The King's School in Macclesfield



      About the Department 

      There are eight full time and one part time specialist teachers in the English department, all of whom are experienced and passionate about their subject. Several members of the department are GCSE and A Level examiners, giving our teachers and students valuable insights into the assessment processes. Students benefit considerably from their expertise in this area.

      Many students go onto study English or English-related degree courses at Russell Group Universities in- cluding Oxford and Cambridge. Many prospective Law students find English a complementary A Level subject choice.

      Examination Results

      Our GCSE and A Level results are outstanding; students perform consistently above the national aver- age.

      2017 GCSE English Literature:

      52% of all grades were A*/A (national average is 29%)

      2017 GCSE English Language:

      67% of all grades were A*/A (national average is 9%)

      2017 A Levels:

      English Literature: 71% achieved A*/A (national average is 24%) English Language: 33% achieved A*/A (national average is 10%)

      Subject Content & Syllabus

      Key Stage 3

      Students build skills in reading, comprehension, writing, analysis, speaking and listening through the study of challenging texts. Teachers combine the study of established works from the literary canon with high quality modern literature, thus providing students with the breadth and depth they need to gain an appreciation of language and literature. Students are encouraged to read widely and King’s uses its well-stocked Resource Centres to administer our popular reading programme.

      Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

      Students study for two separate GCSEs in English Language and English Literature. We follow the AQA GCSE specification for both of these examinations. Both courses are linear with students sitting the ex- amination at the end of Year 11.

      A Level English Language

      English Language explores the language that surrounds us. From a conversation between friends, to a politician’s election speech, students explore how form, structure and vocabulary shape meaning. The course studies the variation of language according to context, and changes in language over time, as well as exploring contemporary linguistic variation and change in the British Isles. Students will also ex- plore how children learn language and how they are able to understand and express themselves through language. The coursework element introduces students to independent, investigative language study. It enables them to pursue areas of individual interest and to explore methodological issues concerning data collec- tion and analysis. It allows students to develop a creative and critical approach to their studies and places language in its wider geographical, social and temporal contexts.

      A Level English Literature

      The English Literature course involves the study of significant texts from different genres. Students ex- plore how texts connect and inter-relate and how they can illuminate each other. Students may study one of two literary genres: Tragedy or Comedy. In addition, students read and explore texts which con- tain elements of more modern cultural genres. There are two study options: Elements of Crime Writing or Elements of Political and Social Protest Writing. The coursework element introduces students to aspects of Critical Theory, including Narrative Theory, Feminist criticism, Marxist criticism, Post-colonial criticism and Eco-criticism. One response will be a conventional essay, the other could be a re-creative task or a further conventional essay.

      Monitoring & Assessment

      At Key Stage 3 and 4, students are assessed every half-term and awarded grades for effort and attain- ment. Staff monitor these grades stringently and prompt intervention is taken if necessary. These grades are shared with parents who can contact subject teachers or form tutors should they have any questions. Students may also be awarded a ‘Student of the Week’ award to recognise exceptional effort or performance.

      At Key Stage 4, pupils continue to be monitored every half-term and also receive tracking interviews to monitor their progress in the lead up to examinations. End of year examinations are taken at the end of Years 7, 8, 9 and 10. Public exams (GCSE and A Level examinations) are taken in Years 11 and 13.

      Enrichment Opportunities

      The English Department runs a variety of extra-curricular and enrichment opportunities for students to extend their learning and interests beyond the classroom.

      • A wide programme of lunchtime and after-school clubs including Debating Society, Book Café, Poetry by Heart Club and Books Clubs. Students in Poetry by Heart Club will have the chance to enter the national competition and students are offered many opportunities to enter national creative writing competitions.
      • Enrichment reading initiatives such as the Carnegie Shadowing and Cheshire Schools’ Book Quiz.
      • Talks and workshops from visiting writers.
      • Trips to the theatre. Last year, students attended performances of ‘An Inspector Calls, ‘Macbeth’, ‘A View from the Bridge’, and ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ to name a few.
      • Enrichment trips to writing workshops at the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester.
      • Enrichment residential trip to the prestigious creative writing course at the Arvon Foundation.
      • Extra support and tuition for those making competitive applications to universities, whether abroad or at Oxbridge.


      Many of our students go on to study English or English-related degrees at competitive universities, in- cluding Oxbridge. Students wanting to pursue careers in journalism, law, teaching and the civil service often find the subject complements their other studies.

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