Department Background

The English Department at Latymer is vigorous and successful, offering pupils lively, demanding courses. It secures excellent examination results and engages pupils in a broad and exploratory curriculum.

There are eight full- or part-time members of the Department offering a range of expertise and specialisms. Our Department comprises of co-ordinators for KS4, KS3 and Language, who together with a hardworking and impressively skilful team, work to develop dynamic lessons that stretch and challenge pupils.

We work very much as a team, producing stimulating courses at all levels, matching provision to need. In this, we are fortunate to be able to use the rich resources within the school: the impressively well-stocked library – professionally managed by our wonderfully knowledgeable Chartered Librarian; the various performance spaces; the extensive ICT provision both in dedicated computer rooms and every classroom; and purposeful collaboration with a variety of different Departments.

All our teaching materials are bespoke and they have been developed to foster a passion for learning. At all Key Stages, we aim to develop an appreciation and understanding of the English Language, a love of literature and a confidence in all forms of communication skills.

Year 7 - 9

Our Key Stage 3 syllabus is engaging and inspiring as we study a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts. We focus on a broad spectrum of teaching units ranging from Chaucer, Shakespeare, Science Fiction and the Epic Form to name but a few. Our curriculum carefully bridges the skills acquired at KS2 and progresses to develop students in preparation for successful KS4 study. We explore how and why the English language has developed, the place of literature in the world and how language can express who and what we are.

All students at KS3 have a designated library lesson and frequent grammar skills lessons. The Department are also in the privileged position of having been trained by the English Speaking Union and so KS3 students benefit from exciting debating lessons and opportunities.

At KS3 pupils are assessed in writing, reading and speaking and listening using specific success criteria.

  • Grammar and technical writing.
  • Reading and writing non-fiction texts.
  • Prose novels and poetry from the literary heritage.
  • Contemporary prose and poetry.
  • Contemporary drama and plays by Shakespeare.
  • Speaking and listening and drama activities.

Year 10 - 11

Our Key Stage 4 students follow the AQA English Language and Literature course. All our students study a combined course of English Language and English Literature: this enables them to achieve two GCSE’s in English.

The Literature course is designed to foster a love of reading and to develop analytical and evaluative skills. The course is assessed by final examination and students are carefully prepared through effective teaching and monitoring of pupil progress. We study a range of interesting set texts, including: “Much Ado About Nothing”, “Frankenstein”, “An Inspector Calls”, and “Conflict Poetry”. The Language course helps pupils to develop their communication skills in writing and speaking and to enhance reading and listening skills in preparation for entering further education or the world of work. The course is assessed by final examination which test pupils on their reading and writing skills of both fiction and non-fiction texts.

To support the study of the curriculum, the Department provides all students with access to a range of online revision resources and provides opportunities for students to see performances of the texts studied. Students are also encouraged to explore beyond the curriculum and take part in poetry workshops, the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge and Debating Society.

Year 12 - 13

English Literature is a very popular subject choice at A Level. We follow the Eduqas (formerly WJEC) English Literature specification which offers the pupils a broad, engaging and challenging passage through the study of English Literature. We are proud of our lessons at A Level and pupils are well prepared for both the AS and A Level examinations which are taught concurrently. The curriculum explores texts from a wide range of social, historical and cultural contexts and seeks to develop the skills of reading and engaging with literary criticism at a high level.

The English Literature course includes the different components of Drama, Prose, Poetry, Unseen Poetry and Prose, and a Coursework element of one essay of 2500 – 3500 words. In the Drama unit, students study ‘Hamlet’ and compare Middleton’s ‘The Revenger’s Tragedy’ with Joe Orton’s satirical and biting farce, ‘Loot.’ Milton’s epic poem ‘Paradise Lost’ is taught alongside the poetry of Plath and Hughes and for the prose unit, students study ‘Jane Eyre,’ and Jean Rhys’ re-imagining of Bronte’s text, ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’. For the coursework, students re-visit ‘Jane Eyre’ and compare it to Ishiguro’s contemporary text ‘Never Let Me Go.’ For each of the units, students are guided to complement their own analyses with critical writings and contextual viewpoints.

Pupils are encouraged to read widely and independently throughout the two years. The course is rigorous and challenging; pupils will be expected to write essays, conduct further research and deliver presentations on aspects of the course. Many students go on to read English at university and benefit greatly from our ethos of nurturing independence and a sense of discovery in literature. The Department also provides excellent enrichment opportunities for A Level students to rummage beyond the curriculum – a key contributor of this is the English Enrichment Lecture Programme that invites speakers and lecturers to deliver talks on a range of writers and topics.

The Department also offers excellent support for students wishing to go on study English at university. We hold a number of additional sessions to help students prepare for the Oxbridge English entrance exams and provide mock interviews.

Activities and Recent Highlights

Pupils studying English are encouraged to participate in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities. With a thriving city like London on our doorstep, students have enjoyed a number of different theatre trips, writer workshops, author talks, and cinema trips. Students in KS3 work every year with the Globe Theatre Players to enhance and engage their interaction with Shakespeare texts.

The Department also has a strong and impressive debating history with students taking part in both House and National Competitions. Every year, a group of Year 10 students take part in the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge, giving students an opportunity to work with professionals and students from other schools. Students also take part in the ESU Mace Competitions and the Mock Bar Trials.

Creative reading and writing opportunities are also at the core of the Department and students have the opportunity to shadow the Carnegie Book Award and join various reading groups including clubs that read Manga and Graphic Novels. Students annually enter the Mayor’s Writing Award Competition and are currently developing a school newspaper and Literary Magazine. Students in KS5 lead and run the impressive Literary Society which offers students a fun and unique way of exploring literature and culture.