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An enjoyment and appreciation of literature will give students the ability to develop this into an interest in books and reading as they move away from their studies and into their adult lives. They will have the confidence to approach and tackle new forms of books and writing, since they were exposed to a range of literature during their school days.

Key Stage 3

Please remind students to bring the correct equipment to lessons: A fully stocked pencil case with highlighters and glue, headphones,a reading book from the LRC or home and their Chromebook.

Texts for the school year 2023-24

Through each topic in KS3, students will study a variety of texts, including poetry, fiction and non-fiction extracts and writing opportunities, literary heritage, novels and exploration of the world around them with a key focus on vocabulary.

Year 7

  • Novel: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
  • History of Language
  • Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Writing to Persuade: Rollercoaster Tycoons

Year 8

  • Genre Study: Gothic with a focus on Dracula
  • Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice
  • Poetry

Year 9

  • Novel: Of Mice and Men
  • Literacy Heritage
  • Shakespeare: Macbeth
  • Poetry: GCSE Conflict poetry (OCR Towards a World Unknown)

Support and encourage your child to take responsibility for and complete their Independent Study. Encourage them to try tasks of a higher Challenge Level (Level 2 or 3).

How can I support my child through KS3 English?

Use the SIR - Strength, Improvement, Response marking sheets in assessment books to reflect with your child on their strengths and areas for improvement.

Encourage your child to read a wide range of texts and genres: novels, short stories, news articles, film reviews. More importantly, ask them to discuss, summarise or evaluate what they have read. Help your child to re-read and edit their work to encourage proofreading.

Help your child use new words to develop a wide vocabulary - encourage the use of a dictionary and thesaurus. Practise spelling; use errors teachers have flagged up in their work.

Introduce them to classic texts by Dickens, Carroll, Conan Doyle, Shakespeare, Tolkien etc.

Take your child on a literary day out – this could be the library, museums, galleries or the theatre - many local theatres put on great productions which are cheaper than in London. Encourage your child to engage in debates. Discuss current events with them and ask them to explain their opinions in detail.

Recommended Reading

The following books are available for students to loan from the Learning Resource Centre (open from 8.00am every weekday morning).

Books for All

Challenging Reads

  • Skellig, David Almond
  • War Horse, Michael Morpurgo
  • Kenzuke’s Kingdom, Michael Morpurgo
  • Boy and Going Solo, Roald Dahl
  • The HIVE series, Mark Walden
  • Mr Creecher, Chris Priestley
  • The Maze Runner Series, James Dashner
  • GONE series, Michael Grant
  • Coram Boy, Jamila Gavin
  • The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • His Dark Materials Series, Philip Pullman
  • Goblins, Philip Reeve
  • Mr Stink, David Walliams
  • The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
  • Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
  • The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank
  • Animal Farm, George Orwell
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
  • I am David, Anne Holm
  • A Kestrel for a Knave, Barry Hines
  • The Tulip Touch, Anne Fine
  • I’m the King of the Castle, Susan Hill
  • The Woman in Black, Susan Hill
  • Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Outsiders, S.E.Hinton
  • 1984, George Orwell

How will they be assessed in English during KS3?

There are two summative assessments per term, along with feedback for the students' independent study project and Accelerated Reader (just Y7 & Y8).

Students are asked to reflect on SIR marking feedback sheets to ensure they are working towards meeting their targets and making progress.

Homework is set weekly and students choose which task they wish to complete from the Independent Study Site (link above).

Peer and self assessment takes place through questioning and class work.

There is an end of year test for each year group.

Key Stage 4 - GCSE

Exam Board: OCR for both Language and Literature.

Two separate grades will be awarded with the new numerical grading system (9-1).

English Language and Literature

There are two GCSE qualifications to be gained by students studying English at Tring School.  All students study both English Language and English Literature as separate subjects.

How is the course assessed? 

  • Two English Language exams at the end of year eleven
  • Two English Literature exams at the end of year eleven
  • Throughout the two years we will be ensuring that students are ‘exam ready’ and many of our assessments will be completed in timed conditions to prepare students for the rigours of GCSE examinations. All students will study both GCSEs in Year 10 and if it will be beneficial for them to continue with English Language only, that decision will be made in Year 11

How long are the examinations?

  • Each of the examinations is 2 hours long.  There are no controlled assessments or coursework in English.

What do you cover on the course?

Both courses encourage students to be creative; to think analytically; to explore different types of writing, both fiction and non-fiction, and to broaden their understanding of the English language.  Students enjoy this subject because of its exploratory nature; they can bring their thoughts to the lessons and share their ideas and opinions. The courses will run alongside each other.

  • students must study a 19th century novel, a whole Shakespeare play and a selection of poems
  • students must compare at least two of the unseen texts
  • the modern prose or drama must be by writers from the British Isles
  • exams will be closed book (i.e. no copies of the text can be taken into the examination)


  1. Shakespeare: Macbeth
  2. OCR Conflict Poetry
  3. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens (19th Century novel)
  4. Animal Farm, George Orwell (Modern Prose)
  • students will respond to unseen extracts from 19th, 20th and 21st century texts
  • students must compare at least two unseen texts
  • in each exam students will have to respond to questions analysing these unseen texts (focusing on understanding the content, language analysis, structural analysis, writer’s attitudes and viewpoints and evaluating impact of the texts)
  • in each exam students will also need to respond to a writing task and produce a piece of sustained, controlled writing for a particular audience and purpose
  • 20% assessment weighting will be for spelling, sentence structure, punctuation and grammar

Please note that Speaking and Listening is not now directly assessed as part of the GCSE but will be certificated separately. We do still believe this to be a vital life skill and therefore students will still be taught speaking and listening units.

What texts would you recommend?

We will write to parents to recommend purchasing their own copies of the set texts in order for the students to annotate as the text is taught. The school can also provide copies for the students to borrow, however they cannot be written in by the students. Reading lists are available on the school website or from class teachers.

What websites would you recommend?

The Tring School KS4 revision site

BBC Bitesize and Litcharts or Sparknotes for Literature. Class teachers will specify other websites when they are covering the syllabus. Often youtube will have examples of teachers delivering lessons on exam texts and these can be useful for revision. Resources will be available through Go4Schools and Google Classroom .

What equipment should my child have?

Relevant texts for lessons. Highlighters for close text analysis. Glue and scissors for extract tasks.


Subject Leader Ms V Johnston
Acting Subject Leader  Mrs J Brown
KS3 Lead (Years 7 & 8 and Year 6 Transition) Mrs L O'Boyle
KS3 Lead (Years 8 & 9 and KS4 Transition) Mrs R Merchant
KS4 Lead Mrs F West                             
KS5 Lead Mrs L Kamen
KS3 Transition and Data Mrs L O'Boyle
  Mrs A Ellershaw - Head of Media / EPQ Coordinator
  Mr I Holmes - KS5 Director of Learning
  Mrs E McFadden - Music & Reading Leader
  Mrs C Moulson
  Mrs M Oancea
  Mrs K O'Callaghan
  Ms L Rolfe - Assistant Head Teacher
  Mrs K Scuri - Drama
  Mrs C Simler (Maternity October 2023)
  Mrs C Trump (SENCO)
English Administrator Mrs H Rapsey
Subject Documents Date  
KS3 Reading List for English 14th Apr 2021 Download
KS4/5 Reading List for English 14th Apr 2021 Download
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