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Horbury Academy

Horbury Academy

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Department Overview

The English department is staffed by a strong and forward-thinking team of specialist teachers. Our vision is to motivate, enthuse and inspire all learners so that they have a curiosity and interest in English and are active participants in their learning. Through our curriculum, we aim to foster and encourage a lasting enjoyment and appreciation of both literature and language, enabling every student to achieve his or her potential. Ultimately, we want our students to be skilful and confident communicators who are prepared for adult life in modern Britain.

Curriculum Leader: Mr D Kiernan

Key Stage 3

Our Key Stage 3 curriculum includes many engaging, challenging and kinaesthetic learning opportunities for students. Our schemes of work are driven by a strong passion for Literature and ensuring students are ready to tackle the skills required in reading and writing. Texts that are studied include ‘Animal Farm, ‘Of Mice and Men’, ‘Shakespeare’s Villains’ and a range of English Poets. Our schemes focus on an integration of Language and Literature skills in order for students to understand the strong link between these two elements.

Reading is given an extremely high status within the department and we promote it as a way of broadening the mind, developing the imagination and widening vocabulary, as well as simply being an enjoyable activity in our state of the art LRC. To support this vision, the challenge around reading has recently increased. There is an expectation at Horbury that our students are presented with challenging texts through the curriculum but also that they will become independent and resilient readers who develop through an independent passion for reading.  To promote and grow this mindset, we expose our students to a variety of texts within the classroom from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century. To be successful at English you must be a strong and independent reader.

Key Stage 4

There is a real excitement around the AQA English Literature and Language specifications. Our Literature curriculum offers a challenging programme where students will study 19th century fiction (A Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde/A Christmas Carol by Dickens); modern drama (An Inspector Calls); Shakespeare’s Macbeth and an anthology of poetry (Conflict and Power). The skills around these texts are successfully developed until students feel confident and are able to progressively analyse the key themes and motifs. Students will be assessed at the end of the course with two final written exams.

Our Language curriculum offers an equally challenging programme where students will study the reading of a wide range of modern fiction. Students will be developing their comprehension, evaluation and analytical skills through short extracts. In addition, students will also be developing their own creative writing skills. They will be expected to produce and refine their description and narrative writing throughout the course. Finally, students will be expected to analyse and compare non-fiction articles from modern times through to the 18th century. This is completed by students then completing their own non-fiction writing which could range from letters to newspaper articles to speeches. Students will be assessed at the end of the course by two final written exams.

Supporting our Students

We recognise that not all students develop in the same way. Sometimes, to ‘Fly High’ we need to support students to achieve a greater success through smaller stepping stones.  In order to do this the English department has an Intervention Team that drives the intervention and support for all of our students.  We screen students for reading and spelling support and use this, alongside other data, to formulate strengths and areas for development for each and every student within the Academy. A programme called Step-Up to English is used in order to ensure that our KS3 students are GCSE ready by the end of Y8.  At KS4 students will be split into groups where the relevant support of reading and writing is ensured.

How the English Department actively promotes British Values through the curriculum

With a broad and balanced curriculum, the English department strive to prepare students for life in modern Britain. The curriculum includes study of a range of British heritage texts and authors, as well as modern poetry and non-fiction, to ensure that all students are aware of the diverse and rich literature culture at their fingertips. We explore current and topical issues through a variety of media and literature and at the very least ensure that every student accesses at least three Shakespeare plays, a Louis Stevenson novel and an anthology of poetry from 1790 onwards. Poems are noted below:

Conflict and power






The Prelude: stealing the boat

Robert Browning

My Last Duchess

Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Wilfred Owen


Seamus Heaney

Storm on the Island

Ted Hughes

Bayonet Charge

Simon Armitage


Jane Weir


Carol Ann Duffy

War Photographer

Imtiaz Dharker


Carol Rumens

The Émigrée

The Émigrée


John Agard

Checking Out Me History