The English department aim to ensure that our students, regardless of their ability, reach their full potential and experience personal success throughout their time at The Roundhill Academy. The department consists of 7 full time teachers who are English specialists. The team is highly qualified, have a wealth of experience and are enthusiastic about teaching. The English department occupies a suite of 7 rooms all fitted with interactive whiteboards.

Topics covered in English are detailed below

Topic 1 Heroes and villains in ShakespeareIn this unit we study a range of Shakespeare’s great works including Othello, Macbeth, Richard III, Hamlet. We considering character tropes of the hero and villain and create our own heroes and villains that fit Shakespeare’s archetypes. We aim to expose students to challenging concepts such as iambic pentameter through the medium of drama. This unit also allows us to introduce PETAL paragraphs as structure for writing about texts in English; a fundamental skill that will be essential for future study. This unit is assessed through a speaking and listening assessment to foster confidence in public speaking.
Topic 2 PoetryShakespeare’s great works lead us seamlessly in to poetic study, including Shakespeare’s sonnets. We range widely around poetic forms and important poets from across time period from Lewis Carrol to Seamus Heaney, Shakespeare to John Cooper Clarke. Poetic terminology is introduced in this unit as well as continuing to build on PETAL paragraph writing.
Topic 3 Narrative WritingHaving studied great literature, character tropes and varying plots, students are now able to put this knowledge to good use by developing their own narratives. We use the read to write cycle to explore narrative structures and conventions, leading to students writing their own short stories. Students are introduced to Freytag’s narrative arc. We study a variety of modern short stories including Neil Gaiman’s Don’t Ask Jack.
Topic 4 CoralineBuilding on understanding from narrative writing, we complete a novel study of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. This unit is designed to develop understanding of structure and language and how to use PETAL to write about these. We build Tier 3 vocabulary about novels and character which will be used again in each year of English study.
Topic 5 Myths and LegendsFocusing on the classic Greek myths, we explore some of Literature’s great stories; Icarus and Daedalus, Prometheus, Medusa and Perseus, among others. By recognising the impact these legendary stories have had on great writers for centuries we hope to both inspire our students and help their understanding of the texts they will encounter in the future. We revisit the character tropes explored in our Heroes and Villains unit as well as the structural and language features discussed in our previous units.
Topic 6 Victorian LiteratureBoth fiction and nonfiction texts from the 19th century are explored, alongside poetry and prose to offer students an understanding of the impact Victorian Literature continues to have today. Essential wider contextual information is delivered through a focus on the Victorian childhood. We focus on viewpoints and perspectives and understanding how an author expresses these.
Additional Class ReadersOliver Twist by Charles Dickens, Clockwork by Phillip Pullman, Wonder by RJ Palacio, Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo
Topic 1 RhetoricWe begin year 8 with Rhetorical Writing. This unit teaches students how to identify, use and evaluate rhetorical devices. We use a range of media texts: powerful film speeches, seminal speeches delivered by the world’s greatest leaders, speeches and dialogue in great literature including Shakespeare and Orwell. We use the read to write cycle to write our own speeches, formal letters and advertisements. This unit is assessed through a speaking and listening assessment to develop these key communication skills.
Topic 2 Stone ColdFollowing Rhetoric we complete a novel study of Robert Swindell’s Stone Cold; a dual narrative which follows the experiences of a young homeless man and a dangerous villain. We build on the tropes of heroes and villains from year 7 and develop students’ understanding of what a narrative is by considering the dual voices of this text. To consolidate our rhetorical writing skills, we write an advertising campaign based on the themes in Stone Cold.
Topic 3 Narrative WritingFresh from studying the dual narrative in Stone Cold, we move on to crafting our own narrative structures. We revise the work we completed in year 7 on the narrative arc and apply that to our own story writing. Again, following the read to write cycle, we expose students to more short stories, including the modern ‘It’ by Adam Wilmington and the classic ‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson.
Topic 4 Romeo and JulietPossibly Shakespeare’s best known tragedy, Romeo and Juliet allows us to fully immerse students in the world of Shakespeare, from our contextual understanding of both modern and Shakespearean Verona to our consideration of how Shakespeare’s contemporary audience would have experienced his plays, we widen students’ understanding of what Shakespeare’s legacy is. Continuing our exploration of character tropes, we consider the roles of Romeo, Juliet, their parents and the Friar, as well as some of the minor characters. We revise and develop understanding of iambic pentameter, structure and Shakespeare’s language.
Topic 5 PoetryThis poetry unit is called Where in the World and features poetry from diverse voices. We aim to develop a sense of place in this unit, considering big questions about what we consider to be ‘home’, how home can be different for different people and why home is so important as a concept. In this unit we build on poetic analysis skills including consideration of meter, figurative language, rhyme and structure. We explore poems such as Limbo by Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Nothing’s Changed by Tatamkulu Afrika, Blessing by Imitaz Dharkar, amongst others. In this unit we introduce some comparative skills.
Topic 6 Discrimination SpeechesAt the end of the year, we deliver a synoptic unit bringing together themes and skills from year 8. Rhetorical devices are revised and put to use writing speeches about discrimination which will then be delivered to groups.
Additional Class ReadersThe Bone Sparrow by , I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Topic 1 Kingdom for Sale- descriptive writingUsing the read to write cycle we begin year 9 with the challenge of descriptive writing. In years 7 and 8 students focus on writing narratives; telling a story using the familiar story arc. In year 9 we introduce the skill of descriptive writing, describing a snapshot in time using a range of figurative techniques. Students learn to vary sentence openings including using fronted adverbials, simile, -ed and –ing openings. They develop their vocabulary around the language of colour as well as building their tier 2 vocabulary in other areas. This unit also revises iambic pentameter as well as analytical skills.
Topic 2 The Woman in BlackBuilding on the skills developed in previous novel study units and from their own writing in Kingdom for Sale, students consider how Hill has created atmosphere, tension, setting and character. We explore the Gothic genre and develop understanding of the Victorian-style novel. When possible we also arrange a trip to the West End in London to see the stage show of The Woman in Black; a wonderful opportunity for our students to go to the West End!
Topic 3 Narrative WritingThe Woman in Black combines extensive descriptive passages with masterful storytelling to deliver a spine chilling narrative. We follow our novel study with further narrative writing to harness the interest the novel inspires in our students. We build in study of short stories such as The Sniper to keep our students engaged in storytelling. Students are expected to be developing in independence with their story writing by this stage so our focus switches to planning and plot generation strategies and exploring a range of genres and themes to write.
Topic 4 ViewpointsUsing modern multimedia texts and a range of older texts (19th century onwards) we explore bias and perspectives in texts. We aim to keep this unit topical to expose our students to the issues that are affecting them and the country today. We focus on rhetoric, figurative language and comparative skills.
Topic 5 World War One PoetryBuilding on students’ understanding of bias and viewpoints, we consider the question of how the media can be used to manipulate, exploring WW1 propaganda. A range of poetry from different viewpoints during WW1 is used to recall poetic analysis skills taught in year 8. We aim to expose students to the realities of WW1 through a range of sources including the poetry of Owen and Sassoon, amongst others, as well as nonfiction texts.
Topic 6 GCSE Power and Conflict PoetryWe take some time at the end of year 9 to explore some of the Power and Conflict collection of GCSE poems, provided by AQA. We make links between the WW1 poetry we have just explored and the poems associated with war in the anthology. Students build on their comparative skills through this unit as well as using poetry analysis skills to dive in to the poetry and unpick the messages the poets wanted to convey.
Topic 1 An Inspector CallsWe begin year 10 with the modern drama text, An Inspector Calls. We immerse students in Priestley’s family drama developing their understanding of characterisation, stage craft and language through close text analysis. Previous work on structure is put to good use questioning the structural choices Priestley makes continually. Students’ vocabulary and ability to articulate their understanding of the world in 1912, 1946 and today is developed. An Inspector Calls asks fundamental questions about ourselves, our role in society and our responsibility for others.
Topic 2 A Christmas Carol Building on some of the themes in An Inspector Calls, we move on to the classic Dickens novel, A Christmas Carol. Students continue to flex their analytical muscle in this unit, considering the effects of the language and structural choices Dickens makes. Students build on their knowledge of the Victorian novel gained through previous study of Victorian writers and Hill’s The Woman in Black.
Topic 3 Creative Explorations in FictionThis unit exposes students to a range of fiction texts which they are able to comprehend, analyse and evaluate. From a canon of modern and older texts we experience a wide range of extracts which expose students to opening scenes, climactic moments and resolutions. We build on students’ understanding of language and structure, genre conventions, character tropes and the writer’s craft as a whole. Students are then placed in the role of the writer and will be asked to draw on the skills they have analysed to craft their own narratives and descriptive pieces.
Topic 4 PoetryThe poetry anthology is revisited with further poems from the Power and Conflict collection and students build a wider knowledge of the common themes and contexts, developing the comparative skills required for GCSE responses. Students begin to make more detailed links across language, structure and form culminating in structured analytical responses.
Topic 5 Spoken Language EndorsementThis is an element of the GCSE English Language that results in a separate grade being awarded at Pass, Merit, Distinction or Fail. This is a compulsory unit.
Topic 1 Language Paper 2Building on the work completed at the end of year 10, year 11 begins with a focus on perspectives, viewpoints and bias. Students are expected to read, analyse and synthesise nonfiction texts from a range of sources, from the 19th century to the modern day. Applying the methods they have been analysing, students write their own articles, letters and speeches.
Topic 2 MacbethThe Macbeth unit offers students an opportunity to dive back in to the world Shakespeare was living in, considering contemporary ideas about witchcraft, femininity, masculinity, heroism and kingship. Students use the critical skills they have mastered to delve in to the language, structure and form of this classic tragedy. Greek ideas about drama including conventions of the tragedy are explored and students use all of their critical writing skills developed to this point to write extract to whole responses.
Topic 3 Unseen PoetryStudents are expected to apply previous poetic analysis in an unseen context. They will be exposed to a range of poetry forms, structures and genres which they interpret and offer a personal response to. Comparative skills are also applied as students evaluate the methods used by two different poets.
Topic 4 RevisionA range of revision methods are taught and applied throughout the course. Students are expected to revise throughout their GCSE teaching, but this time at the end of the course is dedicated to revisiting key topics and areas for development highlighted by assessment. Students are exposed to exam techniques and timings to ensure they are fully prepared for their upcoming exams.

For more information about English in the Curriculum contact the Head of Faculty – Samantha Auger. Email sauger@roundhill.bepschools.org