The English department consists of two part time and eight full time members of staff and teaches out of eight 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; ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Frankenstein’; 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 (Love Through the Ages). Currently we study a Shakespeare play, we carry out a comparative study of ‘The Great Gatsby’ and pre-twentieth century love poetry and study a modern novel such as ‘The Color Purple’, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ alongside ‘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 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 Writing Club, Online Magazine (The Green Light), Reading Groups at KS3,4&5, mentoring clubs, Debating at KS4&5 and English Society. Regular visits to the theatre are also encouraged and each year we English Guest Speakerrun trips to support the texts under study at KS3, KS4 and KS5.

We try to bring in outside speakers where possible and we have hosted Young Adult Fiction authors such as: Carina Axelsson, Michelle Harrison and Holly Bourne. At KS5, we often welcome lecturers for both Literature and Language. Recently 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


KS3 Creative Writing  Tuesday 12.45-1.15 F10 TBC
English Society Thursday 12.45-1.15 F11 Miss Devlin/Sixth Form
Year 8
Word World: Fun and games with words!
Thursday Lunchtime F19 Mrs Howard
Harry Potter Club  Day 6 12.45-1.15 F15 Mrs Willmott
Manga Club   Friday 12.45-1.15 F14  Student led
Half Termly
Year 7 & 8 Book Group    12.45-1.15 Library Student led
Year 9 & 10 Book Club   12.45-1.15 Library Student led
Year 11 Book Group   12.45-1.15 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



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 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.