NRC Secondary – English

Key Stage 3

About the Course

We here at Elthorne/Lough Road aim to create a nurturing, yet challenging environment for young people to learn, take risks and make progress. The English Department’s role is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word. In addition, we aim to make reading and writing a fun and relevant experience with opportunities to respond and write about familiar, age appropriate KS3 texts, as well as broaden young people’s knowledge and understanding about wider issues through less familiar, more challenging texts.

We provide support for all, as well as stretch and challenge through our personalised learning approach, so students are ready for reintegration into their next setting. All classes are mixed ability and mixed year groups at KS3.

What will students learn?


  • Reading for pleasure
  • Reading using reciprocal reading techniques that help with comprehension skills
  • Read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction: contemporary, global and from our rich British heritage.
  • Build the key reading skills of scanning/skimming/selecting and commenting on text
  • Feel confident about writing responses to texts that include deduction, analysis and evaluation

Reading is at the heart of our department and all students have one dedicated reading lesson a week.


  • Write clearly, accurately and in a range of forms
  • Be creative and explore story writing and description
  • Consistent leaning of spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • Developing editing and proof reading skills
  • Personalised language targets

Speaking and listening

  • Use discussion to share ideas and practise listening skills
  • Engage in drama activities to explore texts and ideas
  • Learn the art of formal presentation

Access our Curriculum Map for KS3 here……

Additional Support

Students can also participate in independent learning tasks to develop their knowledge and skills further. Students will use the Lexia reading programme at least once a week to develop their reading skills, alongside reciprocal reading lessons, independent reading and one-to-one reading sessions. We also encourage students to develop their vocabulary using ‘Word Aware’ strategies.

Qualifications and accreditation

Students have an opportunity to complete the following courses with us:

  • The Bronze Arts award
  • Entry Level 1, 2 & 3
  • Functional Skills 1 & 2

These are nationally recognised qualifications and along with the rest of the curriculum, help build the skillset and resilience needed for GCSE.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

Students will have the opportunity to develop skills in Media Studies, Drama to support their Speaking and Listening and comprehension.  All topics link to a specific context, including social, political and historical. Students may also explore cross curricular links to subjects such as History, Geography, Art and PSHE.


There are plenty of opportunities for students to develop their enjoyment of English through visits to the theatre, writing trips, competitions and clubs.

How will students be assessed?

  • Upon entry: baseline reading and writing. Reading age is worked out.
  • During term: written and verbal formative feedback from teachers with opportunities to re-draft and edit work.
  • End of each half term: students are graded with the PEARSON’S STEPS which correspond with the 1-9 GCSE grading system.

Please find information about Pearson’s STEPS here….

Parents will receive a termly report about what went well for their child, as well as ways forward to improve wellbeing and progress.

 Key Stage 4

About the Course

New River College KS4 Pathways

During KS4 at New River College, we aim to support and challenge students to leave with a range of qualifications including GCSE English, English Language and Functional Skills 1 & 2. All students are expected to leave with at least one qualification in English. Classes are broadly streamed at KS4. All students have access to the GCSE syllabus, with the expectation that most will achieve both Language or Literature grades. We also value Functional Skills accreditations to provide real-life skills that employers, apprenticeships and colleges require.

Skills and knowledge KS4

  • Read a wide range of texts, fluently and with good understanding.
  • Read critically, and use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing.
  • Write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately.
  • Write successfully in a range of forms.
  • Use grammar correctly, punctuate and spell accurately.
  • Acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology, and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
  • Use discussion, drama and formal presentation to improve their speaking and listening skills.

Year 10

In Year 10, all students follow the Edexcel GCSE English Literature course. Dependent on the pathway, some students will use these texts to focus on the GCSE skills of interpretation, analysis and response, whereas some students will focus on a more ‘skills based’ approach.

We study the following texts as part of the EDEXCEL GCSE Literature course:

Paper 1: Shakespeare and Post-1914 Literature

  • Romeo and Juliet – by William Shakespeare
  • An Inspector Calls – by J.B. Priestly

Paper 2: 19th Century Novel and poetry since 1789

  • Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Conflict Poetry & Unseen Poetry

Access our curriculum map for Year 10 here….

Year 11

In Year 11, all students follow the Edexcel GCSE English Language course. Dependent on the pathway, students will have different skills focuses: Functional skills or GCSE. All students will have an opportunity to sit the GCSE English language paper as well as Functional skills. Some students will also sit the English Literature paper at the end of Year.

Paper 1: Fiction and imaginative writing


  • Students prepare to approach an unseen Victorian story text, practising the skills of inference, analysis and evaluation regarding language form and structure
  • Students learn about Victorian life and how to apply this to understand a text.


  • Students prepare to write a description or story based on a title or picture
  • Students learn how to plan work; make it interesting and engaging; use a range of punctuation and vocabulary and proof reading for accuracy.


Paper 2: Non-Fiction and transactional writing


  • Students prepare to approach two unseen extracts of 20th and 21st Century Non- Fiction,

practising the skills of inference, analysis, evaluation and a comparison of ideas and attitudes in texts.


  • Students prepare to write a newspaper article; a magazine article; a guidebook or a speech on a non-fiction topic.
  • Students learn how to plan work; make it interesting and engaging; use a range of punctuation and vocabulary and proof reading for accuracy.

Access our curriculum map for Year 11 here…

Further information about these courses can be found at the following websites:

Edexcel GCSE English Language

Edexcel English Literature

Edexcel Functional Skills & Edexcel Entry Level


How will students be assessed?

The GCSE English Language qualification is assessed by two end of year exams, and a short formal presentation for speaking and listening. The GCSE English Literature GCSE is assessed by two ‘closed book’ end of year exams (students are not allowed to bring texts into the exam). Functional Skills Level 1 and Level 2 are assessed through two written exams in reading and writing, and several speaking and listening coursework tasks. Level 1 focuses on discussion; Level 2: discussion and a formal presentation. Step up Entry Level qualifications can be sat in ‘chunks’ and students have opportunities to re-sit modules. We ensure that all students have the correct access arrangements.

There are mock exams throughout Year 10 and Year11. Some of these exams are ‘supported mocks’ with guidance on how to approach longer answer questions. These supports are withdrawn the closer students get to the end of Year 11.