‘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. 


Dr. J Tepe  (Head of Dept)

Mr. K Organ (2nd in Dept)

Mr. N Duck (Head of Careers)

Ms. E Brown(Teacher of English)

Mr. A Sanders (Teacher of English)

Mrs. A Ahmed (Teacher of English)

Mrs. Z Hussain (Teacher of English)

Ms. J Marshall (Teacher of English)


Our Vision: Cultured … Engaged … Informed


In addition to the above, 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 that will enrich their life experiences. We want to enrich the lives of all our students, whatever their background, allowing them to participate in cultural experiences that are so often denied to them. We want to give pupils access to the language structures, conventions and knowledge which are necessary to enable them to take their places in public life and become lifelong learners who are engaged and informed citizens. As a result of this, our students will have acquired the knowledge to become happy and successful leaders who are a positive force for good in British society.

Course Calendar

Please click here to view the Course Calendar



Our curriculum is designed to meet and exceed the requirements of the National Curriculum as well as the wider Assessment Objectives at GCSE and A-Level. Our units of learning, across the Key Stages, are underpinned by:

  • developing rich knowledge of literary texts;
  • enhanced awareness of critical lenses and how such lenses can affect our reading and understanding of a text;
  • employ knowledge in a way that develops fluency of thought and unique agency of ideas.


The overview is summarised in the table below where the ‘intent’ outlines the purpose of our curriculum, the ‘implementation’ summarises the vehicles used to drive our purpose and the ‘impact’ we expect in enabling our students to become ‘cultured, engaged and informed’.

Key Stage 3:

Our aim in these years is to foster a love of literature as well as to ensure the pupils are equipped to express themselves with clarity and finesse, orally and on paper. In Key Stage 3, the development of the boys’ creative and analytical writing skills is driven primarily through the close study of our six core concepts – genre, language study, modern prose, poetry, pre-20th century texts and Shakespeare – complemented by creative writing, drama-based activities, practice in public speaking and debating, and work on grammar. Our pupils are encouraged to read widely and deeply through their weekly reading lesson in the Reading Room, where students are given the tools to develop volitional reading and engender within our students the habit of reading for pleasure.


By the end of Key Stage 3, our students are able to think more synoptically and conceptually about literature and will understand the common features of literary traditions and the ways in which they have been used, adapted and sometimes subverted over time.


Key Stage 4

At KS4 all students follow the AQA specifications in English Language and English Literature. Students are taught by subject specialists in six groups, comprising one accelerated set and five mixed groups.


AQA English Language:

  • Paper One – Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing
  • Paper Two – Explorations in pre and post-twentieth-century non-fiction
  • Non-Examined Assessment – Spoken Language



 AQA English Literature:

  • Paper One – Pre-20th Century: Shakespeare and Pre-Twentieth Century Fiction
  • Paper Two – Modern texts and poetry




In addition to the assessment objectives as stipulated by examinations boards, we continue to focus on in ensuring that our units enable our students in:


  • developing rich knowledge of literary texts;
  • enhanced awareness of critical lenses and how such lenses can affect our reading and understanding of a text;
  • employ knowledge in a way that develops fluency of thought and unique agency of ideas.


Key Stage 5

A Level English Literature introduces pupils to some of the most enjoyable, inspiring writing from the late 1300s to the present day. The Edexcel course we follow ranges widely across and beyond the traditional canon, whilst sharpening pupils’ skills in textual analysis. They are encouraged to make connections between the texts studied and to explore them within their intellectual, cultural, social and historical contexts. A Level English fosters essential skills in analysing complex material, approaching problems creatively, evaluating others’ views perceptively, and expressing arguments concisely and persuasively.

By studying human nature, human societies and human thought through literature, students discover much about themselves, each other and the world. They equip themselves with a qualification that sits equally well alongside humanities, languages and science A-Levels, and is highly valued by universities and employers.


In preparation for university study, our A-Level course and wider enrichment place a strong focus on the Gatsby benchmarks. In addition to the aforementioned, our three core objectives ensure our students are ready for university study and beyond:


  • developing rich knowledge of literary texts;
  • enhanced awareness of critical lenses and how such lenses can affect our reading and understanding of a text;
  • employ knowledge in a way that develops fluency of thought and unique agency of ideas.



Pupils take advantage of a wide and ever-growing range of extra-curricular opportunities in the subject. In Key Stages 3 and 4, a reading group meets weekly, while creative writing is promoted through workshops and competitions, both internal and external; we have been particularly successful in external writing competitions in recent years with over 100 year 7 pupils have had their work published in outside publications. The Lit Society meets weekly, exploring the diverse nature of literature across the globe and its impact on the British literary canon. Attendees delve into areas beyond the syllabus, guided by teachers in the department, visiting speakers, or pupils themselves.


In addition to this, our wider work with the National Literacy Trust, UKLA and EEF gives all students, no matter what their background, the opportunity to realise their potential and exposes students to the wider influence and significance of the English Language in both the arts and STEM-related fields. Other trips, author visits and residential excursions are offered when possible – the school does all it can to subsidise such trips.


Student leadership plays an important role in our extra-curricular offer. Our Reading Ambassador Programme is led by our Sixth Form team and its success is documented nationally. Please see the following link: https://researchschool.org.uk/stmatthews/news/engaging-with-evidence-to-inform-a-school-reading-culture


There are several trips each term to see plays locally in Birmingham, Stratford, and London; lectures, poetry readings and collaborations with other schools and universities further enhance pupils’ experience of the subject. Our annual Sixth Form cultural trip to London is always well attended by both students of English Literature and those who do not study English. This widens access for all students and ensures English plays an important role in helping students understand the world in which they live.


English: Taking You Into The Future

English at HGS might provoke pupils in numerous ways. Least measurably but most importantly, it might incite a lifelong love of reading and a sensitivity to the power and subtlety of language. More practically, the skills it hones in and through reading, writing and thinking are essential in academia and the workplace. A growing number of students go on to read English at leading universities annually before pursuing careers in academia, the arts, law, the city, and numerous other areas.


Useful Documents