Welcome to the English Department

Curriculum Intent: English

We study English because the transferable skills of this subject are fundamental to everything we do. Skills include understanding how to investigate and obtain information, communication, writing ability, and self-sufficiency.

English at NUAST provides students with opportunities to explore, enjoy and ultimately to excel in this core subject. It underpins our STEM curriculum and enriches experiences and deepens understanding in every subject. English has a pre-eminent place in education and society as it teaches students to speak and write fluently, so they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others. Our students share ideas, listen actively, respond fluently both orally and via the written word becoming effective communicators. Ultimately, we aim to challenge, excite and enthuse our students with a life-long love of both language and literature, while also furnishing them with the skills and confidence they require to apply what they have learned in real-life contexts.

Our curriculum ensures students are confident, articulate and passionate individuals who are well equipped to confidently take their place in society. Every student will fulfil their aspirations whether that be for higher education, apprenticeships or working in the wider community. Our students will leave NUAST capable of confidently engaging with society whilst also questioning what they read and hear to ensure they become interesting and interested adults who stand out from the crowd rather than merge with the masses.

KS3 English at NUAST

The English Department encompasses three main areas of study: English Language, English Literature and Media Studies.

In Year 7, Literature and Language are interwoven to give students the opportunity to develop vital skills needed to succeed in not only these assessment areas, but for the wider world outside the classroom. Students are introduced to a wide range of literary texts: Shakespeare, Modern Drama, Poetry, and the novel. They are also exposed to other fiction and non- fiction texts to give them a holistic experience of the diverse and rich language that we use. All three areas of study are integrated so that they are addressed each year. Students are also encouraged to be creative through producing imaginative writing, and learning to express their viewpoint, which is a core feature of their learning.

English, as a core subject, is recognised as a fundamentally important area of study. We in the department encourage our students to recognise the crucial impact of communication, written or spoken, for themselves and their future, through focused and creative teaching.

GCSE English at NUAST

Students follow the AQA GCSE English Language, and AQA GCSE English Literature courses at NUAST.

In preparation for the Literature GCSE, students study a play by Shakespeare, a modern play script, a collection of poetry, and a 19th Century novel.

For English Language, students look at a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts which span the 19th, 20th and 21st Century, as well as learning the skills required to write for different audiences and from different perspectives.

The two GCSEs follow a holistic model, with all exams taken at the end of Year 11. The skills required for both GCSEs prepare students to read and comprehend texts, scrutinise and critique writers’ methods and craft, communicate effectively and with authority, and widen their knowledge of literary texts.

In addition, students undertake a Speaking and Listening endorsement. Whilst not part of the GCSE grade, students receive a separate award for an individual planning and preparation task.


Exam Board: AQA 2 year course – AS/A- level


  • 80% Examination
  • 20% Coursework

The specification encourages independent study of a range of texts across a range of eras and within a shared context. Studied together they create an understanding of English Literature that will deepen students' knowledge and love of the subject.

In Year 12 students read 3 core texts: Shakespeare, a collection of Pre 19th Century poetry, and a Post 19th Century novel. These texts are interlinked through the central theme: Love through the Ages. Students also read a variety of unseen fiction texts, and also unseen poetry.

In Year 13 students explore texts written within a narrower and clearly defined time period: WW1 and its aftermath, or Modern times: literature from 1945 to the present day. Working within historicist principles, this wider text study involves thinking about a wide range of relevant contexts, some of them to do with the production of the text at the time of its writing, and also how the text can be interpreted by readers now. Students are examined on the content covered in Year 12 in Paper 1, and also on their Texts across time study from Year 13. Students are also required to fulfil an Independent Study, in which they write a comparative critical study of two texts on a theme of their choice. The title 'Independent critical study' highlights the important idea that, within a literature course, students should have the opportunity to work independently.

November 2021


View the calendar in full

English News

View more news stories