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Curriculum Intent

The cornerstone of our curriculum is the understanding that making meaning from texts is a process inseparable from our social and political landscape. At Orleans Park, our diverse and challenging programme of study touches on some of the most influential moments in history, giving every student the opportunity to engage with poetry, prose, drama and nonfiction that has shaped our world. Our carefully sequenced units support and challenge students as they become critical readers, confident writers and convincing speakers. Every English lesson demands that students interrogate what they read, express their opinions articulately and shape texts that make meaning for an audience. From writers as diverse as Homer, Shelley, Atwood and Akala, the works our students encounter develop critical and creative writing skills by highlighting some of the central concerns of the world in which we live.

Key Stage 3


Harnessing the enthusiasm for reading and writing students develop at primary school, our rigorous, diverse and enjoyable curriculum focuses on gives students the opportunity to:

  • Explore other cultures, times and topical issues through a wide range of fiction and nonfiction texts 

  • Develop their critical vocabulary, encouraging them to see texts as a product of a moment in time or a need to express issues the writer feels passionately about. 

  • Esttablish a clear and authentic way of expressing themselves across different genres of speech and writing 

Each Key Stage 3 year mirrors the last in terms of its structure, building on familiar skills implemented further down the school. These processes are interleaved throughout each year to ensure students encounter them in a range of settings (looking at pre-1900 nonfiction with a Dickens novel, or doing creative writing alongside the study of a class reader, for instance).

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4, our GCSE students grapple with seminal texts from across the literary canon in English and hone their skills as a reader,  writer and speaker. In particular, our curriculum affords students the opportunity to: 

  • Engage with texts from a range of settings and time periods, including those that challenge the status quo

  • Explore writing from established and newer writers, engaging with issues that shape the world and encourage them to develop their own views on prominent social and political issues 

  • Become confident in analysing texts (both fiction and nonfiction, written and spoken), exploring the methods writers choose to use and the reasons for these creative choices

  • Produce clear and confident writing of their own, using the devices they have explored in the work of others to have a desired effect on their own audience 

  • Develop their cultural capital and personal engagement with literature, through a range of public speaking, reading and drama events both in and out of the school setting.

Key Stage 5

English Literature A Level encourages students to explore the relationships that exist between texts and the contexts within which they are written, received and understood. Our text choices ensure that our students are challenged and inspired by what they read. To ensure students are able to reflect on contemporary culture and society we are part of the ‘Lit in Colour’ programme provided by Penguin Publishing. Through this students are given access to literature by authors from a wide range of ethnicities and backgrounds.  

Focusing on the central literary themes identity, place and belonging across a broad spectrum of contexts, students explore and connect texts with each other, drawing out patterns and engaging in detailed, independent textual analysis. English Literature A Level privileges the process of making autonomous meaning, and we actively encourage our students to debate and challenge the interpretations of other readers as they develop their own informed personal responses.

Where can English take me?

English students study for a wide variety of higher level courses, including English Literature, English Language, Linguistics, Law, History, Media or Film Studies and Business Studies. Universities also like to see variety in applicants: many literature students have gone on to study Medicine, Engineering, Maths, the Sciences and Technology-based subjects.

English Curriculum & Assessment Overview