Hodge Hill College

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Tab 1


The English and Drama Faculty is located in the East building and consists of fifteen specialist rooms including a Drama studio and a Speaking and Listening room. All rooms are well resourced.

The Drama room is spacious and allows for performances to take place. The Drama department often use the stages in both East and West hall.

The Faculty uses the larger halls in the school to hold interactive lessons including debates or holding masterclasses for more than one group at a time.

What’s more, the school has a fantastic LRC (Learning Resource Centre) that is actively used by the English department for lessons and students at both Key Stages are encouraged to use this resource outside of lesson time too.

English and Drama cover a wide range of topics and activities for pupils. We often have theatre companies and authors come into school to help pupils understanding of texts as well as build excitement and interest in the subjects. We offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities, and every year we have at least one school production.


Tab 2


The curriculum for KS3 is based on a ‘thematic approach’ in Year 7 and 8, students study two main texts; one prose, one Shakespeare play as well as looking at other aspects of English such as poetry, media and non- fiction. Pupils are also given the opportunity to practice their spoken skills throughout the course. This thematic curriculum allows students to experience a rich and diverse range of texts, and importantly prepares them for their GCSEs.

Students also receive dedicated learning time to boost their literacy and reading skills.

In Year 9 pupils are introduced to the main themes we cover in GCSE.

Assessments in KS3 are written to mirror GCSE exams. Pupils will write analytical essays and extended creative pieces, they also get assessed on comprehension style tasks as well as spoken tasks such as debates and speeches.

Students will develop an understanding of the spoken and written word and the capacity to express themselves effectively in a variety of speaking and listening activities as well as the traditional reading and writing. They will explore the impact of a writer’s choice of language, structure and form, as well as the context they were writing in. Students will learn to read, understand and respond to ranges of texts; and develop information retrieval strategies for the purpose of study. They will learn to construct and convey meaning in written language using correct grammar and Standard English.

It is made clear to the pupils how important a grasp of the English Language is with regards to future education and indeed in the world of work; and ‘real life’ scenarios are used in debate and for writing and reading purposes throughout the course.

As well as this pupils are taught social skills such as how to have empathy with another speaker, or how to treat a difficult subject carefully so as not to offend others. SMSC is used widely within English as we deal with issues which naturally lead to debate.

Every pupil in KS3 is encouraged to build their vocabulary as well store key words they need for the course and the Faculty do this by having a Word of the Week. Handwriting is also crucial for exams therefore every pupil in the school has a handwriting sheet in the front of their books to exemplify ‘good’ handwriting.

Years 7 and 8 receive 4 lessons of English per week – 2 Language and 2 Literature.

Year 7 also receive a Library lesson which is dedicated to the skill of reading and inference; one of our key aims is to try and instil a love of reading within all of the pupils.

Year 7

The theme in Year 7 is ‘Heroes’.

The main text studied in Year 7 Literature is a novel – ‘Face’ by Benjamin Zephaniah.

Pupils look at the texts and discuss the issues that arise from them such as peer pressure, injuries, racism, friendships, politics, and bullying. A lot of British Values are covered through the texts and issues presented within it.

All pupils are given their own Anthology which holds all the extracts and texts the pupils need for the year.

In Language the focus in Year 7 is to build writing skills whether creatively or in a non-fiction style.

In the Library lesson pupils are introduced to the Hodge Hill Chronicles, this is a novel written by the staff of Hodge Hill and include characters that the pupils will meet in their day to day life at the school. All pupils in Year 7 are given their own copy of the novel to keep and we encourage families to read with the pupils at home.



Year 8

The theme in Year 8 is ‘Survival’.

The Year 8s start their Literature course by reading The Hodge Hill Chronicles 2 – the sequel to the novel read in the Year 7 Library lessons. Again, this has been written by the English Faculty and contains characters the pupils know and see every day. The novel is great as a transition text from Year 7 to 8.

The main text studied in Year 8 Literature is Shakespeare – ‘Macbeth’ as well as ‘Oliver Twist’ by Charles Dickens.

Pupils look at the texts and discuss the issues that arise from them such as peer pressure, politics, global environment, hierarchy and friendship. Through the lessons pupils look at different aspects of survival which lean heavily on the British value of mutual respect and tolerance of people with other faiths and beliefs.

All pupils are given their own Anthology which holds all the extracts and texts the pupils need for the year.

In Language the pupils continue to develop their writing skills as well as starting to build their analytical skills from reading short and longer extracts of texts.


Year 9

The main text studied in Year 9 is Shakespeare – ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Pupils also look at Unseen poetry and Critical Thinkers.

Pupils study writing skills building on what they have looked at in Year’s 7 and 8. Spoken English is also covered within the year and pupils are given plenty of opportunities to build their confidence in this before their real exam in either Year 10 or 11.


Tab 3


GCSE English Language

Exam board


Course code


Examined by

Two exam papers at the end of Year 11; one focuses on fiction and the other on non-fiction. Each paper is split evenly between reading and writing. Each exam is 1 hour 45 minutes.

Speaking and Listening separate endorsement carried out during Year 10 and 11

Key topics taught

Language and structure analysis

Creative writing

Non-fiction writing (speech, article)


Inference and deduction


The course allows students to:

  • Develop the ability to communicate clearly, accurately and effectively when speaking, reading and writing
  • Learn how to use a wide range of vocabulary, the correct grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • Develop a personal style and awareness of the audiences being addressed

Students are also encouraged to read widely, both for their own enjoyment and to further their awareness of the ways in which English can be used. It also develops more general analysis and communication skills such as synthesis, inference, and the ability to order facts and present opinions effectively.

The weighting of the course is:

Exam 1 – Explorations in Creative Writing and Reading – 50%

Exam 2 – Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives – 50%

Separate endorsement for Spoken Language


Year 10

In Year 10 we look at the Spoken element of the course and pupils take their Speaking and Listening exam. We also study writing skills again to continue the development of these vital skills.

 The Literature exam is sat at the end of Year 10.

Year 11

In Year 11 pupils study each part of the exam in detail. Pupil will sit assessments that are in the same format as the GCSE exam such as summaries, comprehension style questions and extended writing.

We teach an even split of Paper 1 and Paper 2 as well as an even split of reading and writing.

We also study a ‘real life skills’ unit at the start of the year which helps to guide pupils in interview skills and writing personal statements.

The Language exam is sat at the end of Year 11.

GCSE English Literature

Exam board


Course code


Examined by

Two exam papers at the end of Year 11; all are closed book. The first exam is 1 hour and 45 minutes and focusses on Shakespeare and a 19tt century novel. The second exam is 2 hours and 15 minutes and focusses on poetry, both seen and unseen, and the modern text.

Key topics taught

Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet

19th century novel - A Christmas Carol: Charles Dickens

Modern text – Pigeon English: Stephen Kelman

Poetry – AQA Anthology: Love and Relationships

Unseen poetry

Comparative writing

Structuring an essay

The course allows students to experience a wide range of Literature with a wide variety of appeal drawn from contemporary and modern texts and texts which have had a significant influence on our English literary and cultural heritage.

The weighting of the course is:

Paper 1 exam – Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel – 40%

Paper 2 exam – Modern texts and poetry – 60%


We will be studying the following texts:

Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

Pigeon English – Stephen Kelman

Anthology Poetry – Love and Relationships

Throughout the course we invite theatre companies to come into school to perform the texts as well as discuss key scenes from them. We also have the author of Pigeon English come into school to discuss his novel and then give a creative writing workshop to pupils who are interested in taking English at college.

Staff encourage pupils to visit theatres outside of school to further engage them in the texts.

Exam Board Website: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse            


Assessments mirror what the pupils will have in the GCSE exam – they take the form of analytical essays. As with the real exams pupils are not allowed to use their texts in the assessment.


Tab 4


How you can help your child in English and Drama:

  • Encourage your child to read for pleasure – newspapers, magazines, fiction and non-fiction.
  • Help practice spellings from glossary books
  • If handwriting is still a slight issue, practice handwriting at home (handwriting paper can be collected from Ms Beaumont)
  • Ensure all homework whether this is prepping for an assessment or reading in KS3 or research at KS4 is completed
  • At KS4 listen to the audio books of the set texts that are on the student resource drive
  • Encourage your child to attend one of the numerous break/lunch times and after school clubs or take part in the school production.


 Useful Websites




Tab 5

Reading For Pleasure

In English we are trying to boost a love of reading in our pupils.

We have selected 20 books for each year group that we feel are a ‘must read’. These books will help pupils when they finally reach Year 11 in their exams by providing them with ideas for creative writing or ideas for analysis. They are also really good books for all ages.

All books can be found in the school LRC.