English at The Academy at Shotton Hall is an immersive experience, exposing students to classics such as Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ to the more modern ‘I am Malala’.

English at Shotton Hall is an immersive experience, exposing students to classics such as Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’, to the more modern works of Willy Russell’s ‘Blood Brothers’’ and the poetry of Maya Angelou.

Students will journey through the literary canon, beginning in Medieval England with Beowulf and Geoffrey Chaucer before travelling on to meet William Shakespeare’s ‘star-cross’d lovers’ Romeo and Juliet. Pupils can meet brooding Romantic heroes like Wordsworth, Byron and Blake before arriving in the Victorian period with Brontë, Dickens and Stephenson’s terrifying duo ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.’ The journey concludes in the modern era where they explore 1930s America and the unlikely friendship of George and Lennie in Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’, followed by the social inequality of Edwardian England with Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’, as well as a range of poetry from diverse and exciting voices.

Students study a rich and challenging curriculum. From engaging with ideas from a wide variety of texts to opportunities for self-expression and creativity in both spoken and written contexts, studying English at Shotton Hall nurtures self-expression and reflective thought. Throughout the key stages, students will encounter a range of literary genres and forms, ranging from Jacobean drama and courtly love poetry to a whole host of non-fiction diaries, essays, letters and autobiographies. We take a cross-curricular approach, encouraging students to think about the social, political and historical context alongside developing their own voice. As well as following the curriculum, students will be encouraged to read for pleasure, experiencing a diverse range of literature as a platform for exploring new ideas, developing critical thinking skills and learning more about the world around them. Students will be inspired by great thinkers such as activist Martin Luther King, environmentalist Greta Thunberg and suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

Our ‘Keys to Success’ literacy programme ensures students learn the fundamental skills to help them progress not only in English but across the whole curriculum. Students enjoy English because it is varied, fast-paced and fun. Every student is inspired to believe in their potential and to aim high. They acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language. Throughout their academic career here, students develop the ability to write accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We endeavour to ensure all students become competent orators, including: making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate. 

Amiee Coxon, Year 8:

“I really enjoy English because it's an exciting, fun lesson where you read excellent books. I thoroughly enjoy writing about the books, and the work is always enjoyable and often calming. A lot of people, like me, are thrilled when they see they have English because it's such a fantastic subject.”

Emily Monk, Year 11:

“I love English because it helps me see the world from a fresh perspective and understand the people and world around me much better.”

It’s not only English lessons that are exciting at the academy: English teachers also fully immerse themselves in a range of English and Literacy-themed events throughout the year, from celebrating Shakespeare’s Birthday in April to performing their very own version of ‘An Inspector Calls’ on stage for our Key Stage 4 students. The culmination of this is our Reading Rocks week, which coincides with World Book Day. This week entails a host of extra-curricular activities from flash mob reading and Future Illustrator competitions to the never-ending story and a Masked Reader Challenge! Alongside this, staff from all departments pull out all the stops to come to school dressed as their favourite literary characters.

The Key Stage 3 Spelling Bee is another highlight of the year: students compete in Septs to spell as many complicated words as they can for a coveted trophy. During ‘Everybody Writes Day’, Year 7 students have the chance to write a speech and perform it to the rest of their year group in the hall. Our school newspaper ‘Spotlight’ is published every term, and all students have the opportunity to submit articles and see their name in print.

The English department hosts many extra-curricular clubs including Debate Club, where students discuss the issues of the day and hone their arguing skills and Reading Club, which allows students to come together to discuss their favourite books, both of which are very popular with our students.






  • Introduction to the Canon – a timeline of British literary heritage.
  • Moments that Changed the World – developing speech writing skills through the study of key historical events of the twentieth century.
  • Gory Gothic Writing – Fiction writing inspired by Victorian Literature
  • Much Ado About Nothing – Shakespeare’s funniest play and feistiest heroine
  • Individual Voices Poetry – explore a range of poems from the Romantic era to the modern day
  • Victorian Britain – Delve into what life was like for the Victorians using non-fiction sources


  • Fear Factor – learn to write like a scientist, journalist or historian while discovering your deepest fears
  • Blood Brothers – travel back to 20th century Liverpool for Willy Russell’s tragic family saga
  • Romeo and Juliet – meet the most famous couple in literature
  • Of Mice and Men – appreciate the heart-warming friendship of George and Lennie in 1930s America
  • How Dare the Sun Rise – see through the eyes of a child in a warzone who builds a new life
  • Adventures Around the World – be inspired to write by literature from around the world


  • Animal Farm – George Orwell’s political allegory is a 20th century British classic
  • Diverse Voices – listen to the voices of contemporary poets and write your own dramatic monologue
  • Viewpoints – explore a range of non-fiction and
  • All the World’s a Stage – discover the joys of performance with The Importance of Being Earnest, Educating Rita and A Taste of Honey
  • Tragedy – meet the Greek chorus, tragic heroes, and explore the conventions of this epic genre
  • Say it Out Loud – embrace your inner orator by performing a passionate speech


  • Explorations in Creative Reading – experience the breadth and beauty of 20th century fiction
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – R.L. Stevenson’s tale of dual identity and hidden evil
  • Macbeth – visit medieval Scotland and the terrifying reign of Macbeth
  • Writers’ Viewpoints and perspectives – compare and contrast the great thinkers of the Victorian era with modern journalism
  • Writing Masterclass – hone your writers’ craft and perfect your voice
  • Power and Conflict Poetry – read poetry across time and genre and explore the perennial questions


  • Macbeth revision
  • Power and Conflict and Unseen Poetry Revision
  • Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing  Revision
  • An Inspector Calls – J.B. Priestley’s moral social polemic explores the vices of the Edwardian era
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde revision
  • Non-fiction writing revision
  • Writers’ Viewpoints and perspectives revision