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St Francis Xavier



The purpose of the English curriculum at St Francis Xavier School is to equip all students with the literacy skills they will require in their future lives, whilst building a curiosity and passion around Literature and the English Language.

Their literacy skills (reading, writing and oral) will be enhanced through a programme of skills development which regularly interleaves prior ability with new challenges and contexts.

The Key Stage 3 curriculum will provide structured and progressive preparation for GCSE Language, Literature and Media Studies, in terms of writing and analytical skills, relevant background knowledge and assessment methodology.

Our curriculum will introduce students to a wide range of writers and poets from our rich British cultural heritage (Shakespeare, Dickens, Conan-Doyle, Shelley, Blake, Tennyson amongst others), whilst also giving students opportunities to sample great modern and multi-cultural writing across a range of genre. Students’ cultural literacy will also be developed by regular exploration of, and references to, numerous examples from art, film and music. They will gain an understanding of both the historical and cultural contexts of the texts they explore.

In light of our religious ethos, our curriculum will give students many opportunities to examine how writers explore and communicate their faith. It will also encourage students to explore moral and ethical issues through the non-fiction and literature texts they study.

The overarching ambition for all students at SFX is that, when they finish their study of English, they will love and appreciate the richness of the English language, and that they will have the confidence, creativity and resilience to express themselves through this medium.

Recommended Reading List for key stage 3 & 4 

Curriculum Team

Jodie Martin - Curriculum Leader
Angela Fawcett – Head of Year 7 and English Teacher
Helena Langford – Subject lead in Media Studies and English Teacher
Claire Smith – Subject Lead in Drama and English Teacher
Pete Jackson – Assistant Head
Helen Holyome – RE and English Teacher

Key stage 3 topics

Year 7:

Students are taught 7 lessons per fortnight.

Gothic Literature; Descriptive writing; The Tempest; Literature and Language Skills through Whole Text Study; Poetry of Other Cultures; Travel Writing

Students also have one lesson per fortnight dedicated to ‘Free Writing’ – Creative writing and development of writing skills.

Year 8:

Students are taught 6 lessons per fortnight.

Macbeth; Literary Villains; Sherlock Holmes Past and Present; Non-Fiction Texts – Writer’s Viewpoint; Writing and Delivering an Argument Speech; Literary Heritage Poetry; Writing an Article: Unusual Sports.

Year 9:

Students are taught 7 lessons per fortnight.

Dystopian Literature; Descriptive Writing; World War One Poetry; Literature Study (Whole text); Poetic Devices; GCSE Transition Unit – ‘Bugs’

Students also have one lesson per fortnight dedicated to ‘Free Writing’ – Creative writing and development of writing skills.

 Key stage 4 topics

Students are taught 8 lessons per fortnight. GCSE Language and Literature are taught by the same teacher within the same lessons/curriculum.

GCSE Language Skills:

Reading: Comprehension and Inference; Writer’s Viewpoint; Selecting precise evidence; Comparing and summarising; Analysis of Writers’ Techniques; Evaluating texts.

Writing: Writing texts appropriate to audience, purpose and style; Using language and structure to create effects; Using ambitious language and sentence structures; Whole text structures for clarity and effect; Punctuation and sentence structures; Spelling

GCSE Literature Texts/Topics:

‘Romeo and Juliet’; ‘A Christmas Carol’; Anthology of Power and Conflict Poetry; Modern Text (such as ‘Blood Brothers’, ‘Animal Farm’, ‘An Inspector Calls’) selected by class teacher; Analysis and Comparison of Unseen Poetry.

GCSE assessment:

Students have 2 examinations in GCSE Language, and 2 in GCSE Literature. Both courses are 100% Examination.

Students will also complete an individual formal spoken presentation, which will stand separately as a Spoken Language Endorsement

Wider curriculum

In addition to the timetabled lessons the English, Media and Drama department enhances the curriculum through a number of clubs and activities:

Debating Society
Film Club
Drama Club (which prepares various performances, including large-scale productions)
We participate in national competitions, such as 500 Words, Poetry By Heart and Creative Writing competitions. 
We run various events within school to encourage a love of reading, such as Year 7 Readathon and World Book Day events.