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Notre Dame High School

Notre Dame
High School


KS3 English comprises of English Language (creative writing and language analysis) and English Literature (looking in detail at texts such as novels, plays and poetry).

Students also have a Library lesson once a fortnight. In this lesson, they read their own choice of novel and also have an opportunity to discuss/write about books they have read'.


Year 7 Curriculum 

Year 7 Term Topic What we study Assessment


Greek Myths and Legends

How can we produce a well-written story which engages and entertains the reader? 

A range of myths and legends from Ancient Greece.

These include the stories of Prometheus; Pandora; Medusa; Persephone; Cupid and Psyche; Theseus and others. 

Write your own Greek myth.

In this assessment students will draw on their knowledge of Greek Mythology and employ creative writing skills they have developed, both during KS2 and over the course of this unit. 

Spring 1


How do writers use language and poetic techniques to shape the meaning of their poems?

A range of poems from a bespoke anthology. This anthology includes ‘classic’ poems by the likes of William Blake and William Wordsworth, as well as modern poems from poets such as Grace Nicolls and Imtiaz Dharker. 

Students will learn to write analytically about poems, using quotations as evidence and analysing the writer’s use of language and techniques. 

In this assessment, students will identify poetic techniques from a poem and then write analytical paragraphs about two of the poems from the anthology. 

Spring 1 and 2

Novel: The Girl of Ink and Stars

How do writers present interesting characters,  create engaging storylines and describe settings in their novels?

Students will read an award-winning 21st century novel: The Girl of Ink and Stars. As well as enjoying the story and appreciating the writer’s craft, this novel will act as a springboard for the students' own writing.

Students will produce an analytical piece of writing about the way in which setting and atmosphere are presented in the novel. 

They will also produce their own piece of creative writing, inspired by the novel.

Spring 2 and Summer 1

Introduction to Persuasive Writing

How can we use persuasive techniques in our writing, in order to express our views in a convincing, powerful way?

Students will explore an anthology of persuasive, non-fiction texts. They will learn how to identify persuasive techniques and consider their effect before ultimately producing persuasive writing of their own. Students will be presented with a topical issue and will then write a piece of persuasive writing about this.

 Summer 2


Who was William Shakespeare? Why do we continue to study his plays to this day? 

Extracts from some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays such as Macbeth, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As well as exploring themes and characters in these plays, students will explore the  historical context to William Shakespeare’s plays. 

This unit is not formally assessed, but there will be opportunities for students to be informally assessed for their non-fiction and oral skills. 

Year 8 Curriculum 

Year 8 Term Topic What we study Assessment
Autumn 1+2

Imaginative Writing

How do writers craft their stories in a way which affects the reader?

An anthology of prose extracts from across the last three centuries. 

Students will develop an appreciation of many different fictional styles, genres and techniques.

In this assessment, students will produce a piece of creative or descriptive writing based on a photographic stimulus.
Autumn 2 and Spring 1

Novel Study: How High the Moon

How do writers use language and structure to create atmosphere and to convey meaning?

An engaging, thought-provoking contemporary novel called How High the Moon. As well as being a gripping story, this novel deals with the important themes of social and racial injustice.

In this assessment, students will answer four reading questions about the novel.These questions will assess students’ ability to analyse meaning, language, techniques, structure and the effect of the text on the reader.
Spring 1 + 2

Julius Caesar/Rhetoric

How is rhetoric used for effect in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar?

How can we use rhetorical devices effectively in our own writing?

Shakespeare’s historical tragedy, Julius Caesar.

Students will firstly write an analytical essay about a key scene from Julius Caesar. 

Following this, students will produce their own piece of persuasive writing, incorporating rhetorical techniques that they have explored in their study of the Shakespeare play.

Summer 1

Comparing non-fiction texts  

How do writers express their views in non-fiction texts?

How can we make comparisons between writers’ attitude and opinions?

An anthology of non-fiction texts expressing viewpoints and opinions about a range of issues. Produce an analytical essay, exploring and comparing the ways in which writers of non-fiction texts use language to express their views.
Summer 2

Multimodal texts

How does the media shape our perception of events and influence our everyday lives?

A range of multimodal texts, ranging from daily newspapers to graphic novels.

This unit is not formally assessed, but it will include opportunities for students to write in a journalistic style, create their own graphic novels and present their ideas to the class. 

Year 9 Curriculum 

Table Heading Table Heading    
Autumn 1

The Gothic: Creative Reading and Writing

How do writers use language and structural techniques to create a powerful effect on the reader?

A range of classic gothic texts such as Frankenstein; Dracula; The Tell-Tale Heart; The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Woman in Black. In this assessment, students will answer four reading questions about a previously unseen gothic fiction extract. These questions will test students’ ability to analyse language, structure, literary techniques and consider the impact these have on the reader.
Autumn 2 and Spring 1

The Crucible

How do writers use language to convey important themes and ideas?

Arthur Miller’s classic play, The Crucible. In this assessment, students will produce an analytical essay about a character or theme from the novel.
Spring 1

Poetry: Relationships

How do writers use language, poetic techniques and structure to present feelings and ideas?

How we make connections between the language and themes in poems?

An anthology of classic poems all based around the theme of relationships. 

Students will explore and analyse these poems, considering contextual factors that will have influenced the production of the poem.

In this assessment, students will compare two of the poems they have studied in the Relationships Poetry anthology. Students will be encouraged to analyse language, techniques and structure, considering how these create meaning. They will also be required to make insightful connections between their two chosen poems.
Spring 2 and Summer 1

Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing

How does Shakespeare use language to present characters and themes?

Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing. Students will also re-cap and develop their knowledge of the social and historical context to Shakespeare’s plays.

In this assessment, students will answer an essay question based partly on an extract from the play.

This task will test students’ ability to write analytically about Shakespeare’s language, presentation of characters and intentions.

Summer 1+2

Protest Poetry and Writing

How do writers express viewpoints through literature?

A range of poems, prose extracts and non-fiction texts all united by the way in which they protest about issues. Students will learn the skills of rhetoric and explore the way these are used in a variety of texts. This unit is not formally assessed, but there will be several opportunities for students to write about topics they feel strongly about, and to analyse the way writers express their views.

Where will this subject lead me?

KS4 English Language and Literature

In Years 10-11 all students study GCSE qualifications in both English Language and English Literature (two separate GCSEs).  For more information visit our KS4 subject pages for:

Career Pathways

English is useful for all jobs as it helps you develop important analysis and written communication skills. Most employers always say they want people with good English skills.

If you enjoy English you could use your creative and analytical skills to work in a huge range of different career areas. 

If you are interested in the Arts and like reading, media, the theatre or events, there are lots of opportunities in broadcasting, publishing and arts management. 

If you like debating and putting together persuasive arguments you may enjoy law, politics and government or business roles. English combines well with all subjects.