Head of Faculty

Miss R White  – rwhite@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Deputy Head of Faculty

Mr J Cassidy – jcassidy@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Assistant Head of Faculty

Miss N Johnson – njohnson@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Miss J Kirtland – jkirtland@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Teaching Staff

Miss L Linley – llinley@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Mrs M Matchett – mmatchett@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Mrs A Barker – abarker@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Mr B Golding – bgolding@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Miss N Thornton-Margetts – NThornton-Margetts@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Miss E Stedman – estedman@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Mr A James – ajames@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Mr C Cottingham – ccottingham@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Mr A Reed – areed@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Mrs B Montague – bmontague@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Mr S Thurley – sthurley@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King

Subject Overview

The English curriculum at Oriel High School is designed to stretch our pupils as both readers and writer, encouraging them to think critically about the texts we study and their place in the world.

Accelerated Reader (AR)

We know that students who are secure readers are more likely to be successful, not only in their exams but also in their lives.  For this reason, we invest in the Accelerated Reader programme for all Year 7 and Year 8 students. Accelerated Reader helps students identify books that are at an appropriate level of challenge for them, ensuring that they are continually progressing with their reading skills.

Termly prizes will be awarded for students with the highest word count and who meet or excel their reading targets.

For access to the Accelerated Reader website please click here

Bedrock Learning

The average reading age required to access the new GCSE papers has increased dramatically making it essential that students have as wide a vocabulary as possible.  To help students develop their vocabulary skills we have invested in Bedrock Learning, an online vocabulary building programme. All students at KS3 and KS4 are expected to complete at least two lessons of Bedrock Learning per week as part of their regular homework.

Students will be expected to record the new words they have learnt as a result of the lessons completed and will be guided to use these words in their critical and creative writing.

Progress across Bedrock can be monitored by both parents and students.


In the English Department, we are committed to ensuring that students have a rich and varied experience of English.  As a result, we ensure that students in Year 7 are given two free books per year – the Oriel Big Read book and another through the Book Buzz programme.

We also have regular author visits and theatre visits as part of the school calendar.

Writing clubs and competitions are also available for students to participate in.

Supporting your Child

You can support your child in many different ways with regards to helping them make significant progress in English.

One of the most crucial ways is encouraging your child to read regularly, ideally twenty minutes a day. While studies have shown that reading fiction texts does have the most impact in terms of students’ outcomes and progression, any reading at an appropriate level of challenge is worthwhile.  This could include an article that you and your child read together and discuss, preferably from a source that may use vocabulary or idioms that your child is unfamiliar with.

Your child has access to a range of resources such as SAMLearning, Bedrock Learning, Pixl Independence etc. that they can use to support their revision. Please encourage them to use these regularly to consolidate their studies.

In order to support parents of KS4 students, we have invested in Audiopi, a series of podcasts about the key Literature texts that you can your child can listen to together and discuss.  Please ask your child for the login details. Throughout their studies, we will be supporting students by teaching them different revision methods.  One way you can help is by asking your child to explain and ‘teach’ you about what they are currently studying.  While we appreciate that this is not always easy, studies have shown that even attempting to recall information can help develop a student’s memory.

Key Stage 3

At Oriel, we have a three year KS3 curriculum, allowing students to read a wide range of texts and hone their skills before moving onto their GCSEs.  Everything we do in English is designed to boost students’ ability to access, understand and explore a complex range of engaging texts and writing styles.  Each year group studies a range of prose, drama and poetry as well as producing their own pieces of writing in different forms and genres.

Below is an outline of the overview for KS3 with some of the texts we study.  Text choice is completely down to the teacher, who will choose the text based on their knowledge and understanding of the class they are teaching.

Year 7The Big Read

2017: The Young Samurai
2018: River of Ink
2019: The Territory
2020: Malamander
2021: Frostheart
2022: My Friend the Octopus
19th Century Fiction

A Christmas Carol
Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime
Gulliver’s Travels
The War of the Worlds
The Time Machine
Narrative and Genre

Students study a specific genre and produce carefully crafted Flash Fiction pieces.

Students will study a range of poems from across the ages with the theme of Place.

Night’s Dream
The Tempest
Much Ado About Nothing
Myths and Legends

Students will study a range of myths and legends from around the world.
Year 8Modern Novel

Northern Lights
Skulduggery Pleasant
Wolf by Wolf
Refugee Boy
Ghost Stories

Students study a range of 19th Century ghost stories, examining the genre and considering the way writers craft their narratives for effect.

Students will study a range of poems from across the ages with the theme of Conflict. This unit incorporates the study of poetry from World War 1.
Modern Drama

key texts including:
To Kill A Mockingbird
Noughts and Crosses
Writing with Purpose

Students explore a range of non-fiction forms, crafting texts to meet the needs of a range of audiences and purposes.
Year 9Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet



Richard III
Media and Representation

Students will closely study two media texts exploring ideas about how teenagers are represented in film.
World Literature

Depending on the length of the chosen text, students will study one or two of the following:

All My Sons
A View from the Bridge
A Doll’s House
Catcher in the Rye
The Outsiders
Wider Reading

Animal Farm
Lord of the Flies
The Illustrated Man
The Woman in Black

Students will study a range of poems from across the ages with the theme of identity.

KS3 Assessment and Non-Negotiables

Students are regularly assessed in English through general book marking and more formal assessment marking.  Formal assessments are undertaken three times a year, assessing many key skills needed to be successful in English.

If you would like to read a more detailed explanation of the assessments and how you can support your child, please read the following document:

At Oriel, we work very closely with our feeder schools and one of the areas we have been most concerned by is the lack of technical accuracy in students’ work.  The primary schools all have a series of ‘non-negotiables’ – the minimum expectations in terms of work produced by students.  This is something we are now also using.

The non-negotiables are:

  • Capital letters used for the start of sentences, proper nouns and the word I
  • Full stops, question marks or exclamation marks used at the end of every sentence
  • A new paragraph for a change of time, place, topic or person
  • Apostrophes to show omitted letters or possession
  • Commas used to separate items in a list
  • Speech marks used to clearly demarcated speech if used in writing
  • Consistent tenses
  • Clear, legible work that shows care in terms of presentation

Students will also be provided with a reference guide to common spelling errors to encourage them to proof-read before they submit work. These included using the correct version of there/their, you’re/your etc.

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4, all students study both GCSE English Literature and GCSE English Language.  Students will be studying the Edexcel specification which can be found here:



These websites also contain example essays with examiner feedback and past papers, which many students find useful.

In order to prepare for their GCSEs, students will study a wide range of texts and hone their analytical and evaluative writing skills, producing strong, academic essays.

We will also be working with students to develop a wide range of revision techniques to support their studies.

In Year 10, students will be studying ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J.B. Priestley and ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson.  They will also be studying the Conflict cluster of poetry from the Edexcel anthology as well as preparing for their GCSE English Language paper.

In Year 11, students will be studying ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare as well as preparing for their Unseen Poetry exam.  As well as these units, students will revisit the texts studied in Year 10 and will continue to develop their skills for GCSE English Language.


As well as traditionally set homework, students will be expected to work independently to consolidate their own learning on a regular basis, accessing the various revision sources available to them.

Revision Resources

Please note that the login details for these sites can be found on the wall in English opposite the water fountain.

www.audiopi.co.uk – a series of podcasts about the Literature texts we are studying

www.digitaltheatreplus.com – recorded versions of plays that may help students to understand and interpret the texts they are studying

https://students.pixl.org.uk – access to a range of guided revision activities to support students in all aspects of their English GCSE

Students could also look at revision materials on sites such as You Tube (the Mary Meredith Poetry videos are very useful), BBC Bitesize and Sparknotes.

Key Stage 5

At Key Stage 5, we offer both A-Level English Literature and A-Level English Language.  Students will study the Edexcel specification for both subjects. These specifications can be found here:



For A-Level English Language, students will be have ten lessons of study shared between two teachers and will study topics such as Change, Gender and Power as well as producing a range of original writing pieces.  

The current plan of study is outlined below:

Term 1Term 2Term 3
Year 12Language Identity:

Students will explore how factors such as gender, age, race and class can affect language use as well as examining how speakers and writers manipulate language to present certain aspects of their identity.
Language Variation over Time:

Students will study the development of English and explore the lexical, grammatical and cultural shifts in language from 1500s to the present day.
Preparation and production of coursework
Year 13Child Language Acquisition:

Students will study how children acquire the ability to speak, read and write.
Language Investigation:

In January of Year 13, students will be given a set of pre-release materials and will conduct their own language investigations.
Revision and exams

For A-Level English Literature, students will have ten lessons of study split between three teachers.  Each teacher will take responsibility for a different exam paper: Prose, Drama or Poetry.

As well as studying for these exams, students will also undertake a series of wider reading lessons guided by their teachers.  These lessons are not only designed to support them in terms of developing their critical reading skills in preparation for further education but will also help prepare them for their coursework.

Texts from the wider reading list have included:

‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy

‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald

‘The Island of Dr Moreau’ by H.G. Wells

‘Ethan Frome’ by Edith Wharton

‘The Bloody Chamber’ by Angela Carter

For A-Level Literature, teachers will rotate their teaching so that students are studying two exam texts and one wider reading text per term or half term, depending on the length of the text being studied.

If any student has any questions about studying English at A-Level, please ask them to come and speak to Miss White, who will give them more information.