Skip to content ↓


Welcome to English

The English Department at Upton-by-Chester High School take pride in being at the forefront of a diverse and varied educational experience. With this in mind, we are constantly aware of issues such as citizenship, sustainable futures, gender, faith, class and social and economic awareness; these and other important matters related to our students’ moral, cultural and spiritual development inform the English curriculum and are dealt with in explicit and implicit ways.

We believe a varied, diverse and challenging curriculum is at the heart of successful learning allowing all learners to immerse themselves into new worlds.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss

Email the department:



“Language is power, life and the instrument of culture, the instrument of domination and liberation.‍” - Angela Carter

It is our intention to provide a varied, diverse and challenging curriculum that supports all learners along their pathway to success. 

We believe that a love of language is paramount to building independent, reflective learners and this is orchestrated by:

  • Developing strong literacy skills that enable learners to communicate with precision and confidence to a variety of audiences and in a multitude of ways.
  • Building the confidence to question and explore the world around us through a variety of texts.
  • Nurturing a culture of reading 
  • Fostering a love of language and the ability to use vocabulary for effect
  • Consuming a healthy, balanced diet of skills, cultural capital and creative thinking.
  • Exploring the relationship between reading, writing and spoken language 
  • Focusing on the big questions and big ideas
  • Challenging perceptions and exploring wide-ranging viewpoints.
  • Analysing methods used and writers’ intentions to gain a full understanding of how language works.
  • Uncovering explicit and implicit meanings in written and spoken texts
  • Widening our understanding and perspectives to understand the human experience
  • Recognising how to connect concepts across texts, subjects and the wider world
  • Understanding how improved outcomes manifest from tailored feedback

Our curriculum is a narrative and a journey within itself, carefully constructed for connection of concepts and knowledge. It is structured over time with clear thought to sequencing these concepts. Our units reflect both key and threshold concepts, which mean we continuously return to the ‘big ideas’ within our teaching. This will  open up opportunities for new ways of thinking and the acquisition of knowledge for every learner. 

Our challenging and diverse range of study allows for cultural capital to permeate through our curriculum. A wealth of contexts is paramount to helping all learners develop and challenge perceptions of the human experience. Providing learners with the knowledge and evaluative skills to develop their opinions, helps them to appreciate and embrace difference. The power of language and the delights of literature guides learners to navigate the complexities of the world, shape understanding and develop the emotional intelligence to become well- adjusted citizens of the world. Our curriculum provides the opportunity for thinking to grow and change, supporting every learner to develop their own voice.

Key Stage 3

Learners are taught a wide range of challenging and diverse texts throughout KS3. We focus on learning new knowledge at Key Stage 3 whilst constantly developing our reading, writing and oracy skills. Learners are taught to write clearly and accurately in many genres and styles for a wide range of audiences and purposes. We also aim to develop research and study skills. Communication skills are developed through discussions and collaborative working. 

Further details: Key Stage 3

Key Stage 4

Students will complete AQA GCSE Specifications for both Language and Literature

This specification is designed to inspire and motivate students, providing appropriate stretch and challenge whilst ensuring that the assessment and texts are, as far as possible, accessible to all students.

It enables students to develop the skills they need to read, understand and analyse a wide range of different texts and write clearly.

For English Language, students are assessed through two equally-balanced examination papers, each assessing reading and writing in an integrated way. This specification requires students to be assessed at the end of Year 11 and is 100% examination based.

For English Literature, students will be assessed through two examination papers. Paper 1 (40%) asks students to respond to a play by William Shakespeare and a 19th Century Novel. Paper 2 (60%) asks students to respond to a Modern Novel and Poetry.

Further details: Key Stage 4

Key Stage 5

A-Level English Language

Learners follow the OCR specification.  We learn about how people speak and write, the impact of gender, power and technology on language, issues and debates in language-study, different genres, language in the media,  the history of English and how it has changed and how children learn to speak.  There are many opportunities for students to carry out their own research and to write for different audiences  in a variety of formats.   Coursework is an important part of the assessment for this course and learners carry out individual research into a topic of their choice and produce a language investigation and an additional piece of writing in response to this.

More information: Open Evening A Level Language .pdf

A-Level English Literature

Learners follow the AQA specification. We immerse learners in some of the most famous authors’ works, encouraging them to analyse and critique the texts from their own individual point of view. Emphasis is placed on the development of skills to perceptively articulate an argument with assured use of literary critical concepts and confident engagement with authorial methods. Learners will study literary genres, such as: tragedy genre ('Othello', 'Death of a Salesman’ and a selection of Keats' poetry), as well as political and social protest genre ('The Handmaid's Tale', 'The Kite Runner' and Blake's 'Songs of Innocence and Experience'). There is also a compulsory written coursework (NEA) component on additional prose and poetry texts of the learner’s choice, involving the application of concepts from literary theory, such as Marxism and feminism.

More information: Open Evening A Level Literature.pdf

Further details: Key Stage 5


There are many opportunities for learners to engage in English beyond the classroom. 

Writers’ Workshop

Debate Club

Various theatre trips across all key stages 

Various writing competitions throughout the year

Author visits and workshops

Department Staff & Responsibilities

  • Ms L. Mundy - Head of English
  • Ms C. Ellis-Brown - KS5 Co-ordinator
  • Miss S. Perrett - KS4 Co-ordinator
  • Miss C. Connolly - KS3 Co-ordinator
  • Mr C. Jones
  • Miss R. Blumenthal
  • Miss A. Twist
  • Mr A. Parry – Interventions tutor/English Teacher
  • Mr J. Eunson
  • Miss O. Hartley
  • Ms M. Flynn - Leader of Reading
  • Mr G. Foster
  • Mrs K. Gough
  • Ms H. McCarthy - Head of EPQ
  • Mrs A. Simmons
  • Mr R. Whelan

Homework Policy

Key Stage 3 – 1 X 30 mins per week – private reading and 1 X 30 mins piece per fortnight

Key Stage 4 - up to 2 x 30-45-minute pieces per week

Key Stage 5 - Regular reading and past paper questions. NEA Completion.

Whole School Policy


The English department follows the whole school feedback policy. Feedback is regularly given in lessons during retrieval practice and questioning as well as live marking with a visualiser. Written feedback is provided for specific pieces of work and assessments.


Key Stage 3 assessment will be based on units studied by End of unit assessments, mid year and end of year assessments.

Key Stage 4 assessment will be based on AQA past paper questions and follow the assessment calendar.

Key Stage 5 assessment will be based on AQA Lit B and OCR A Level Language past paper questions and follow the assessment calendar.

2023-2024 Upton by Chester Assessment Schedule