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English Department

“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.” — Maya Angelou.

The English Department at Walthamstow Academy is fully committed to ensuring that every student makes rapid progress. The team instils in students an understanding of the importance of the subject, generating creativity alongside teaching essential skills. Beyond the curriculum, the department is committed to nurturing a love of reading.

Key Stage 3

In Key Stage 3 students develop a range of reading-and writing based skills through studying novels, poetry, non-fiction and drama. Students learn how to structure an essay in preparation for GCSE and beyond as well as how to enhance their creative writing skills for a variety of purposes.

Year 7:


Year 7 is created around interactive units of work that aim to build students’ skills through speaking and listening, reading and writing. Through the exploration of fertile questions, students are encouraged to use English as a pathway to their understanding of the world around them. The course starts with: ‘Monsters, fear and adventure: what entertains a reader?’ allowing students to understand what elements make a story engaging. Using the novel Darkside as a backdrop, students will create their own gothic narratives, with emphasis on descriptive writing skills. In addition to this, students will reflect on their understanding of the text by producing analytical paragraphs on key parts of the text. Later in the course, students will also read and analyse texts such as Two Weeks with the Queen, a collection of Greek myths and Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Students will gain an insight to the progression of English over time, as well as develop interpretation skills necessary for exams and assessments. Assessments will consist of written analysis, dramatic and formal presentations and exam style tasks.


Year 8:


Year 8 begins with the novel Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, where students are able to explore the themes of love, innocence, courage and cowardice. Alongside the study of the novel, students explore war, patriotism and the notion of power through war poetry. Further in the year, students focus on the theme of crime and punishment, where students explore the fertile question: ‘Is punitive punishment the only option for criminals?’ While studying the novel Holes, students will engage in dynamic discussions as a means to build their presentation and debate skills. Alongside Holes, students will analyse similar characters and themes in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. This unit will assist students in developing their formal writing skills, with emphasis on writing to inform and explain. Moreover, students are given an array of opportunities to learn and apply a range of grammar and punctuation which will then assist them in writing tasks. The rest of the year consists of analysing, interpreting and engaging in texts such as Roald Dahl short stories, poetry and Blood Brothers. Such variations in texts, authors and time periods, will force students to challenge their ability to make links within the English classroom and the world they live in. Assessments will consist of written analysis, writing to inform/explain, formal presentations, creating poetry and exam style tasks.


Year 9:


Year 9 is a very significant year for students, as we further enhance the skills they require for success at GCSE.  Year 9 begins with the classic Of Mice and Men, where students are challenged by analysing key extracts in light of language and structure. Additionally, students begin to think more critically about the significance of social and historical context to a text and its purpose. Students then continue their study of classical texts with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Here students work on their reading and writing skills, with the focus being their ability to write creatively and with flair. The rest of the course explores ‘Victorian Murders’ through texts such as Sherlock Holmes, a collection of GCSE poems and An Inspector Calls. Each unit of study provides students with the opportunity to build upon their analytical skills, their writing skills and their knowledge and application of grammar and punctuation. Assessments will consist of GCSE style questions, formal presentations and a blogging project. Year 9 students will develop their analytical skills as well as building their understanding and interpretation of various texts, through formal exam style assessments.

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4 pupils prepare for and sit the AQA English Language and AQA English Literature GCSE exams. Over two years they learn to analyse texts such as Jekyll and Hyde and Macbeth and experience the excellent AQA anthology of poetry. Pupils will also develop their writing skills through exploring creative writing, and learning to write to argue and persuade.


The GCSE is assessed through four exams, two in English Language and two in English Literature.




Image result for macbeth play posterImage result for jekyll and hyde novel 

Key Stage 5


At Key Stage 5 students complete the new OCR H472 English Literature A Level course.  Over the course of two years studying with an enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable team of teachers, students work towards expressing complex ideas in a coherent sophisticated style evaluated against critical opinion and informed by a range of readings and interpretations with a detailed contextual awareness throughout. Students will be able to develop their analytical skills both in lessons and in afterschool subject Masterclasses that take learning to university level with lectures on subject’s including structure and form in postmodernist poetry, Kazuo Ishiguro’s loam of the banal, the influence of Second Wave Feminism and Reaganomics, and the emergence of reductive teen culture in 21st century dystopian films and novels.

Year 12 is devoted to the study of 20th Century Dystopian fiction with 8 texts to choose from, allowing students to work independently on their chosen text(s) alongside a class focus on The Handmaid’s Tale and Fahrenheit 451. This component is assessed at the end of Year 13 with a two-hour exam. At the start of year 12 students will complete the first of their independent coursework tasks, a 1000-word close analysis of a poem of their choice from the postmodern feminist collection The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy. Also in Year 12 students will begin work on the second of their independent coursework tasks, a 2000-word comparative essay exploring themes of gender, sexuality, identity and death in Patrick Marber’s 1997 London set play Closer, and Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel Never Let Me Go.

In Year 13 students look further back into the history of Literature studying one Shakespeare play The Tempest, a collection of pre-raphaelite poetry by Christine Rossetti, and one fin de siècle late 19th century play, Ibsen’s The Doll’s House. This component is also assessed at the end of Year 13 with a two-hour exam.


The English Team

The English Department at Walthamstow Academy is made up of a dynamic team of teachers who inspire students to achieve highly. Students are encouraged to ask probing questions and debate issues that arise from the literature studied, facilitated with skill and passion by their teachers.

  • Ms Tijen Adem - Raising Standards Leader
  • Mr Stephen Bell-Brown – Curriculum Leader
  • Ms Jess Capstick – Vice Principal
  • Ms Louise Hare-Dhoomun - Literacy Intervention Co-ordinator
  • Mr Keiran Mahon - Subject Leader: Media Studies
  • Ms Teal Martz
  • Ms Yonca Nacakgedigi
  • Ms Sarah Giokabari
  • Ms Hannah Robins - Assistant Principal
  • Mr Liam Tweed: 2iC - KS4
  • Ms Bella Muwanga
  • Ms Namana Rauf
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