Staff Contact Details

Miss L Evans (Head of Faculty)

Mr M Burch (Assistant Head of Faculty)

Ms Maria Chenzaie (Assistant Head of Faculty)

Ms Joanne Forrest-Smith

Mrs J Jandu

Mei Kamuka

Ms J Rockall (Headteacher)

Mrs S Sahi

Daniel Lambert

Department Overview

English at Herschel Grammar

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”

F Scott Fitzgerald

At Herschel Grammar, English is taught by enthusiastic teachers who encourage students to develop a passion for creativity and to think critically. The English department prides itself in supporting students in both a creative and purposeful environment where they feel confident to express their views and ideas, and to challenge themselves. Our team of English teachers enjoy expressing their own love of reading, literature and of the power of words. We hope, in turn that our students recognise the power of language to describe, persuade, inspire and to challenge.

At Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, our aim is for our pupils to enjoy and appreciate the subject, whilst enabling all to communicate their ideas successfully and to the best of their ability. Students study a diverse range of literature from the contemporary such as, ‘Ghost Boys’ by Jewell Parker Rhodes to classics such as ‘Dracula’ and ‘A Christmas Carol.’ We hope that our pupils become lifelong learners, acquiring a proficiency and enthusiasm for reading, and becoming fluent writers, in order to facilitate their success academically and beyond.

Our curriculum provides opportunities for diverse writing contexts, both fictional and non-fictional, inspired by contemporary and world issues. Discussion is a key element of most English lessons. We focus on subject specific terminology as well as formal and ambitious vocabulary. Our intention is to support students in becoming confident communicators both in written language and in spoken contexts. We encourage our pupils to think critically thereby enabling them to participate more effectively in society. We want them to respond to, and challenge what they hear and read. In doing so, we hope that they will form their own opinions and be able to reflect upon both the written and spoken word.

At Key Stage 5, English Literature is an exciting course, covering novels, poetry and plays from different time periods and cultures. English Literature at A level is comprised of two exam papers.  On each there are not only the standard Assessment Objectives that appear at GCSE, that is A01, 02 03 and 04 that students should already be familiar with, but also A05. Each A0 can be the focus of further independent work, however A03 and A05 especially so. 

Taking each in turn:

A01 – Essay structure, fluency and grammar   

A02 – Analysis; this is a major component at GCSE and so should be familiar to students. It focuses upon the techniques that writers commonly use and narrative structures.

A03 – Context – its influence on what is written and how it is received; This entails dealing with texts produced in different times and the influences each author may have encountered.  Exploring this further independently enables a student to not only understand the text better but also to access the higher grades. 

A04 – Comparing texts; the structure of a comparative essay differs from one that is not comparative in order to optimise results.

A05 – Critical Interpretation & Appreciation; this is likely to be new. Students are now expected to read what literary critics have said of the texts that they are studying and include some of such comment in their essay and either support or attack it with evidence taken from the text.  While some of such critical material will be explored in class, the student that wishes to access the top grades does some independent research into critic’s views and brings this to class to inform their opinion, thus improving their understanding of the text and their essay responses.   

Useful Links and Extra curricular.

We offer a plethora of enrichment activities, such as reading clubs, Carnegie Book Shadowing, film clubs and ‘The Herschel Bubble’ (Our recently launched student-led magazine). We aim to enhance students’ individual passions as well as stretch and challenge them with activities  such as the ‘Orwell Youth Prize Writing Workshop’, ‘National Reading Champions Quiz’ and Readathon. We provide multiple opportunities for pupils to participate in theatre trips and these include all year groups. Within school, events such as the Readathon are held annually and Literary events such as ‘World Book Day’ are celebrated with in school focus. ‘National Poetry Day’ is marked with a House competition of a poetry slam which proves to be very popular amongst all year groups with both staff and students taking part.

KS3 Bitesize: English

GCSE Bitesize: English and English Literature

GCSE English, English Literature and Media Studies

A-Level English, English Literature and Media Studies

Sparknotes - No Fear Shakespeare

Guardian Quick Crosswords

Enrichment Strategies


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