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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.

Future technologies have become a key factor in improving teaching and learning. With this in mind, the English Department have embraced the opportunity to contribute to the whole school policy of introducing new technology to our students. Lessons are taught using a variety of devices which help to engage and interest students, while reinforcing the core skills that are required to achieve success.

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The Staff

  • Ms L. Mundy - Head of English
  • Ms C. Ellis-Brown - KS5 Co-ordinator
  • Miss E. Radvilaite - KS4 Co-ordinator
  • Miss K. Williams - KS3 Co-ordinator
  • Miss L. Atkin
  • Miss R. Blumenthal
  • Ms N. Connor
  • Mr B. Davies
  • Mr J. Eunson
  • Miss A. Farnin - SENDCO
  • Miss L. Ferries
  • Ms M. Flynn - Literacy Lead
  • Mr G. Foster
  • Mrs K. Gough
  • Mrs A. Hewitt
  • Ms H. McCarthy
  • Mrs A. Simmons
  • Mr R. Whelan



“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

We focus on three main areas at Key Stage 3: reading, writing and speaking and listening. Students read a wide variety of novels, plays (including Shakespeare), poetry and non-fiction texts. Students 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, presentations and Drama lessons.

We supplement our curriculum and encourage students to be the best that they can by offering a number of rewarding educational visits. Recent visits have included trips to theatre productions, cinema trips, museum tours and a gifted and talented trip to Liverpool library. We also invite visiting authors into school and promote work with local and national charities.

Key Stage 4

Students will complete the new specification AQA GCSE.

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.

Sixth Form

We offer two A Level courses:

  • OCR English Language
  • AQA English Literature

A Level English Language

The Year 12 course provides an introduction to the study of language and analyses the ways in which cultural values and assumptions are shown through linguistic choices.

Assessment in Year 13 is by written coursework and examinations.

A Level English Literature

The A Level course covers Shakespeare, modern literature, poetry, prose and drama.

Assessment in Year 13 is by written coursework and examinations.

Homework Policy

At Key Stage 3, homework is set on a regular basis to consolidate work completed in lessons. Students are expected to read for a minimum of 90 minutes per fortnight and complete written tasks set by their class teacher. Students are also asked to make use of SAM Learning for extension activities and curriculum support.  At Key Stage 4, homework tasks are linked closely to the AQA specification and are GCSE related. Students need to read their set texts regularly and revise from the notes that they have made in class.

At Key Stage 5 students are expected to complete their own research as well as well as AS and A2 based examination questions.

Feedback Policy

A detailed overview of the the Department Feedback Policy is available here.