Blessed William Howard

The Painsley Catholic Academy was established in 2012. We are the largest Catholic multi-academy company in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

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English (Y7-13)

In English, we aim to ensure that all students leave with the reading and writing skills needed to access the next stage in their lives.  This involves decoding, comprehension and analysis, together with the production of both functional and creative texts.

The KS3 curriculum is predominantly thematically driven in order to give students the ability to study a wide range of texts and to lay the basis for success at GCSE. It is designed to be academically rigorous and to allow students to access texts which improve their cultural capital, including the study of two Shakespeare plays.  It is produced in consultation with the KS2 feeder schools to ensure continuity of skills and preventing the repetition of core texts.

Students study a wide variety of texts which explore ideas around British Values and also allow them to reflect on world issues, both contemporary and historical. They are also introduced to key concepts and ideas that they will study in KS4.

Year 9 is our foundation year for GCSE. It is, again, thematically based but has a very precise on GCSE skills and several of specific GCSE texts are introduced and explored.

All students have the opportunity to study for both English Language and English Literature at GCSE.

At KS5, students study English Literature and, where possible, the curriculum at KS4 is designed to support the transition into A-Level with skills being developed to ensure that they are ‘A-Level ready’, especially with the more able students.

Subject staff

Mrs N Spears - Curriculum Leader


Mr M Vince

Mrs E Bott

Mrs C Doust

Mr T Evans

Mrs S Readyhough

Mrs J Walmsley - Reading Coordinator

Mr D Gilligan

Mr L Bell

Curriculum Overview

Year 7  
Adventure Writing
Novel Study – The Fire Eaters and In the Nick of Time
Drama Study - Dracula
Growing Up
Shakespeare – A Midsummer Night’s Dream or The Tempest

 Year 8
Heroes and Villains
Novel Study – Storm Catchers or The Outsiders
Identity and Culture
Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet

Year 9
Power and Conflict
Music Industry
School Experiences
Short Stories
GCSE set text – An Inspector Calls

 Year 10          
Power and Conflict – AQA Poetry Anthology
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde OR A Christmas Carol
English Language Papers 1 and 2

Year 11
Consolidation work – continuing to build skills whilst revising key content.

Y12 & Y13
English Literature – A Level
Othello – William Shakespeare
Unseen love poetry
The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
AQA Poetry Anthology – Love through the Ages (pre-1900)
Feminine Gospels – Carol Ann Duffy
Unseen prose fiction (post-1945)
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
All My Sons – Arthur Miller

Non-exam assessment (coursework): Independent critical study – texts across time (20%). A comparative critical study of two texts – at least one must be pre-1900 – in an essay of 2500 words.

Years taught:



GCSE - AQA Language

CGSE - AQA Literature

A-Level - AQA English Language/Literature

A-Level - AQA English Literature (route A)

Curriculum Rationale 

 Curriculum Mapping 


We hope to offer opportunities for groups of students to visit libraries, theatres, etc. throughout the year, depending on both practicality and availability. We aim to attend Shakespeare at Stafford Castle every year and we have established the tradition of a theatre company performing Macbeth in school for Y11.

Revision Materials

GCSE English Resources 

Useful Links