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At Huntington, students of English are taught through a carefully considered and sequenced curriculum that is anchored by our threshold concepts that allow students to read, understand and enjoy a range of texts from a rich heritage of the literary canon, as well as work produced by contemporary writers.

Alongside this, we adopt a ‘slow writing approach’ where we explicitly teach grammatical structures and model writing at sentence level to equip students to write for a wide range of purposes and audiences.


Very much like our KS3 provision, in Years 10 and 11 students will connect concepts across texts and to the wider world, as well as the discipline of literary study. They will respond thoughtfully to what they read by engaging with key cultural reference points from their knowledge of historical context and literary themes over time, from the world of Shakespeare and Dickens to more contemporary concerns.

As part of students’ journey in their study of Language, students will construct language for deliberate effect with an awareness of register, audience and an extensive vocabulary, ensuring they are prepared for life beyond school.

Our curriculum will also give pupils an informed appreciation of the spoken and written word and equip them with the skills to express themselves confidently in a variety of contexts, both in and outside of the classroom.


English Literature

In Year 12, we examine the genre of tragedy – a keystone element of our literary tradition. At the core of all the set texts is a tragic hero or heroine who is flawed in some way, who suffers and causes suffering to others and in all texts there is an interplay between what might be seen as villains and victims.

Building upon the concepts embedded in both KS3 and KS4, students will examine:

  • the journey towards death of the protagonists, their flaws, pride and folly, their blindness and insight, their discovery and learning, their being a mix of good and evil
  • how the behaviour of the hero affects the world around him, creating chaos and affecting the lives of others
  • the structural pattern of the text as it moves through complication to catastrophe, from order to disorder, through climax to resolution, from the prosperity and happiness of the hero to the tragic end
  • ultimately how the tragedy affects the audience, acting as a commentary on the real world, moving the audience through pity and fear to an understanding of the human condition.

In Year 13, we shift focus to social and political protest writing. Although it could be claimed that all texts are political, what defines the texts here is that they have issues of power and powerlessness at their core, with political and social protest issues central to each text’s structure. The political and social protest genre covers representations of both public and private settings.

All set texts foreground oppression and domination and they all look at the cultures we live in and have lived in over time. A crucial word in the title of this option is ‘Elements’ and students need to consider the specific elements that exist in each of their texts. Building upon the concepts embedded in both KS3 and KS4, students will examine:

  • the specific nature of the power struggle, the behaviours of those with power and those without, those who have their hands on the levers of power
  • the pursuit of power itself, rebellion against those with power, warfare
  • the workings of the ruling political classes
  • gender politics and issues of social class

English Language

Our curriculum prepares students for the study of linguistics in four key areas:

  1. Students receive a thorough grounding in grammar and syntax, allowing them to decode the subtle ways language is used to communicate, influence and manipulate in spoken and written texts.
  2. Why the way we speak is a sign of who we are. People speak different types of English in different parts of the UK and around the world. But do men and women speak differently? What about teenage slang? How does ethnicity, sexuality or even social class affect the way people speak?
  3. Where English comes from and how Language changes. From Proto- Indo European words spoken 8000 years ago to new words like ‘selfie’ and ‘pwned’, you will discover how and why English constantly evolves.
  4. How our amazing infant brains acquire language. How do tiny babies manage to learn English from zero words to fully fluent in a few short years? Are they ‘pre-programmed’ to pick up a language, or do they learn from the adults around them? And how do mistakes like ‘I goed home’ help us answer these questions?