English is at the heart of what pupils 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 pupils 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 pupils 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 specifications for AS and A Level

Year 12 follows OCR AS H072 English Literature, including Shakespeare, modern drama, a major poet (currently Milton or Chaucer) and a key novel (Mrs Dalloway or The Great Gatsby) for the two exam papers. Year 13 follows OCR H472 A Level English Literature, which revisits the four AS texts and adds four new ones, including The Duchess of Malfi to go with Paradise Lost for one exam; a second novel belonging to a topic area such as Women in Literature, American Literature or The Gothic for the second exam; and three coursework texts such as Carol Ann Duffy’s Feminine Gospels for one essay, and Bennett’s The History Boys together with Plath’s The Bell Jar for the second. Extra sessions for talented and ambitious students lead every year to successful applications to Oxford, Cambridge and other leading universities, and several students pursue an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) on a literary topic.

English Department staff

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