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English & Media Studies

Our vision is to use our English lessons to help students become confident and empathetic communicators. Through fostering a love of literature, we hope to spark a continuing curiosity about the world, and encourage critical thinking and ongoing creativity. We want to support our students to be independent and resilient young people, regardless of their starting point, so that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to succeed throughout their lives.

In 2021, the English & Media Team were shortlisted for the Times Educational Supplement's 'English Team of the Year' Award.

KS3 Curriculum

The Key Stage 3 English curriculum at a glanceLTP 2023-2024

Our KS3 curriculum is designed to focus on three key concepts: discovery, identity and power and justice. Students are introduced to ideas and content in year seven, which is built upon and developed in year eight and nine. Literacy skills are embedded into the units throughout KS3. By the end of year nine, we hope that students are curious, creative and critical, ready to begin studying for their GCSEs.

In addition to their English lessons, students in year seven and year eight have a fortnightly reading lesson where they complete activities in the library and have the opportunity to explore their reading habits and preferences.

Students in KS3 work towards improving in five key writing and six key reading skills. Speaking and listening opportunities are included in all year groups.

Key Writing Skills

W1 – Select and use the correct form of writing for a range of purposes and audiences to write imaginative, interesting and thoughtful texts

W2 – Vary sentences for clarity, purpose and effect

W3 – Select and use appropriate and effective vocabulary

W4 – Organise and present whole texts effectively, sequencing and structuring information, ideas and events

W5 – Use a range of punctuation with accuracy

Key Reading Skills

R1 – Give ideas about a text to demonstrate understanding of the plot, characters, themes and writer’s intentions

R2 – Use references/quotations to the text

R3 – Analyse the writer’s use of language and linguistic techniques

R4 – Analyse the way the text is structured

R5 – Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the text and its social, cultural and historical context

R6 – Compare characters, events, language and ideas across two or more texts

Extra-curricular opportunities

The department seeks to supplement our lessons with a rich offer of extra-curricular opportunities. Recently, these opportunities have included theatre trips, documentary screenings, workshops with visiting poets, visiting theatre performances and the ever popular Media club. We have also encouraged students to participate in ‘The Young Voice of Trowbridge’, which is a debating competition, and ‘Ovid in the West Country’, a creative competition run by the University of Bristol.


KS4 English Curriculum

At Key Stage 4, students study two English GCSEs.

AQA English Language (external link)

AQA English Literature (external link)

We currently teach a range of texts for the English Literature GCSE – students could be studying:

Power and Conflict Poetry (an anthology created by AQA)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Macbeth  by William Shakespeare
Pigeon English by Steven Kelman
An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

English Language Course content

Paper 1 – 50% – Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing – The aim of this paper is to engage students in a creative text and inspire them to write creatively themselves.

Paper 2 – 50% – Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives – The aim of this paper is to develop students’ insights into how writers have particular viewpoints and perspectives on issues or themes that are important to the way we think and live our lives.

How is this course assessed?

Paper 1 – written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes based on one single text.

Reading section = 4 questions.  Writing Section = 1 extended question.

Paper 2 – written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes based on two linked texts.

Reading section = 4 questions. Writing Section = 1 extended question.

Non-examination Assessment: Spoken Language – demonstrate speaking and listening skills.

KS4 English Literature Curriculum

English Literature Course content.

Paper 1 – 40% – Shakespeare and a 19th century novel

Paper 2 – 60% – A modern text and a collection of poetry

We currently teach a range of texts for the English Literature GCSE. Students could be studying:

  • Power & Conflict Poetry (an anthology created by AQA)
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde  by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare
  • Pigeon English by Steven Kelman
  • An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley

How is this course assessed?

Paper 1 – written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes.

Section A Shakespeare: students will answer one question on their play of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then write about the play as a whole.

Section B The 19th -century novel: students will answer one question on their novel of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.

Paper 2 – written exam: 2 hours 15 minutes.

Section A  Modern texts: students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on their studied modern prose or drama text.

Section B Poetry: students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.

Section C Unseen poetry: students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.

Key Stage 5

Please see the A level subject page for our popular sixth form courses.

Media Studies

GCSE Media can be taken as an option subject at KS4. The subject is particularly liked by students due to its relevance to their lives. There are many opportunities it provides for exploring contemporary issues through the use of different media in creative and practical ways. Students study a range of media texts from advertising and marketing, the music and film industry to the print industry and explore a wide range of media platforms. The course comprises both an exam and practical element. The NEA (non-exam assessment) element requires students to apply their knowledge and understanding of media language and representations to create a media product using one of the following forms: television, music video, radio, newspapers, magazines, advertising/marketing, online, social and participatory media, or video games.

How is this course assessed?

  • Paper 1: Questions will focus on three areas of the theoretical framework: industries, audiences and representation. There will be a balanced approach to these three areas of the theoretical framework in that Section A will focus on industries and audiences whilst Section B will deal with the representations.

How it’s assessed?

  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 84 marks
  • 35% of GCSE

Paper 2: 

What’s assessed?

  • Questions will focus on media language and contexts of the media.
  • Students will be expected to analyse media products both in relation to the theoretical framework and their contexts.
  • Section A will focus on language and Section B will focus on contexts.

 How it’s assessed.

  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 84 marks – 35% of GCSE
  • 30% of GCSE
  • Assessed by teachers
  • Moderated by AQA.

Non-exam assessment: creating a media product

What’s assessed?

  • Application of knowledge and understanding of the theoretical framework.
  • Practical skills relating to the media format of their choice.

How it’s assessed

  • A choice of topics related to the over-arching (annually changing) theme
  • 72 marks – 30% of GCSE – Assessed by teachers – Moderated by AQA.

A Level Media Studies

This is a hugely popular course and builds on nicely from the GCSE Media course, although having a GCSE in Media is not an essential to achieving success at A level.

AQA’s A-level Media Studies specification is designed to encourage candidates to:

  • Enhance their enjoyment and appreciation of the media and its role in their daily lives
  • Develop critical understanding of the media through engagement with media products and concepts and through the creative application of practical skills
  • Explore production processes, technologies and other relevant contexts
  • Become independent in research skills and their application in their practical work and in developing their own views and interpretations.

At AS, candidates investigate the media in order to understand and evaluate how meanings and responses are created. The contemporary media landscape and its changing contexts are studied in terms of products, platforms and technologies:

  • Unit 1: Investigating Media -50% of AS, 25% of A Level 2-hour written examination 80 marks
  • Unit 2: Creating Media. -50% of AS, 25% of A Level Practical unit, internally assessed and externally moderated 80 marks Externally set production briefs.

At A2, candidates are encouraged to demonstrate, develop and formulate their understanding of the media and its influential role in today’s society as well as debating major contemporary media issues:

Unit 3: Critical Perspectives – 25% of A Level

2 hour written examination

Unit 4: Media: Research and Production.

25% of A Level

Practical unit, internally assessed and externally moderated

80 marks

Please follow this link if you wish to find more information with regard to the specifications