Cardinal Allen
Catholic High School



English is creative and enjoyable yet challenging. Our curriculum supports all students in achieving their full potential and is designed to challenge, whilst still having a firm foundation in the vital basic literacy skills. Students will explore a variety of text types and writing forms and study and enjoy a class novel, a play and a range of poetry and non-fiction texts each year. In addition to this, students will also participate in a range of project-based learning activities, intended to foster their independence and to develop literate young people, equipped for the modern world.


Our aim is to develop students who are life-long readers, who read for pleasure and enjoyment, and are able access a range of texts; different genres, non-fiction and fiction and various different forms. We also aim to develop students' reading habits to ensure they are adaptable readers for the twenty-first century, whilst reading for meaning and developing the reading strategies needed to optimise text understanding and analysis. We also endeavour to aid students to creatively use language to express their thoughts and feelings through a range of written forms - both non-fiction and fiction and to understand the importance of written language and how it can be manipulated and adapted to convey different meanings.

At the heart of our curriculum is a focus on developing vital literacy skills; ensuring students understand how to use punctuation correctly and know how to spell commonplace words. At the start of each academic year, students will complete a baseline literacy assessment. This assesses students' key skills and enables staff to personalise their teaching to suit the needs of the students. These skills are reviewed at different points in the academic year, with prompt interventions taking place where necessary.

Students are given a range of feedback and have time to act upon this feedback and respond to the targets given. This will allow students to develop their reading responses further and to "close the gap" in their achievements and learning. There is also a focus on planning written responses, the development of writing and the importance of re-drafting.

Whilst having a clear focus on being engaging and exciting for students, the KS3 English curriculum also has a strong focus on developing the foundations for GCSE study.

GCSE English

For GCSE, we follow the AQA pathway studying English Language and English Literature. Candidates will be awarded two GCSEs - one in English Language and one in English Literature. These specifications offer a stimulating and engaging learning experience, with assessments designed to suit a range of students and allowing students of all abilities to succeed. The English Literature and English Language specifications are designed to work together, giving students the opportunity to develop a wider range of knowledge and skills. Our GCSE students benefit from the department's experience and expertise and some of our staff are trained GCSE examiners.

Course Components

English Language

Paper 1 - Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing (50% of GCSE)

Section A: Reading: one literature fiction text.

Section B: Writing: descriptive or narrative writing.

Paper 2 - Writers' Viewpoints and Perspectives (50% of GCSE)

Section A: Reading: one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text.

Section B: Writing: writing to present a viewpoint.

Non-examination assessment (0% 0f GCSE)

Spoken Language: presenting, responding to questions and feedback, use of Standard English.

English Literature

Paper 1 - Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel (40% of GCSE)

Section A: Shakespeare: students will answer one question on their play of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.

Section B: The 19th-century novel: students will answer one question on their novel of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.

Paper 2 - Modern texts and Poetry (60% of GCSE)

Section A: Modern texts: students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on their studied modern prose or drama text.

Section B: Poetry: students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.

Section C: Unseen poetry: Students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.


After school clubs are provided for keen students who wish to stretch their abilities. Catch up and support is also offered on a one to one basis where necessary. Some of the support sessions, clubs and activities offered are:

  • KS4 revision - lunch times
  • Year 9 breakfast sessions to support pupils in achieving KS3 targets
  • Year 11 after school revision - various days prior to exams
  • Theatre visits
  • Author visits
  • Annual World Book Day celebrations
  • Visits with Blackpool Sixth Form English Language/Literature students
  • Book club
  • Debating club


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    The links below will take you to subject specific information outlining the current Key Stage 3 and 4 Course Guide.

  • Key Stage 3
  • Key Stage 4

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