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Bright Futures Educational Trust
Alliance for Learning


The English department consists of one part time and eight full time members of staff and teaches out of seven classrooms based in the Fairlie section of the school.

The general aims of the English department are as follows:

  • To foster enjoyment of all aspects of the subject
  • To develop an understanding and appreciation of literature
  • To acquire control over language and uncover the power it can have
  • To help the pupils develop their powers of communication (both written and spoken) and for them to value their own creativity
  • To challenge and stimulate pupils by offering a wide variety of activities which give them the opportunity to develop in the four areas of intellectual, social, personal and aesthetic growth, enabling them to understand themselves and the world around them.

We believe that successful teaching and learning occur when the following are evident:

  • A very high expectation of success for the learner
  • Encouragement and support from the teacher
  • A respect for the pupil
  • Motivation for the learner to strive for success
  • Celebration of achievement
  • Opportunities for the pupil to reflect on achievement and set targets for the future.

AGGS English, Hamlet

In Year 7, students have six English lessons, including one lesson in the library.

In Year 8, students have five lessons, again with one lesson in the library.

By Year 9, Students have five lessons per cycle, all based in the English classrooms.

Lessons mirror the National Curriculum so students should expect to study a wide range of texts every year including novels, plays and poetry. The curriculum aims to build and develop the key skills needed for further study at GCSE and imbue a love of all things English-related!

At GCSE, we follow the AQA English Language and English Literature specifications. Set prose texts for the current examination series are: ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and ‘Pride and Prejudice’; plays include: ‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘A Taste of Honey’ and ‘DNA’. Students learn valuable analytical skills as well as understanding the importance of social and historical context when reading a text. The syllabus allows pupils to explore a range of social issues through poetry, prose and non-fiction. 

At A-level, we offer a choice of English Language or English Literature, with high levels of uptake in both subjects. We follow the AQA specification for English Language and students gain an in-depth knowledge of grammar as well as exploring how texts reflect the different conventions of the era they were produced in. Furthermore, pupils study the processes all children go through to acquire language and are also expected to write creatively in a number of genres. A very large proportion of girls take English literature, English language or theatre studies at A level and go on to study the subjects at University.

A level English Literature 

At AGGS we study AQA English Literature A. Currently we are studying ‘Othello’, comparing ‘The Great Gatsby’ and pre-twentieth century love poetry, a modern novel such as ‘The Color Purple’ or ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire.’ There is a coursework option where we expect the students to choose a text of their own to compare to a pre-twentieth century novel taught by their teacher. Texts may change in future years.

Students read a wide range of challenging texts, learning to analyse ideas and language in depth and with precision. The study of English encourages a high level of written and oral communication through the collaborative nature of lessons and the essay based nature of the course.



Extra Curricular Activities

English Guest Speaker

Some of the extra-curricular activities offered by the English department are a Year 7 & 8 Creative Cafe Writing Club, a Literary Film Club, KS3 Blog, mentoring clubs, the Sixth Form Reading group, which meets with MGS, MHSG and WGS, English Society and Oxbridge Preparation. English Guest SpeakerRegular visits to the theatre are also encouraged and each year we run trips to support the texts under study at KS3, KS4 and KS5.

We try to bring in outside speakers where possible and this year we have hosted Young Adult Fiction writers: Carina Axelsson, Michelle Harrison and Holly Bourne. At KS5, we welcomed Lucy Razzall from The University of Cambridge to deliver a lecture on Shakespeare’s King Lear and The Tempest. Lecturers from both the University of Manchester and Lancaster also delivered a range of workshops exploring language and gender as well as accent and dialect.


Book Groups:

Year 7 & 8 book group

Year 7 & 8 book group

Year 11 book group

Year 11 book group


Activity Day Time Venue  Teacher
KS3 Creative Writing Thursday lunchtime F10 Miss Hamilton
‘The Colin Club’ KS4 Creative Writing Tuesday lunchtime F15 Mrs Clark
The Green Light Literary Magazine Ongoing  lunchtime F11 Miss Devlin/Sixth Form
KS4 Debating Thursday lunchtime F14 Mr England
Sixth Form Debating Monday After School F14 Mr England
Harry Potter Club Day 6 lunchtime F15 Mrs Willmott
Manga Club Friday Lunchtime F14 Student led
Half Termly
Year 7 & 8 Book Group   lunchtime Library Miss Devlin
Year 9 & 10 Book Club   lunchtime Library Dr Adamson
Year 11 Book Group   lunchtime Library Miss Devlin
Sixth Form Book Group    4.30-6pm AGGS / AGSB / SGS Dr Adamson / Mrs Cleary / Miss Devlin
Staff Book Group       Mrs Cleary



AGGS English on Social Media

@AGGS_english twitter



See The Sixth Form’s English Blog Magazine – The Green Light:

The Green Light, English Blog Magazine

The Green Light, English Blog Magazine

Key Stage 3 - Year 7-9

Year 7

In year 7 we have six lessons per cycle. Incorporated in these six lessons pupils will have one one library lesson. Through reading and lessons in the school library, pupils are encouraged to read widely and independently, as well as develop research skills.

A small number of pupils will have 20 min guided reading sessions with an English teacher in Library lessons to help develop reading skills. In the other lessons, we have units of work which develop the skills and knowledge defined by AGGS Levels. Common tasks are set across the year to ensure entitlement to a range of reading and writing and spoken language activities. The teaching of grammar and linguistics terms is embedded into all schemes.

Year 8

Year 8, which has five lessons per cycle, one of which is in the library, follows a similar pattern with one reading lesson and for units of work following the AGGS Curriculum as for year 7.

Year 9

In year 9 we have five lessons per cycle. Throughout the year much of the work covered is in preparation for the start of the GCSE syllabus. Pupils will continue their analysis of literary and non-literary material, as well as experiencing graded Spoken English activities.

Students across Key Stage 3 can expect to cover a wide range of literary and non-literary texts. We aim to study in detail 3 'topics' per year, based around themes such as 'conflict', 'relationships' or the study of a set text for example Roald Dahl's 'Boy', 19th Century Gothic Tales, or Golding's 'Lord of the Flies', to name a few. There are also set schemes aimed at developing students' skills such as a 'Grammar for Writing' scheme. Students are taught to appreciate texts in detail throughout their study at Key Stage 3.


Two sets of homework per cycle are set in years 7-9. Homework may consist of: reading of the class novel or play; a written task; the learning of spellings; drafting and/or redrafting of work and research and/or preparation for an oral assignment. Most homework arises from class work.


Parents/carers can help pupils by encouraging them to read widely. In written homework, parents should check that pupils plan their work and amend any inaccuracies in spelling, punctuation and grammar. Pupils may also be asked to prepare and deliver a talk to the class or do a presentation.