English is at the heart of what students do at CRGS: reading texts, interpreting them and forming one's own opinions about them while considering others' responses are fundamental skills whatever one's area of interest.

Our curriculum is as broad as we can make it. Lower School students study a wide range of poetry, prose, drama and non-fiction drawn from different centuries and various parts of the world; tasks are fitted to the main teaching objectives of the revised KS3 framework.  

Year 7 is introduced to a range of text types and students develop their writing style and accuracy in each type; practical Drama is incorporated into timetabled English lessons and will usually culminate in a performance in the Summer Term. Year 8 consolidates and extends these skills, using English Challenge as a supporting course book. Year 9 is treated as a preparation year for GCSE in which higher-level texts and tasks are addressed; key units include Literature of the First World War, Macbeth and Literature of Protest.

Years 10 and 11 follow the Edexcel GCSE 9-1 courses in English Language and English Literature. The new-style specifications have no coursework and all written assessment is by exam. The two Language papers test response to unseen fiction and non-fiction texts; and examine a broad range of writing types including creative, argumentative and informative writing. Speaking & Listening is tackled throughout the two years of the course and culminates in a short exam in the Spring Term of Year 11, for which a separate endorsement is awarded. The two Literature papers focus on drama, poetry and prose, the second paper including response to an unseen poem.  As at A Level, the secret of success is a detailed appreciation of the manipulation of language in each context.

A Level English Literature is a very popular option in the Sixth Form. Classes are run as seminars with students researching and presenting their views on a broad selection of texts drawn from the new, linear OCR specification for A Level

A Level Unit 1 (exam 40%):  Drama and Poetry pre-1900.
This two-and-a-half-hour exam will test your knowledge of three texts, one of which must be a Shakespeare play (such as Hamlet, The Tempest or Richard III.)  You will have to answer a passage question and an essay question on your set play.  The second section places a drama text and a poetry text together for comparison.  Drama includes Webster: The Duchess of Malfi; Ibsen: A Doll’s House; or Goldsmith:  She Stoops to Conquer.  Poetry choices include Milton: Paradise Lost Books 9 & 10; Christina Rossetti: Selected Poems; or Chaucer: The Merchant’s Prologue and Tale.  The emphasis in this unit is on seeing more than one side of the coin:  you will need to weigh interpretations of the texts against each other.  We will take you to see productions of the plays where available.
A Level Unit 2 (exam 40%):  Comparative and contextual study. This unit focuses on a topic such as Women in Literature, American Literature 1880-1940, or The Gothic.  You will read two complete texts from the board’s list, and a range of supporting material.  The two-and-a-half-hour exam will ask you to analyse an unseen passage drawn from your topic area; and to answer one essay question chosen from three options on your two complete texts.
A Level Unit 3 (coursework 20%):  Literature post-1900. You will study a total of three texts: one prose, one poetry and one drama, all published after 1900 and one of them after 2000; and write two coursework essays (of 1,000 words on one text and of 2,000 words on the other two texts).  These might include Duffy: Feminine Gospels; Coward: Private Lives; and Waugh: Decline and Fall; or TS Eliot: Selected Poems; Bennett: The History Boys; and Plath: The Bell Jar.   You will be able to select your own essay titles with guidance from your teachers.

English Department staff

  • Dr S Dowling (Head of English)
  • Mrs P Bishop
  • Mrs H Drake (KS3 Co-ordinator)
  • Mrs L Eady (KS4 Co-ordinator)
  • Mr R Heard
  • Dr I Ross