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English at St Mark’s is exciting, engaging and imaginative!

In the English department at St Mark’s we aim to encourage students to become independent, creative learners who use their imagination and express their own opinions with confidence.  We think that these skills are vital and will support them no matter what they decide to do, both in school and beyond. We also hope to foster in our students a love of reading and of the spoken and written word and ensure we introduce them to authors from a range of diverse backgrounds and cultures.

In year 7 students at St. Mark’s will study a broad programme of reading, writing, and speaking and listening. Each topic from Gothic literature to non-fiction writing is carefully planned to equip students with the skills needed for success at GCSE level, but also to be enjoyable, exciting and culturally enriching. We have regular visits from theatre groups, trips to hear famous authors and poets perform and in the last few years we’ve taken all of year 7 to see a Shakespeare play at ‘The Globe’!

At KS3 students have a separate ‘Literacy lesson’ every week. This ensures that students are equipped with the knowledge and skills in SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) that are so vital to success at GCSE and beyond. Our intervention programme ensures that students who are struggling are offered tailored support; this is a combination of in-class intervention, withdrawal groups or referral to one of our many after school enrichment clubs. 

Students are set homework quizzes and writing tasks every week but are also invited to take part in extra-curricular writing and reading competitions. The best pieces of writing are rewarded with prizes – book vouchers of course! Some of our students have even gone on to have their entries awarded with prizes in national writing competitions. 

All our students are encouraged to become independent readers and to keep track of whichever reading book they are currently enjoying; students are given regular opportunities to visit the library and exchange their books and to offer feedback on which additions they'd like to see to the school library. In the summer term our ‘Readathon’ competition allows our most avid readers to keep track of how many books they’ve read and to raise money for charity by doing so.

Our 'Big Read' project means that our students will spend one coaching time session a week discussing a topical and engaging novel with their coach. This ensures that our students not only read widely but that they are given opportunities to discuss texts which explore issues relevant to our students and which offer new and varied perspectives on the world at large. 

In KS4 lessons, the English department offer the opportunity for students to study English Language and English Literature to GCSE level. These GCSEs will test the independence and creativity that students have developed through years 7 and 8. Students will be assessed through a combination of regular timed assessments within class and examinations at the end of year 11. The GCSE programme of study is designed and tailored by our English specialists to meet the needs of all of our students.  We believe that students should feel excited about English and that our varied curriculum will allow all students to achieve their potential.

We give students many chances to visit the theatre during their GCSE course and in recent years we have even had the theatre come to us, with the Globe Players touring group offering in-house productions of some of our set texts. We visit the local 'Wimbledon Book Fest' every year, where our students get to hear from established and up and coming authors about their route into writing. St Mark's KS4 students are also given the opportunity to participate in the 'New Views’ script writing project, which is run by the National Theatre.

“Year 10 English students explored the relationship of Curley’s wife to other characters in the novel Of Mice and Men with good knowledge and understanding.”

Ofsted October 2012

“There is a strong focus on developing students’ literacy skills across the academy.

Ofsted October 2012

“There was one instance, in a good English lesson, where students undertook roles in their groups well. The added responsibility  increased their level of engagement”

March 2012

“Oh! Is English over already? It always goes so quickly in here!”

Alex, year 10

Trips, visits and other information

Recently our year 9 students attended a talk about gang violence in London, linked to the novel Pigeon English which they have been studying.

Some of our year 8 and 9 gifted and talented students also attended poetry performances at Wimbledon Book fest.

Our students take part in national writing competitions at different points throughout the year and have previously won or been shortlisted for national writing competitions.
Later this year, the whole of year 10 are going on a theatre trip to see A Christmas Carol.


GCSE English
AS English
A2 Englis