‘If you are having fun, you are not learning’…….The English Department does not agree with Miss Trunchbull and believes that in HGS English lessons you can do both! We try hard to make this happen. 


Mr G Dubay (Head of Dept)

Ms E Brown (2nd in Dept i/c KS3)

Mr N Duck (Head of Careers)

Ms B Gerrard (Teacher of English)

Mr K Organ (Teacher of English)


The English Department aims to offer a challenging and diverse curriculum within a lively and supportive learning environment. We want our pupils to be confident speakers, writers and readers and would hope to foster and encourage a lasting enjoyment of literature which will enrich their life experience. We want to give pupils access to the language structures and conventions which are necessary to enable them to take their places in public life and become learners for life.


At KS3 the students follow a wide and varied programme based on the demands of the National Curriculum. This provides a strong basis for study at GCSE and beyond. Texts cover a range of issues and genres and in each year pupils study a novel, poetry and a play. Pupils focus on building the core skills – reading, writing, speaking and listening – and demonstrate their abilities through writing in a range of styles, drama activities, presentations and sometimes film making!

Year 7 often begin the year with Anthony Horowitz’s Stormbreaker, move on to traditional tales such as King Arthur and usually finish making their own promotional films for a fantasy school. Year 8 can expect a varied diet that covers issues such as homelessness through the study of Stonecold, as well as looking at Travel Writing, Science Fiction and extracts from Chaucer. They will also study aspects of the classic novels Lord of the Flies and 1984.  Year 9 begin with Dickens’ Great Expectations and then move on to War Poetry, aspects of the Gothic and study Romeo and Juliet.

There are six full time English specialists teaching in dedicated classrooms. Individual teachers have the flexibility and freedom to respond to the needs of their classes and aim to stretch and stimulate their pupils’ imagination through their response to the writing of others and their own creative work.

All students are aware of their expected target level and are given clear guidance on how to improve. Assessment is continuous but more formal assessments take place at least once every half term and are usually linked to the unit of work studied in that time. Assessed work is kept in a folder by the class teacher and there are annual examinations in the summer term.

At KS4 all students follow the AQA specifications in English Language and English Literature. With GCSE students it is, of course, necessary to provide full, prescribed coverage of the exam work, but students will be allowed opportunities to develop, extend and nurture their individual interests.

Students are taught by subject specialists in six groups, comprising one accelerated set, four mixed groups and a smaller set designed to support students who have additional needs. All students are entered for both Language and Literature and are encouraged to set themselves individual targets for success that are reviewed regularly throughout the two years of GCSE.

AQA English Language:

  • Paper One: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing – 50%
  • Paper Two: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives


 AQA English Literature:

  • Paper One: Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel – 50%
  • Paper Two: Modern Texts and Poetry – 50%

At KS5 the department offers OCR English Literature. This course offer a balance between traditional examination and coursework and is a popular subject with students. Lessons are taught by subject specialists in dedicated rooms for 5 x 50 minutes a week.

At Sixth Form level plenty of in-house support materials are available for students to use and they are encouraged to follow their own interests in the choice of set texts for individual coursework tasks. Recent novels have included ‘Spies’ by Michael Frayn, ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini and ‘The Go Between’. Study is accompanied by class-viewings of DVDs and trips to the theatre, either locally or in London. ‘A’ Level students are expected to play an active role in their lessons and to learn to become academically independent.


Students regularly visit the theatre and cinema, both locally and in London. Past trips have included West End performances of The Woman in Black, War Horse, A View from the Bridge, Tis Pity and Othello as well as seeing Casino Royale, The Golden Compass, Harry Potter and King Lear at a local, independent cinema.

There have been successful World Book Day activities such as Fancy Dress – for all students and staff – and a competition for Years 7 and 8, contributions by Sixth Formers to the choosing of a Young Poet Laureate and a Comic Book Day Workshop with a local author. Poet Liz Lockhead and writer Nick Hornby have also worked with students to produce original creative writing and a local Theatre-in-Education company has performed for and with Year 9 students on Macbeth.