The curriculum is much more than just lessons. It includes the ethos, attitudes and relationships which create the family life of our school. Our aim is to provide a broad, balanced and rigorous curriculum that meets the needs and aspirations of every young person and leaves them well prepared for their future.

The English curriculum is planned to ensure that students read confidently and widely; they are critical and challenge ideas. Isca students write both academically and creatively, and develop their own voice.

The curriculum intends:

  1. To introduce students to rich, canonical texts – and to generate discussion about their themes and ideas, and their relevance in today’s society.
  2. To provide every opportunity to learn new Tier 2 words, explore their meaning and origin, and begin to confidently use them in our speech and writing.
  3. To instil a love of reading, so that students become strong and passionate independent readers.
  4. To equip the students to express themselves eloquently and professionally in writing, and in speech.
  5. To foster an inquisitive mind with an enthusiasm for English Language and Literature.
  6. To raise awareness of different cultures, and timeframes through Literature.
  7. To develop students’ critical approach and understanding to the texts we study, and the world around them.

Last year, Year 10 (class of 2022) were the first cohort to sit their English Literature GCSE in Year 10. Subsequent years will do the same. The decision to enter Literature in Year 10 is reflected in our curriculum overview. When in Year 11, they will focus solely on developing their GCSE Language  skills, reading a diverse and rich range of texts – as well as really developing as writers both creatively and through transactional writing. 


Curriculum overview: topics studied during each stage of the year. Roadmap: an overview of the subject in a single image.



English Literature GCSE Texts 

At GCSE, students read and analyse the following texts:

Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’: to this day, ‘Macbeth’ is considered one of Shakespeare’s most popular and influential plays. This shocking tragedy reveals the violent caution to those seeking power for its own sake.  Students will learn about Shakespeare’s relationship with King James I, as well as fascinating contextual details, including The Divine Right of Kings, and The Great Chain of Being.  Students will also explore Shakespeare’s rich language and, inevitably, grow to respect this classic text.  The English Team love teaching ‘Macbeth’.

Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’: despite being one of Dickens’ shortest works, this allegory is rich and still relevant for readers today.  Dickens’ explores the consequences of avarice and greedIt is a glimpse at what could happen to someone who rejects their family and other human connection for money.  Students will learn about the Hungry Forties, as well as The Poor Law and life in 1843 England.  The English Team think this is an important text that everyone should read.

J.B. Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’: written in 1945, but set in 1912, this fascinating text scrutinises life before the two World Wars.  Students learn about social inequality and social responsibility and begin to consider how these things have changed (or not) over time, linking their learning to their other Literature texts.  The English Team always enjoy the mystery and suspense in this play!

AQA Power & Conflict Poetry Anthology: a diverse and compelling collection of poems (15 in total) which explore ideas about power and conflict – of all kinds.  These poems are written over a huge time scale offering students both a glimpse into the past, as well as the opportunity to explore contemporary poetry.  The poems unpick issues of social inequality, inner conflict, and power struggles.  The English Team love getting their teeth stuck into this collection with their students and developing original interpretations.