Catholicism in English
Thought for the Term: Summer Term
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute,” (Psalm 82:3)
English focus: Catholic Social Teaching through the Saints
As we welcome in the summer term, we have been exploring important biblical figures and how they link to the imperative values of Catholic social Teaching. From our patron Saint Edmund to the beloved Saint Andrew, we have explored the actions of these inspirational figures, and discussed how they supported Catholic social teaching values in their actions, and how we can endeavour to do the same.
Using hypothetical thinking skills alongside mastery of the spoken language, we have explored characters from our favourite stories and how they can also show compassionate nature through these values- particularly the option for the poor and solidarity to stand up for what is right. We have also discussed our work on Laudato Si in RE, and how characters from stories we have studied and read for pleasure show care for our creation, and how we can use them as guiding lights to inspire those around us to better the health of our planet.
We encourage you to take a moment to think about your favourite story characters, and ask- how do they show human dignity to others? How do they support the common good? How can we see the Lord’s work through their actions?
Our English department believes in fostering a love of literature through innovative, engaging teaching. We demand a high standard of work and behaviour from all our pupils, but believe in reward they will achieve outstanding results which will enable them to fulfill their potential both in higher education and their careers.
Our lessons are designed to encourage our learners through discussion, the teaching of engaging texts which stimulate interest and the developing of pupil’s vocabulary and ability to express themselves in a variety of forms and for a variety of purposes. We explore poetry, contemporary and classic literature and also link to our sister subjects of Media and Film Studies through a wide-ranging curriculum at KS3 which celebrates diversity and increases a pupils knowledge and appreciation of the fact that every life matters. We encourage pupil’s creativity and independence, allowing them to become more resilient learners in preparation for the rigour of KS4.
Head of Department Joe Were is the only Specialist Leader of Education for Secondary English in the city and has worked with schools across the Portsmouth area to raise attainment. He also co-chairs the Portsmouth Teaching School Alliance Secondary PEN Meetings and believes that every child the department have the pleasure of teaching learns to love literature through the dynamic and engaging lessons that the English department deliver everyday.
Within English we use a variety of Assessment for Learning strategies to empower our pupils and ensure accelerated progress is made. Two of the most effective are half time targets and 'feeding forwards'.
Half time targets allow pupils to stop mid-way through a task and reflect on what they need to do in order to improve. This can either be self or peer assessed, and involves pupils using the lesson's WILFs to produce a SMART target that is then re-assessed when the task is finished. Reflecting on a task at the mid-point means that our pupils in English are constantly reflecting on what they need to do in order to progress.
Feeding forward allows pupils to re-draft prior work and rectify any caveats that may have arisen. Pupils re-write one paragraph from previous work, implementing feedback from their teacher to improve it. This means as teachers we know that our feedback will be taken on board, and that the pupils will show this in their work instantly, accelerating progress and meaning similar errors will not occur again.
4+ 83 % 5+ 61 % 7+ 17.1 %
ENGLISH LITERATURE (Sat early entry in 2018)
4+ 84 % 5+ 60 % 7+ 15.1 %
19/20 (Exam & CAGS) (APS 5.38)
4+ 91 % 5+ 67 % 7+ 26 %
ENGLISH LITERATURE (Sat early entry in 2019)
4+ 79 % 5+ 61 % 7+ 27 %
20/21 (TAGS) (APS 5.21)
4+ 92 % 5+ 84 % 7+ 41 %
ENGLISH LITERATURE (CAGS sat in 2020)
4+ 86 % 5+ 69 % 7+ 25 %
The department has a proven record of pupils going on to further education to study English Literature and Language both at A Level and Degree. Nothing makes us prouder than when ex pupils get in touch to tell us how the teaching, support and enjoyment they received within the English department has set them on a clear path for their future aspirations. '
English is such an integral part of our day to day existence that we forget the multitude of career pathways it can open up. All KS3 pupils have a bespoke English -based Careers lesson during the summer term in which possible job opportuniies are discussed and examined.
If you want to know more about careers in English, please contact English Career's Champion Mrs Chester-Davies on
Key Stage 3 (Year 7-9)
Our KS3 curriculum is designed to provide optimum creativity for both pupil and teacher – books taught are from a list that has been curated from our own love of literature rather than just two of three texts or those that are not being taught at KS4 (like some schools). Pupils develop an ability to read and write a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, building a repertoire of skills to ready them for the rigour of KS4. These include whole novels (rather than extracts), Shakespeare, 19th century Literature, Poetry, Articles, Pamphlets and other non-fiction texts as well as looking at more diverse approaches to English through multi-media and film. Our selection of texts champion the diversity that we have both within school and pupils’ wider social circles and improve their understanding of their place within the world and the experience of those from diverse backgrounds.
We encourage pupils to develop a more ambitious and sophisticated vocabulary and punctuation and use assessments which foreshadow the line of questioning they will encounter in KS4. The final KS3 assessment ascertains their ability in creative writing and comparing Power and Conflict Poetry, readying them for the more strenuous work of KS4.
Key Stage 4 (Year 10 & 11)
The English Language course in Yr 11 consists of two papers – Explorations in Creative Writing and Writing from Perspective.
Both papers consist of a Section A (answering four questions on sources provided) and a Section B (writing either creatively or about a particular perspective). These exams test pupil’s ability to infer, analyse structure and language, compare sources as well as their ability to write to different forms and audiences using a wide-ranging vocabulary and high level of spelling and grammatical accuracy.
Both these papers are weighted 50% in terms of the final GCSE grade.
This GCSE is taught through topic-based learning which covers a range of subjects that are pertinent to the experiences of society today such as Racism and Equality, Ethics of Science and Knife Crime. Pupils are encouraged to look at fictional and non-fiction sources which explore, question and celebrate the experience of diverse people and how their lives have made an impact on the world that we know. This apporach builds cross curricular learning and strengthens pupils understanding of how the curriculum at St. Edmund's fits together to improve them as both a pupil and person.
All texts within the KS3 and KS4 curriculum overview with skills document under the 'Resources' section below are highlighted in blue to celebrate diversity and show pupils the importance of building a knowledge and understanding that every life matters.
The Eagle Newspaper
The Eagle is a publication where you can read about the latest trends, teachers' lives, student's lives and education. This newsletter has been revamped, meaning there are more exciting subjects covered. This is written by the pupils, for the pupils. This publication will let you speak your mind, so make sure if you have something to report, to come and notify our Eagle representatives. Our school is a family, so it is essential that all of us contribute to telling the rest of Portsmouth how great we are.
Year 9s going into Year 10 in September 2022 (Outline of English Study)
|English T&L Curriculum.pdf||Download|
|KS 4 CURRICULUM OVERVIEW WITH SKILLS V3 20-21.pdf||Download|
|KS3 CURRICULUM OVERVIEW WITH SKILLS V2.pdf||Download|
|Year 10 English Literature Mock Letter November 2020.pdf||Download|
Year 11 Revision Guides
|ENGLISH LANGUAGE PAPER 1 EXAMPLE AND SCAFFOLDS.pdf||Download|
|ENGLISH LANGUAGE PAPER 2 EXAMPLE AND SCAFFOLDS.pdf||Download|
|English Language Section A Scaffolds.pdf||Download|