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Key Stage 3

In KS3, students are taught in ability bands after they are set in October of Year 7. There are three broad ability bands in Years 7 and 8, and four in Year 9.

What do students learn in KS3?

Key Stage 4 - English Language

Course Content

The examination tests comprehension skills alongside writing skills.


Students are taught in ability bands but all students will take this course. There is no tier structure so all students will be eligible for the new grades 9 - 1.

Examination (100%)
Paper 1 - 40%

Students will answer a series of question on an unseen piece of 19th century fiction and produce a piece of linked creative writing.

Paper 2 - 60%

Students will respond to questions comparing unseen non-fiction texts from the 20th and 21st centuries. Students will complete a written task (such as a letter or article) linked to the theme of the reading texts.

Key Stage 4 - English Literature

Course Content

All students will study English Literature. Students will follow a combined course with English Language which will result in two separate GCSEs.


There is no tier structure so all students will be eligible for the new grades 9-1.

Examination: (100%)
Paper 1 - 50%

Students complete two questions on a Shakespeare text and one response to a piece of British drama or fiction.

Possible texts include: Macbeth, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, An Inspector Calls and Blood Brothers.

Paper 2 - 50%

Students complete two questions on a 19th century novel, one response comparing poems from the Edexcel anthology and one response comparing two unseen contemporary poems.

Possible texts include: Great Expectations, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and A Christmas Carol.

Sixth Form - English Literature

Course Content

This syllabus covers four units. The first of these is Poetry, the modern component of which is studied in Year 12, with the pre-1914 element studied in Year 13. The texts are currently Poems of the Decade, a gripping and often grisly collection of modern verse, and a poetry movement (currently The Romantics) or a collection of poems by a pre-1914 poet (for some of next year’s Year 13, John Donne). The second unit covers Prose, which explores different themes, such as The Supernatural or Science and Society, where science fiction masterpieces such as Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale are featured. This unit is mainly taught in Year 12 and revisited in Year 13. The third unit considers Drama, with Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire currently being studied in Year 12, followed by a Shakespearean tragedy, such as Othello or Antony and Cleopatra in Year 13. Coursework at A level (Unit 4) compares two texts connected by author, theme, or period, and students can also have an input into a selection of books for this option. The syllabus is exciting and refreshing and should present an absorbing challenge to students embarking on it in 2020. The issues dealt with are powerful and shocking – prepare to be both horrified and moved by timeless tales of passionate love. All human life is here!

Course Structure

A level Units

  • Unit 1 - Drama [30% of A level]
  • Unit 2 - Prose Study [20% of A level]
  • Unit 3 - Poetry [30% of A level]
  • Unit 4 - Coursework [20% of A level]

  • Unit 1 – 30% of A level marks, one written examination lasting 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Unit 2 – 20% of A level marks, one written examination lasting 1 hour
  • Unit 3 – 30% of A level marks, one written examination lasting 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Unit 4 – 20% of A level marks, one essay of 2500 to 3000 words

Media Studies

Media Studies is taught in two classrooms, both of which are fully equipped with audio visual equipment as well as Apple Macintosh computers. A dedicated editing suite is also on site for Sixth Form students to use. In addition to the teaching staff, we have two part-time technicians to guide students.

Key Stage 4

Course Content

Our aim is to develop a critical understanding of the role of the mass media in society, encouraging students to develop a broad knowledge of media institutions and production techniques as well as an ability to analyse and interpret its products. There is a close focus on studying media texts through the following theoretical framework:

  • Media Language – how are texts constructed?
  • Audience – who consumes media texts?
  • Industries – who makes media products?
  • Representation – how are people/places/events portrayed in media texts?


Paper 1 : Written examination (35%)

Questions will focus on all areas of the theoretical framework: language, representation, audiences and industries. These will be examined with reference to 18 Close Study Products (set texts) that students will study over the two year course. Students will be assessed via a mix of multiple choice questions, short answer questions and extended questions.

Paper 2 : Written examination (35%)

Questions will focus on all areas of the theoretical framework and will require students to view and analyse a moving image extract, as well as answer questions on the Close Study Products (set texts). Students will be assessed via a mix of short answer questions and extended questions.

Paper 3 : Non-examination assessment: creating a media product (30%)

Students will apply their theoretical knowledge to the making of a media text of their choice but based on a theme (set by the examination board) and aimed at a specific target audience. This will be assessed by classroom teachers and moderated by the examination board.

Sixth Form

Course Content

Students explore the workings of the modern day mass media and the theories and debates surrounding it. A large emphasis is placed on the analysis of media texts across the broadcast, print and online platforms. Students learn how to read the language of the media and apply the key ideas to specific media texts including radio and television programmes, magazines, newspapers, adverts and online content. They will have the opportunity to use new media technologies to create a media production of their own, such as a music video, radio programme or specialist magazine.

Course Structure

Paper 1 and Paper 2 (70% of A level) Written examinations: short answer and extended response questions analysing media texts and applying knowledge of media concepts to a series of set texts known as Close Study Products.

Non-examination assessment: creating two media products (30% of A level)


The non-examination assessment (formerly known as coursework) represents 30% of the total qualification. These change yearly and are set by the examination board. The written papers (70% of the total mark) mix short answer and long answer questions to test students’ knowledge of media language, media representations, media audiences and media industries as well as their ability to analyse a series of set texts known Close Study products (CSPs). The course encourages students to be critically autonomous and engage with the issues and debates related to the contemporary media landscape.

Film Studies

Sixth Form

Course Content

Film is a powerful and culturally important medium that can take a number of different forms. Film Studies is aimed at developing students’ understanding of how film works both as a medium of representation and as an art form. Learners will be introduced to a broad variety of films from the past and the present, including British and American cinema, European and global cinema, short films, experimental films, silent cinema and documentary. Students will study the different technical elements of film, the messages and values films can communicate, the contextual importance of cinema and the ideas surrounding different spectator responses. In this way, the course aims to both broaden and deepen students’ appreciation of film and, in turn, of the world around them. Creative production work is also an important part of the qualification, where students produce their own screenplays, storyboards or short films.

Course Structure
Component 1

Varieties of Film and Filmmaking: written examination – 2 hours 30 minutes (35% of qualification) This unit assesses knowledge and understanding of six feature length films from the history of Hollywood, British and American cinema.

Component 2

Global Filmmaking Perspectives: written examination – 2 hours 30 minutes (35% of qualification) This unit assesses knowledge and understanding of five feature-length films (or their equivalent in short films). This includes documentaries, Global, Experimental and silent era films.

Component 3

Creative Production: non-examination assessment (30% of qualification) This coursework unit assesses a creative production, either in the form of a short film (4-5 minutes) or a short screenplay (1600-1800 words) with a photographic storyboard. Alongside this is a written evaluation of the production (1600-1800 words).


There are three assessment objectives, each weighted differently. Units of study have different requirements for assessment; these include the application of knowledge and understanding, close analysis, comparison, evaluation and creative production. Each component has a different focus for example Film Form, Auteur theory, Ideology and Spectatorship.

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