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The Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School

A Church of England School

English is a core subject due to its importance in modern-day life and, in terms of education, is the conduit through which pupils succeed in accessing other subject areas. Our mission is to allow pupils to enjoy exploring our language through a wide range of stimulating sources; to grow and develop in their use of the written and spoken word, and become confident to express themselves fluently. Students learn how to work collaboratively, express their views effectively, and develop the quality of their written communication. In addition to this, there is a strong emphasis on improving oracy; individual presentations, group discussions, and dramatic performances are delivered to an audience in order to build, develop and inspire confidence. A love of reading is a priority we foster and model with students across the department and promote in the wider curriculum. We have strong links with the HLTA for Reading/ Literacy and an established ARP scheme in place throughout KS3. Reading high quality fiction is modelled, recommended and encouraged through the KS4 PoS too. A solid understanding of the world of media – i.e. advertising, blogs, reviews, etc – is also embedded into the English curriculum.  

The study of English Literature increases students’ appreciation and awareness of cultural heritage and development of contextual changes over time. Various texts are studied addressing issues such as gender dynamics, racial attitudes, and social responsibilities. The course includes a variety of genres of literature and involves the exploration of plays, novels, short stories, and poetry. Analytical skills are significantly developed through consolidation, retrieval and recap skills which are honed from early in KS3 (e.g. Beowulf) to exploring more challenging texts at KS4 (e.g. Macbeth). We immerse students in a rich and broad exploration of ‘cultural capital’, making cross-curricular links where required, in order to strengthen understanding. We model that the discipline of close reading and sustained analysis form a strong foundation for many career paths and life opportunities beyond the classroom. 


Department Vision

To make our subject engaging, relevant and accessible for all students, including students who are outside the school’s ‘typical’ demographic.

To enable our students to access skills beyond the curriculum including:


  • Develop empathy (writing ‘in character’ across the SoWs, using contextual sources to empathise with societal demands/expectations, social class ramifications, etc.)
  • Consider important social influences on contentious topics. Being prepared to accept opinions other than one’s own. (e.g. Animal Project Year 8 – concepts of farming, vivisection, vegetarianism, etc. Social/political divide in Liverpool 1980s – ‘Blood Brothers’.)
  • Rising to challenge, thirst and desire to achieve; holding to a deadline because improvement and feedback are valued.
  • Resilience to learn to plan and craft a piece of work – making a first ‘draft’ shine (relevant to GCSE Language Q5).
  • Foster a love of reading – ARP – library lessons, quizzes, prizes, rewards. Teachers to model a love of reading; book recommendations from teachers and students in classes, quality and diverse reading lists, Library stocked with full range of fiction / non-fiction choices.
  • Promoting literacy across the whole curriculum: word walls, building richer working vocabularies, especially in Tier 2 (high frequency in written text) and Tier 3 (subject specific / academic language), making cross-curricular links, e.g. ‘conduit’, ‘catalyst’, ‘veneer’.
  • Developing independent learners – ‘learning to learn’ time in Form periods, mind-mapping, schema development, dual-coding.
  • Experience and consider a range of cultures across time – Year 7 Cultural poetry, Year 9 Travel writing, Year 9 OMAM, Year 10 Blood Brothers, The Sign of Four, Macbeth, Poetry)
  • Resilience – building appropriate levels of challenge in every lesson (through ‘stretch and challenge tasks in SoW (on SMART boards) questioning, tiered tasks, Chilli Challenge boards, recommended 16+ readers, links to A level).
  • Have fun in English. Create multi-sensory experiences (e.g. insects in Y7 Island project, Y10 ‘Blood Brothers’ sampling Mrs J’s ‘dream treats’, Y11 recreating the banquet scene ‘Macbeth’)
  • Link to other subjects, e.g. Y10 ‘Blood Brothers’ and Drama, Y11 Macbeth and Drama/Tech set design, Y9 War poetry and History, Y8 ‘Animal project’ and Science/ethics, Y7 geography – flora and fauna, topography, climates linked to ‘Island Project’.