English has a very important place in the curriculum.  The skills learnt are vital to the growth of students as individuals and therefore the priorities of the English Department are driven by the principles of Aspire and Achieve and the importance of personalised learning. 

Regardless of the level of English that students arrive with, at The Vale Academy, the English Department looks to support, encourage and develop them to reach their full potential - in their English exams, in their use of English in other subjects and in their confident and fluent use of English in all other aspects of their academy life and beyond. 

There are 11 members of staff within the English Department:-

Mrs N Williams: Principal
Mrs M Sullivan: Curriculum Leader
Ms S King: Assistant Curriculum Leader and Curriculum Leader for Media studies
Mr P Kench: English Teacher  English
Mrs J Todd: English Teacher
Ms N Elvin: English Teacher
Mrs E Harvey: English Teacher
Miss K Longden English Teacher
Ms A Ogman: English Teacher
Mrs C Wray: Learning Mentor
Mrs B Walker: Learning Support Assistant, Literacy



Students enjoy schemes of work that allow them to develop as insightful readers and creative, purposeful writers, while also offering them opportunities to express their ideas and explore their world through spoken language and discussion. 

In writing, students learn the skills to adapt to the needs of specific audiences and purposes and to develop and enjoy their own writing style to suit a variety of forms. Students also read, analyse and explore a wide range of stimulating material: novels, multi-modal texts, poetry, plays, fiction and non-fiction and writing from other cultures.  

The library houses an extensive collection of fiction and non-fiction books and students have the opportunity to borrow books for reading at home. Students also engage in structured library lessons at Key Stage 3, whereby they are encouraged to read individually and in small groups with interesting activities which support their learning.



Key Stage 3 

The study of English is divided into three key areas: Reading, Writing and Speaking & Listening. During Year 7 and 8, students will study and analyse a whole class novel. They will also learn to analyse how writers use language and structure to enhance meaning. Students will be taught to develop interpretations in PEE paragraphs so they are able to explore their reading analytically.  

Students will study a Unit on pre 1914 prose and poetry texts, an extract from a play by Shakespeare, and a Unit on the Media. Students will also read and analyse a variety of non-fiction texts. This range of study will ensure every student reads a variety of texts to support and extend their learning and understanding. Students will also have one library lesson a fortnight. They will be encouraged to choose a fiction book from the library to encourage reading at home. 

Key Stage 4 

Students will either study English or English Language and English Literature dependent on ability and choice.  We follow the AQA specifications. 

English Only 

The English course is divided into three Units: 

Unit 1 – Understanding and producing non-fiction tests in an exam 

Unit 2 – Speaking and Listening focusing on three separate tasks 

Unit 3 – Understanding and producing Creative Texts.  This encourages students to produce their own pieces of creative writing, to study a play by Shakespeare and texts from other cultures. 

English Language and English Literature 

The English Language course is also divided into Units:- 

Unit 1 – Understand and producing non-fiction tests in an exam 

Unit 2 – Speaking and Listening focusing on three separate tasks 

Unit 3 – Understanding Spoken and Written texts and creative writing.  This encourages students to produce their own pieces of creative writing and to study a modern novel. 

English Literature is divided into three Units:- 

 Unit 1 – a study of Modern Prose and Drama exploring culture 

 Unit 2 – a selection of Poetry 

 Unit 3 – a play from Shakespeare 

Each course is currently assessed through Controlled Assessments and a final examination.

New Specification 2015

From Sept 2015 students in Years 9 & 10 will study AQA English Language and Literature. This course will be assessed on the new 9-1 grading system.

Each course has a terminal examination which focuses on a range of texts which students have studied previously:-

English Language focuses on:-

Paper 1 – Creative reading and writing

Paper 2 – Analysing writers’ viewpoints

A non exam assessment based on spoken language

English Literature – students will study:-

A Shakespeare play

A 19th-century novel

A modern prose or drama text

A collection of poems from the AQA published Anthology

Katie reads

Key Stage 5

At A Level, students are entered for either AQA English Language or AQA English Literature.

English Language:

At AS, students focus on developing their skills in linguistic analysis, exploring a wide range of texts, produced for a number of different audience and purposes. They analyse texts and produce their own coursework folder focusing on an area of their choice. At A2 they extend their understanding of linguistic methods and develop an insight into the key concepts and theories surrounding language study. This unit takes further the study of social contexts, genres of speech, writing and multi-modal texts first explored at AS. The course is assessed through a final exam.

English Literature:

At AS, students study a selection of texts within the Unit, 'Love through the Ages' focusing on texts written post 1914. Students read widely across the genres of poetry, prose and drama. The course is assessed by a final examination. At A2, students continue to explore the themes in 'Love through the Ages'. They develop responses in the final examination to unseen extracts taken from poetry, drama and prose.


Extra support is always available for students through our weekly Catch-up Club. Teachers also hold pre-examination revision sessions to consolidate and reinforce classroom teaching.  The Learning Mentor also works with students during lunchtimes, tutor times and after school to provide additional support. Revision guides and support materials are always readily available for students.

Forthcoming events

This year students will have the opportunity to take part in a variety of extra-curricular activities.

Students in Year 8 have the opportunity to visit London with Study Experience. On their visit, they will see two different live theatre performances, take a tour of London including the Globe Theatre and experience a ‘flight’ on the London Eye.

Theatre and cinema trips are arranged according to the availability of suitable and appropriate screenings.

Links to enrichment

We recognise the huge importance that extra-curricular and cross-curricular activities play in the development of students as independent and confident learners of English. Over the past few years we have had success with both poetry and short story competitions. Writers are invited to visit the school to deliver workshops and to support students’ interest in literature. We work closely with the library in developing a ‘reading culture’ across the school. Students at Key Stage 3 participate in Library lessons every two weeks and the library is open for personal study at lunchtimes. Students have also liaised closely with some of our primary feeder schools. Recently, they worked together to produce ‘Brigg New Build’ which was a project aimed at marketing a new community centre for the local area. This was developed and presented formally, encouraging links between students in Years 6, 7, and 8 and the wider community.