stage 3 curriculum is strategically designed to build on their learning from Key Stage 2 and ensure that they are ready for success in Key Stage 4.  Each year builds their skills and increases the level of challenge.  Our curriculum is taught in termly units, based on a theme, with a different core text focus each half term. Over each year, students will meet a range of challenging and engaging literary texts and build upon their skills in:

-          Fiction reading and writing

-          Non-fiction reading and writing

-          Modern drama

-          Poetry

-          Shakespeare

-          Speaking and Listening

On arrival at John Kyrle High School, students are put into sets for English. Students’ Key Stage 2 results are used to inform this process. This is reviewed after the first half term and at regular intervals throughout Key Stage 3.  Our aim is to ensure that all students are in the most suitable environment to enable them to be happy, healthy and successful.

You can see what we do in Years 7, 8 and 9 here.

One of the best ways to support your son/daughter in their learning journey is to encourage a regular reading habit.  15-20 minutes a night is ideal.  The following website is great:



Key Stage 4


At GCSE, our pupils are exposed to a wide range of engaging, thought provoking and enlightening texts to help them understand both our literary heritage and how English is at the heart of the modern world. From learning about Shakespeare and Dickens, to exploring the evolution of language and communication through articles and speeches, our students will be able to question, analyse and interrogate the methods writers use to create texts and to shape the impact they have on their audience. Throughout the study of both literature and language, pupils will embark on fortnightly ‘200 word challenges’, providing them with the opportunity to create, consolidate and constructively criticise.


All students will study the AQA (linear) English Language and Literature GCSEs with 100% of the students’ GCSE grades generated from terminal exams at the end of Year 11. Students will sit four examinations in total which will result in two GCSE qualifications: English Language and English Literature. A summary of each examination is detailed below:

English Language

In Language Paper 1, the curriculum is designed to challenge, motivate and inspire students through the exploration of fiction, providing an opportunity to analyse a range of extracts from literature past and present as well as get creative through narrative and descriptive writing. We aim to develop the students’ reading comprehension and analytical skills through a variety of texts from dystopian fiction, including Orwell’s ‘1984’ and ‘The Hunger Games’, to more contemporary examples, such as ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ and ‘The Lovely Bones’.

Through Language Paper 2, pupils will be exposed to a wide range of writer’s viewpoints and perspectives through non-fiction.  This will provide them with the opportunity to compare texts, old and new, on a given topic. Pupils will also be able to scrutinise and challenge the presentation of current affairs and modern issues in the media. They may meet the inspiring speeches of Martin Luther King and Emma Watson or consider the realities of the judicial system through newspaper articles.  Through this students will gain cultural capital and develop their understanding and engagement with the world around them.

Armed with the understanding of how great writers influence their readers, pupils will produce their own masterful non-fiction pieces, allowing them to voice their opinions on important moral and ethical questions.

English Literature

Paper 1: 40%

Shakespeare: Macbeth
Through the exploration of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, pupils will develop their knowledge of a literary great: exploring life in the 17th Century, making informed and evidenced inferences about the main characters and discovering how the themes of the supernatural, ambition and loyalty are presented through the writer’s craft.


For the exam, pupils will be required to thoroughly analyse the language and structure of an extract as well as being able to impart their knowledge of the play as a whole.

19th Century Novel: A Christmas Carol
Pupils immerse themselves in the world of 19th Century London by focusing on this legendary literary text, ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens. Through the character of Scrooge and his infamous supernatural visits on Christmas Eve, students will explore the themes of redemption, poverty and family. In addition, pupils will look at how Christmas traditions have been formed and through non-fiction texts. For the exam, pupils will be required to thoroughly analyse the language and structure of an extract as well as being able to impart their knowledge of the novella as a whole.


Paper 2: 60%
Modern Drama or Prose: An Inspector Calls
Through J.B. Priestley’s play, students will learn about dramatic conventions and how English isn’t limited to the page. As one of the most famous dramas in the post-World War II period, students will engage with the political changes that Britain faced and will see how Priestley held up a mirror to society. Through the characters, students will learn about the themes of gender, age and social class and whether these issues are still important in modern day Britain. The teaching of this text is supported by a theatre trip for students to immerse themselves in the world of the play and see the impact of dramatic conventions.


For the exam, pupils will be required to formulate their own opinions about the play as a whole through a character or theme, making links across the text to show character shifts and thematic developments.

Poetry Anthology: Power and conflict
In order to achieve a full and varied curriculum, pupils will experience how the theme of power and conflict is expressed through the medium of poetry. From Wilfred Owen to John Agard, students will critically analyse the poets’ craft through an anthology of fifteen poems. To support their understanding of power and conflict over the past century, the students will study a range of non-fiction texts to consider how the issues and messages raised are still relevant today.

Unseen Poetry
Armed with their toolkit of analytical skills, pupils will tackle the unseen, comparing and contrasting poetry from across the ages.  In the exam, pupils are required to thoroughly analyse and express their ‘big ideas’ about the poem provided and then compare to a second poem from the collection of the same theme.


Throughout the study of both literature and language, pupils will embark on fortnightly ‘200 word challenges’, providing them with the opportunity to create, consolidate and constructively criticise.


Every half term, all students in Years 10 and 11 will be assessed in line with the AQA examination criteria as well as having the opportunity to sit mock examinations in a formal examination environment.


For all of the examinations for GCSE Literature the students are not allowed to have their set texts with them.  This means they need to revise them regularly – right from the beginning of Year 10 and all the way through Year 11. 

Click to see our parent/carer guide for what we teach and how we assess at GCSE

Key Stage 5

We currently offer A levels in English Literature and in English Language.

English Language

The course explores both spoken and written language. You will learn to analyse how language works in a wide range of texts and transcripts. You will investigate many of the important language issues in society. How do children learn to speak? How do politicians influence our attitudes and values through language? Are men and women represented differently through language? How has technology influenced our language? How has language changed over time? You will also learn how to become a more confident and conscious writer, adapting your style to suit different audiences and purposes. 20% of the final A Level grade will be from coursework, 80% from the final examinations.

English Literature

The course involves the study of a variety of modern and historical prose, poetry and drama, including the work of William Shakespeare. As well as extending your knowledge and enjoyment of literature and literary criticism, you will be encouraged to think critically and creatively in response to a range of set and independently chosen texts. 20% of the final A Level grade will be from coursework, 80% from the final examinations.