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English Department Intent

“So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky” – William James

Our aims in the English department are to ensure that, at both key stages, all students:

  • embrace the broad world of literature and enjoy the best of what has been said and written
  • gain the cultural capital to understand references and the relevance of language to our lives
  • become successful communicators who can compete in the modern world as they acquire the necessary skills in reading, writing and oracy.

The English Curriculum

“Great books help you to understand, and they help you to feel understood.” – John Green

The English Curriculum across key stage 3 and 4 is a continuous development of knowledge and skill.  Through studying a broad range of engaging texts and writing styles, students will be immersed in the literary experience, be able to make connections with literature, acknowledge the relevance of language in the world in which they live and manipulate language to create meaning.  Students develop, and are explicitly taught, the skills outlined in the National Curriculum and as per the requirements of GCSE English Language and Literature.

We aim to take students on the journey of reading for betterment to reading for pleasure.  As part of this journey, we ensure we expose students to momentous moments in writing across time, place, and cultures.

English is at the core of all curriculum subjects.  Therefore, literacy and the technicalities of writing are explicitly developed throughout all schemes of learning to ensure the importance of these skills is highlighted, and automaticity – when it comes to writing, is encouraged throughout life at Lathom.

The power of the spoken word is embraced in English as students become proficient in spoken communication.  All schemes of learning are planned to build confidence in independent expression, give opportunities to share opinions and experiences, and collaborate effectively.  

Key Stage 3

At key stage 3, the doors of literature continue to open for our students as they build upon experiences in key stage 2.  

Years 7, 8 and 9 receive eight, 60 minute lessons a fortnight with homework each week, as is the policy at Lathom.  In Years 7 and 8, Accelerated Reader is used to encourage independent reading and bridge reading between school and home.

Students are taught in adaptive groups to ensure students are in the best place to maximise learning.  

Key Stage 4

All pupils study GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. They will also receive a Spoken Language award as part of their final qualifications. The English department follows the Eduqas (WJEC) syllabus. 

In Year 10 students study nine hours of English across the fortnight; in Year 11 this increases to ten hours of English. 

Enrichment Opportunities

  • Theatre Trips
  • Online Workshops
  • Local Author Speaking Events
  • Public Speaking Opportunities
  • Reading Clubs
  • Writing Competitions
  • Poetry Competitions
  • Lancashire Book of the Year Judging
  • Accelerated Reader Competitions 
  • College Taster Days
  • Talk the Talk workshop

How to Support your Child’s Learning

Support your child with homework. Ask them questions about what they are learning about in English and how it applies to the real world around them; discuss and explore issues in the world that surrounds your child and allow them to express opinions and consider whether they want to find out more about topics of interest. Watch documentaries, films and news programmes with them and talk about how they feel about both real and fictional events. Please read a range of texts together, both fiction and non-fiction, and promote reading at every opportunity. Books can be provided for all students from our school library so encourage your child to select something they will enjoy. 

In school, we use reciprocal reader strategies across the school to support reading for meaning.  Here are some examples of discussion points you could make:

1. Predict?2. Clarify?3. Question?4. Summarise?
1: What do you know about…? 
2: What have you learned about…? 
1: Are there any words you don’t understand? 
2: Support with defining words and strategies to work out the meaning of words (dictionaries, google, words in context).
1: The Ws: What, when, where, why. 
2: What have you learned so far about…?
1: What is the gist of…? 
2: Can you summarise what the text is about in three sentences?

What to watch

Top 10 films every English Literature student must watch:

  • Finding Neverland – semi-biographical film about playwright J.M. Barrie and his relationship with his family that helped him inspire ‘Peter Pan’
  • Shakespeare in Love – This film depicts an imaginary love affair involving playwright William Shakespeare while he was writing ‘Romeo and Juliet’
  • To Kill a Mockingbird – The adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic Pulitzer Prize winning novel. This film depicts prejudice, discrimination, social inequality and racism in America – the real dark side of human nature! Based on Harper Lee’s award-winning novel; a must watch!
  • The Dead Poets Society – Robin Williams starts as an English teacher who inspires his students through poetry
  • Harry Potter – The film series adapted from J.K. Rowling’s famous novels follows the evolution of a child’s journey in the wizarding world
  • The Lord of the Rings – The trilogy of films, taken from J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic epic fantasy novels
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – A modern adaptation of Jenny Han’s New York Times bestseller about the struggle with adolescence – streamed on Netflix
  • Little Women – Based on Louisa May Alcott’s novel. A beloved story of the March sisters – four young women, each determined to live life on her own terms
  • The Hunger Games – The power of one woman changes the world! Set in the future with what is left of the USA which is now called Panam; the 12 districts are forced to compete in the annual ‘Hunger Games’ – but the contestants are children!
  • The Fault in our Stars – Based on the novel by John Green.  The story follows Lancaster, a sixteen-year-old cancer patient who is forced by her parents to attend a support group, where she meets and subsequently falls in love with Augustus Waters, another cancer patient
  • Wonder – Based on the novel by R.J. Palacio – The film follows a boy with Treacher Collins Syndrome trying to fit in

What to watch on TV or to stream!

  • The Baby Sitters Club – The ultimate in comfort entertainment, this series follows a group of suburban tweens as their babysitting gigs bring them closer to the world of adults. Fans of the old Ann M. Martin book series will get a nostalgic kick from it
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events – NETFLIX – Follows the misadventures of the three Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, following the deaths of their parents in the destruction of their home
  • His Dark Materials – BBC I player – This is about the strange occurrences that happen to three orphaned siblings
  • Noughts and Crosses – BBC I player – A British television series based on the novel by Malorie Blackman. The series is set in an alternative history where the ‘Crosses’ rule over the ‘Noughts’
  • Anne with an E – Anne with an E based on the novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery is a story of Anne’s struggles and joys in settling into Green Gables
  • Horrible Histories – a children’s live-action and historical sketch television series focusing on events in history spanning from the stone age to post world war

What to read

  • Boy – Roald Dahl
  • Holes – Louis Sachar
  • Private Peaceful – Michael Morpurgo
  • Skellig – David Almond
  • The Breadwinner – Deborah Ellis
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
  • The Sign of Four – Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Twits – Roald Dahl
  • To Kill a Mocking Bird – Harper Lee
  • Woman in Black – Susan Hill
  • A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness
  • Coraline – Neil Gaiman
  • Northern Lights – Philip Pullman
  • Hound of the Baskervilles – Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Five Little Liars – Amanda K. Morgan
  • The Quiet at the End of the World – Lauren James
  • The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson – Nathan Parker

Or go to: for even more recommendations.

Personal recommendations from your English teachers:

  • Mrs Hongkins: Boys Don’t Cry by Malorie Blackman & The Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett
  • Mrs Hornby: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Mr Anderson: Operation Red Jericho by Joshua Mowll & Two Weeks with the Queen by Morris Gleiztman 
  • Mrs Boyers: Wonder by R.J.Palacio
  • Miss Lawson: This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher 
  • Mr Livesley: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  • Miss Sherborne: The Night Bus Hero by Onjali Q Rauf & The Unwind series by Neal Shusterman
  • Miss Sheridan: The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah & Looking for Alaska by John Green


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