Cardinal Heenan

Cardinal Heenan

Catholic High School


English Courses

Curriculum Leader: Miss H McMinn

English Department Curriculum Intent

“Stories are wild creatures…When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?” A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

In the English department, we want students to read as writers, and write as readers.

Literature and the study of English is a fundamental way of understanding human nature and the society of a particular time and place. We seek to delve into that rich history of English Language and literature and let students make connections that help them explore, critique and analyse the human experience. Narrative is omnipresent, its various guises are given meaning and shape by the reader. The reader needs knowledge to bring this meaning to the texts they read. We believe that narratives are given shape by the reader.

The writer is a master of their craft, and understanding the writer’s intention is central to this. We will study the concepts behind creating a text in order to learn from the texts themselves. We choose the texts we read and write, carefully, thinking about their readability, influence, quality and endurance.  With our help, students can learn how to pull apart language, uncover and create hidden and multiple meanings, track and explore structure and draw their own comparisons to other texts and ideas.

Students at Cardinal Heenan will develop their own voice whereby they bring their own meaning to texts, both modern, and those that have stood the test of time.  We want our students to confidently express opinions on texts, contexts and concepts within the study of English. We believe that, as human beings, we are ‘hard wired’ for stories, and at Cardinal Heenan we want to reflect this in our curriculum.

Our English curriculum is a ‘narrative over time’, where we seek to build knowledge of what is being told alongside how it is told.

All pupils at Cardinal Heenan will follow courses leading to GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature (two separate qualifications). The English Department will equip students with the ability to write accurately, fluently and at length both for pleasure and critically. Students will develop a love for reading; actively drawing on new vocabulary and sentence constructions and using these consciously in their own writing to achieve deliberate effects. Students will enter their terminal exams with confidence, equipped with strategies to overcome their weaknesses and excel in their strengths. The Literature course offers transferable skills with the Language course.

English Language GCSE

Course Level: GCSE Exam Board: AQA Course Code: 8700

This course enables students of all abilities to develop the skills they need to read, understand and analyse a wide range of different texts covering the 19th, 20th and 21st century time periods as well as to write clearly, coherently and accurately using a range of vocabulary and sentence structures.

What the course covers

Students will draw upon a range of texts as reading stimulus and engage with creative as well as real and relevant contexts. Students will have opportunities to develop higher-order reading and critical thinking skills that encourage genuine enquiry into different topics and themes. This specification ensures that students can read fluently and write effectively. Students will be able to demonstrate a confident control of Standard English and write grammatically correct sentences, deploying figurative language and analysing texts. For GCSE English Language students will:

• read fluently, and with good understanding, a wide range of texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including literature and literary non-fiction as well as other writing such as reviews and journalism
• read and evaluate texts critically and make comparisons between texts
• summarise and synthesise information or ideas from texts
• use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing
• write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately
• use grammar correctly and punctuate and spell accurately
• acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology, and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
• listen to and understand spoken language and use spoken Standard English effectively.

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing (fiction paper)
The source for the reading questions will be a literature
fiction text. It will be drawn from either the 20th or 21st
century. Its genre will be prose fiction. It will include
extracts from novels and short stories.

Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives (nonfiction paper)
The sources for the reading questions will be non-fiction and literary non-fiction texts. They will be drawn from the 19th century, and either the 20th or 21st century. The choice of genre will include high quality journalism, articles, reports, essays, travel writing, accounts, sketches, letters, diaries, autobiography and biographical passages.

Non – examination Assessment: Spoken Language
Students present information and ideas, selecting information and preparing a speech on their chosen topic. They then respond to questions asked by the audience.

Two externally marked exams
Paper 1: 1 hour 45 minutes 50% of GCSE
Paper 2: 1 hour 45 minutes 50% of GCSE

Where the course can lead
GCSE English Language provides students with a solid grounding, whether going on to Further Education, Higher Education or the workplace. It can lead to A level in English Language, careers in Journalism and it is essential for a number of subjects at A level.

English Literature GCSE

Course Level: GCSE Exam Board: AQA Course code: 8702

What the course covers

Students read and analyse a broad range of modern and classic texts from throughout the ages. They will study an Anthology of poetry; a play by William Shakespeare; a modern text and 19th Century Literature throughout the course.

Paper 1 Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel:

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Paper 2 Modern Texts and Poetry:

An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestley Love and Relationship Poetry, An Anthology Unseen poetry.


Two externally marked, closed book exams.

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-Century Novel

Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes 40% of GCSE
• Section A: Shakespeare
Students will answer one question on one play chosen by the teacher.

• Section B: The 19th Century Novel

Students will answer one question on one novel chosen by the teacher (e.g. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, Pride and Prejudice or The Sign of Four).

Paper 2: Modern Texts and Poetry

Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes 96 marks
• Section A: Modern Texts
Students will answer one question (from a choice of two) on their studied modern prose or drama text, chosen by teacher.
• Section B: Poetry
Students will answer one comparative question on one
named poem printed on the paper and one question
on another poem chosen from their chosen anthology
• Section C: Unseen Poetry
Students will answer one question on one unseen
poem and one question comparing this poem with a
second unseen poem.
Where the course can lead
A level in English Literature, university degrees, careers in