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The Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School

The Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School


"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body- so get ready for a good workout in the English Department."

"Learning gives creativity, creativity leads to thinking and thinking provides knowledge, which makes you a better person."

Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9)

At Key Stage 3 students study a variety of plays, novels and poetry. There is a Shakespeare module in each year, which helps to prepare students for Shakespeare at KEY STAGE 4 (YEARS 10 AND 11). In the final term all students complete and participate in public speaking activities which culminates in a debating tournament in Year 9.

Year 7 and Year 8 are assessed using National Curriculum Levels, however in Year 9 students complete GCSE work and they are assessed with GCSE grades and criteria.

Reading is a key focus at Key Stage 3. All students read for ten minutes at the start of each lesson and reading lessons occur regularly.

Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11)

The Government have introduced some huge changes to the English curriculum affecting students who begin Year 10 in September 2015 and onwards. Because of this we are running two programmes of study in Key Stage 4 English this year:

Year 11

Students in sets 1 and 2 usually sit both English and English Literature at GCSE. Students in the other sets sit English only, allowing them to concentrate on earning as high a grade as possible in this important subject.
Candidates are prepared for the AQA specification for GCSE, both for English and English Literature. If you would like to see the entire Specification, go to English, For AQA GCSE English A. Candidates are assessed via the following:

  •  Unit 1 Exam (60% weighting sections A and B)
  •  Unit 2 Speaking and Listening (0% weighting)
  •  Unit 3 Controlled assessments (40% weighting)

Throughout the year a variety of exciting teaching methods are used to encourage independent learning. Students work mainly on their controlled assessments in Year 10 and the work is exam focused in Year 11.

Year 10

All students from September 2015 onwards will complete both an English Literature and an English Language GCSE.  At the end of the two year course they will sit the exams and be awarded a Grade 1 – 9 (with 9 being the highest) rather than the traditional A*-G grade that has been awarded in the past. You can find more information on the new GCSE grading system on

The students will follow the AQA GCSE English Language specification (course code 8700) alongside the AQA GCSE English Literature Specification (course code 8702). You can look at details of both these specifications on

The set texts the students will be reading are:

  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare

The content of the courses will include explorations in creative reading and writing and understanding writers’ viewpoints and perspectives which are all assessed by exams at the end of Year 11, as well as a non-exam speaking and listening element which is teacher assessed throughout Key Stage 4.

In Year 10 the students will study A Christmas Carol, a selection of Romantic, Victorian and 20th/21st Century poets, how to write about an unseen poem, creative writing and Animal Farm.  Inter-woven in the schemes of work for all these elements is skills and knowledge to prepare the students for both their English Language and English Literature GCSE exams.

Success and Achievements

In the English department 91% of students received A*-C last year (2012), despite the media controversy over English underperforming nationally. In addition an impressive 100% of Literature students acheived A*-C. Our A'Level results are also very impressive, please look on the school website for more details.The English department organises various activities for all years that happen outside lessons, such as: Visits Poetry Live, theatre trips. The English department aim to find productions which are running in concurrence with texts studied to give pupils a wider appreciation of the nature of interpretation. Other activities include: The Debating Club, revision lessons for year 11/12/13 in preparation for their examinations, KEY STAGE 3 (YEARS 7, 8 AND 9) booster lessons, The Student Newsboard, Year 7 book club, Upper School Book Club and Debate Mate.