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.

English book open with page like a love heart

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.

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. 

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Our curriculum






  • 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 and Oliver Twist – Explore the twisting alleyways of Victorian London through the words of the those that walked upon them, including the great British writer, Charles Dickens.


  • It's a Man's World - NF Writing
  • 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
  • Adventures Around the World – be inspired to write by literature from around the world


  • Of Mice and Men – appreciate the heart-warming friendship of George and Lennie in 1930s America
  • Hope in a Ballet Shoe: Orphaned by war, saved by ballet. Discover the extraordinary true story of Michaela DePrince’s escape from Sierra Leone to the Boston ballet.


  • Animal Farm – George Orwell’s political allegory is a 20th century British classic
  • Short Stories – develop your narrative writing skills as you learn how to produce your own short story.
  • Diverse Voices – listen to the voices of contemporary poets and write your own dramatic monologue
  • Tragedy – meet the Greek chorus, tragic heroes, and explore the conventions of this epic genre
  • A Search for Truth – Deepen your knowledge of Non-Fiction Writing as you delve into the controversial world of investigative journalism
  • Say it Out Loud – embrace your inner orator by performing a passionate speech


  • Macbeth – visit medieval Scotland and the terrifying reign of Macbeth
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – R.L. Stevenson’s tale of dual identity and hidden evil
  • Explorations in Creative Reading – experience the breadth and beauty of 20th century fiction
  • An Inspector Calls - Evaluate Priestley's post-war political ideas 
  • Writers’ Viewpoints and perspectives – compare and contrast the great thinkers of the Victorian era with modern journalism
  • Power and Conflict Poetry – read poetry across time and genre and explore the perennial questions


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


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
Year 8 student
I love English because it helps me see the world from a fresh perspective and understand the people and world around me much better
Year 11 student