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Devonport High School for Girls

Name of Head of Department 

Mr T Ashley, BA (Hons)

Statement of Intent 

We believe that nurturing a lifelong love of literature and appreciation of the power of language is vital for students' social and moral development; sense of belonging and happiness. 

Our curriculum is ambitious, sequenced, knowledge-rich and underpinned by the cumulative acquisition of skills. 

Our Literature text choices from Y7 to Y13 are diverse and challenging to ensure all students build a body of knowledge that develops both their appreciation of literature and their cultural capital. The curriculum map shows the sequence through genres and time periods to enable students to apply and extend knowledge as they progress through the curriculum. Our curriculum covers 6 core areas of English Language and English Literature: prose, poetry, Shakespeare/Drama, writing (creative and non-fiction), wider reading and independent learning. 

All core areas interleave the following 7 skills: 

  • structure and Coherence: this is the understanding that texts are put together with intent. Once students understand this about the texts they read, they think differently about the way they write; 
  • spelling, punctuation and grammar: this is taught as a fortnightly lesson in y7; decontextualised from the curriculum texts. This is to teach and embed the skills in the first year as grammatical rules and not attached in long-term memory to a specific text/task. Research shows that this approach is more robust in terms of retaining knowledge of SPAG. From y8 onwards, SPAG is reviewed throughout units to secure knowledge and introduce new vocabulary and sophisticated use of punctuation and sentence structures;
  • awareness of impact: this is the understanding that writing is shaped by the priorities of a writer and the needs of a reader. This includes the teaching of genre, audience, purpose vocabulary, tone and style; 
  • understanding context: this is crucial to making sense of and appreciating texts. The knowledge of context of production and reception is an essential aspect of Literature changes the way students read and respond to a text. Our curriculum introduces the importance of context from y7 and the range of themes and context that our curriculum texts cover is diverse; shaping our students to have an insightful understanding of many aspects of pre and post-1900 society across cultures; 
  • using evidence: our students are taught the SQI (statement/quote/inference) method from Y7 in order to develop an academic style of writing that is about shaping a critical response by interpreting the writer’s craft through signposted inference;
  • analysing methods: this is understanding that writers use a variety of linguistic and structural techniques to achieve their intent; 
  • oracy: our curriculum aims to facilitate classrooms rich in talk in which questions are planned, and peer conversations are modelled and scaffolded to ensure students develop the confidence to effectively articulate their views and to work cooperatively. 

Curriculum Programmes of Study 


Cycle Content

Year 7

Cycle 1

  Myths and Legends

Cycle 2

Introduction to Shakespeare - Macbeth

Cycle 3

Animal Farm

Year 8 


Cycle 1

  Writing the World  
  Detective Fiction

Cycle 2

 War Poetry

Cycle 3

  Exploring Class and Prejudice in 20th Century Literature:
  - Of Mice and Men
  - Blood Brothers

Year 9

Cycle 1

  Dystopian fiction  
  Blood Brothers 


Cycle 2

AQA Literature: Poetry - Love and Relationships ('Family' cluster) 


Cycle 3

AQA Literature: 'Telling Tales' Short Story Anthology
Introduction to Language Paper 2; Spoken Language presentations

Year 10 

Cycle 1

 ‘Telling Tales’ AQA anthology of short stories 
  Romeo and Juliet 


Cycle 2

Romeo and Juliet 
Pride and Prejudice


Cycle 3

Pride and Prejudice

Year 11


Cycle 1

 Pride and Prejudice - timed writing focus
  AQA English Language Paper 1 
 ‘Telling Tales’ AQA anthology of short stories review 
  AQA Love and Relationships poetry


Cycle 2

  AQA English Language Paper 2 
  AQA Love and Relationships poetry 
  Unseen poetry
  Romeo and Juliet timed writing focus


Cycle 3

  English Language - Q4 and Q5 consolidation (both papers)
  Rotation of texts: consolidation of core knowledge, focus and timed    writing skills.
  Pride and Prejudice review 
  Focused revision

Lower Years Assessment Framework

To view the Lower Years Assessment Framework for English Language, please click here
To view the Lower Years Assessment Framework for English Literature, please click here

Middle Years Exam and Specification Information 

The students follow the AQA GCSE Language and Literature specification.  Year 9 is a transition year in which students develop GCSE level skills across a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. In Y10 and Y11 the core Literature texts studied are Romeo and Juliet, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and a short story and poetry and anthology collated by AQA. A range of non-fiction texts from 19th century to the present day are studied in preparation for the Language exams in both Y10 and Y11. 

Full details of the specification and assessment criteria can be found on the AQA website GCSE English Language Specification and GCSE English Literature Specification

Extra-curricular activities 

There are a range of extra- curricular opportunities such as the English Department magazine ‘The Blurb’ and several book groups that provide a forum for girls to share their love of reading. A yearly competition ‘Poetry by Heart’ and the Carnegie book awards provide further enrichment for lower year students. There are also assemblies to celebrate World Book Day and links with Plymouth University for students studying English Literature at A level.