“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.”

-C S Lewis

98% of GCSE English language pupils and 100% of English Literature pupils achieve Grade C or above.

The English Department aims to develop a pupils’ confidence, resilience and leadership skills.

Regular debates led by Sixth Form pupils and Year 10 entries into the English Speaking Union competitions.

A number of engaging co-curricular activities including the Earl Grey Society where topics and texts are discussed.

We believe in the power of English language: Its powers to liberate, connect, ennoble, empower and engage.

Lincoln Minster Senior School Pupils

Key Stage 3 – English

Our aim in the English Department is to build strong skills, knowledge and understanding that will lay the best possible foundations for GCSEs in English Language and Literature when pupils reach KS4 as well as preparing them for adult life.

We seek to enable pupils to become enthusiastic readers, accomplished writers and speakers with an excellent knowledge about English Language which translates into a high level of technical accuracy but also a love of playing with words. The study of English Literature will see pupils exploring plays, poetry and prose from both before and after 1900 and in addition, pupils will investigate and emulate a range of non-fiction texts including advertising, travel writing and speeches.

Recent changes to the KS4 curriculum means that there is an increased focus on the close analysis of writers’ methods, with pupils being able to explain not only what techniques, structures and forms have been used but for what specific purposes. It is hoped that the new KS3 schemes of work also effectively pick up on the greater knowledge about grammar pupils now have from KS2 and help them apply this to the production of a wide range of their own texts.

The main aspects followed in the Curriculum also reflect the requirements of the National Curriculum in giving pupils the chance to learn about reading for meaning; writing for a range of purposes and audiences; having technical accuracy and making imaginative use of grammar and punctuation; and, having an effective and commanding grasp of spoken English.

The topics of study are as follows:

Year 7

  • 20th Century Prose – A novel
  • Poetry Anthology – weird creatures, sinister tales, hunters and the hunted
  • Persuasion
  • Shakespeare – ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’
  • Autobiography
  • Education – including 20th Century Drama ‘Our Day Out’

Year 8

  • 19th Century Prose – Short Mystery Stories
  • Poetry Anthology – Secrets, Loves, the Dying and the Dead
  • Advertising
  • Shakespeare – ‘Twelfth Night’
  • Biography
  • Crime and Punishment

Year 9

  • 20th Century Prose – Novel
  • Poetry Anthology – War, Loss, the Imprisoned and the Free
  • Campaign
  • Shakespeare – ‘Macbeth’
  • Literary Non-Fiction – Travel Writing, Descriptive Writing
  • Prejudice


There are two GCSE examinations available: English Literature and English Language.

Most students undertake the study of two separate GCSEs – English Language and English Literature. For a small number of our students it is advisable to take the English Language only qualification, which does also contain elements of literature study. Some international students take the Cambridge iGCSE in English Language either instead of or as well as English Language GCSE and these students, also, may not take English Literature, depending on the level of their English.

GCSE English Language

Summary of assessment

There is no internal assessment of English Language GCSE. The two-year course will culminate in two examinations designed to test the full range of students’ reading and writing skills.

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing
(1 hour 45 minutes, 50% of grade)

Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives
(1 hour 45 minutes, 50% of grade)

Speaking and Listening
Students must also deliver a ten minute presentation to their class which is recorded. A separate grade is given for Speaking and Listening rather than it forming part of the English Language GCSE grade.

GCSE English Literature

Summary of assessment
There is no internal assessment of GCSE English Literature. The two-year course will culminate in two examinations.

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the Nineteenth Century Novel
(1 hour 45 minutes, 40% of grade)

Pupils will study one of the following Shakespeare texts: Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, Much ado about Nothing, Julius Caesar.
Also, one of the following nineteenth century novels: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, Pride and Prejudice, The Sign of Four.

Paper 2: Modern Texts and Poetry
(2 hours 15 minutes, 60% of grade)

Pupils will study one of the following drama or prose texts: An Inspector Calls, Blood Brothers, The History Boys, DNA, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, A Taste of Honey, Lord of the Flies, Telling Tales, Animal Farm, Never let me go, Anita and Me, Pigeon English.
Also, one of the two AQA collections of poetry on the themes of either: Love and Relationships or Power and Conflict.
Pupils also need to answer questions on poetry they have not seen before.
Both Papers 1 and 2 are closed book examinations – pupils are not allowed copies of any set texts during the exams.

A Level – English Literature

Course Requirements

Students of A Level English Literature have to enjoy reading. To really engage with the ideas and texts studied, a B grade or above in English Literature at GCSE level is desirable.

Course content methodology and assessment

The common themes which run through both years of the two year course are Love through the Ages and Modern Times. Skills in analyzing and evaluating prose, poetry and drama will be taught throughout the two years in preparation for the terminal assessment. At the heart of this syllabus is a consideration of how literature reflects the age in which it was written. A wide range of set texts will be explored and students will also learn to closely analyse unseen texts. The course allows for maximum creativity and independent learning for the students. This is the case in the typical learning methods employed, such as discussion, and also in the coursework element which involves individually chosen texts for study.

Classes are exciting and collaborative. Students are expected to enter into discussion and debate as they examine variant readings of texts: presentations from staff; presentations by students; close study of excerpts; discussion of chapters. Classes follow the tutorial style students will experience at university. We also ensure that students see good productions of texts we are studying (or that are interesting and relevant) whenever possible.

Paper 1: Love through the Ages
(3 hours, 40% of grade)

Section A: Shakespeare
Section B: Unseen Poetry
Section C: Comparing Texts

Paper 2: Texts in Shared Contexts – Modern Literature
(2 hours 30 minutes, 40% of grade)

Section A: Set Text
Section B: Contextual Linking

Non-Exam Assessment (NEA)
(20% of grade)

Comparative critical study of two texts (2500 words)

Supporting Advanced Performance

The Advanced Performance Team, led by our Director of Studies, seeks to advise staff on how we – as a teaching body – can identify, monitor and experientially enhance the educational opportunities of able, gifted and talented pupils at  Lincoln Minster School.

How do we cater for AP students in English?

English is taught in tiered sets. We firmly believe that what is good practice for Advanced Performance pupils is good practice for all, so AP students can expect individual feedback on their work and progress, together with detailed targets for further progress. In Key Stages 4 and 5, students can expect one-to-one tutorials. The Department prides itself on treating students as individuals and on nourishing talent.

Encouraging Advanced Performance outside of lessons


  • The Earl Grey Society is a literary society for Sixth Form students which aims to challenge students beyond the exam syllabus and to cultivate individual interests.
  • Magna Carta is the School’s Debating Club and teams are entered each year for the English Speaking Union’s School’s Mace Debating competition and the ESU Public Speaking Competition. Periodically we hold external debates with other schools and with the University.
  • The Pegasus Club is a forum for pupils’ own creative writing offering supportive criticism and encouragement.
  • Poetry and external creative writing competitions
  • Theatre visits
  • External lectures
  • Theatre companies brought into school
  • Poetry Convention at the Drill Hall
  • Pupils who produce fine work may be invited to show it to the Headmaster, have it displayed or published on the website

Beyond Lincoln Minster School


A study of English Literature in the Sixth Form can be a valuable foundation for degree courses in almost any other discipline or career path which may be why it is such a popular choice of subject at A Level and beyond.

The obvious career paths that lead from a study of English at a high level are teaching, journalism, publishing, advertising and law. Moreover, all jobs requiring analytical or communication skills – which is most jobs in the twenty-first century – benefit from an understanding of language and competence in expression. Finally, an engagement with literature is life-affirming and life-enhancing in itself.

The person with an A Level in English Literature knows how to read, write, discuss, support opinions, keep an open mind, analyse, evaluate, understand the effect of context, make comparisons, structure, edit, develop an argument, focus, plan, identify, select, summarise, use language precisely and concisely, conceptualise, describe and persuade.

Senior School Curriculum

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