In the English Department at John Spence our aim is to enable students to be reflective readers, skilled writers, confident speakers and creative thinkers.

We work as a team to plan courses that are stimulating and enjoyable with activities that enable students to investigate texts and explore the ways in which meaning is communicated. We have a clear focus on the development of students’ literacy skills and use regular key assessments to provide precise targets that will allow students to make progress and have a sense of direction for future learning.

Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 courses are designed to engage and interest students through using a variety of teaching and learning techniques and through a consistent and rigorous focus on assessment for learning. Our curriculum is designed to cover a wide range of texts from different genres, periods and cultures.

At Key Stage 3, students will study novels, drama (including Shakespeare), poetry, non-fiction and media texts. Within each unit of study all assessment objectives are covered and courses are structured around common assignments that allow us to monitor progress effectively. In our lessons, we also provide a close focus upon word-level and sentence-level literacy skills. In Year 7 and Year 8, students will spend one lesson each fortnight in the Learning Resource Centre where they are given opportunities to develop reading skills, use and develop ICT skills and, in Year 9, students will refine skills that will enable an effective preparation for GCSE study.

At Key Stage 4, OCR’s 9-1 GCSE specification helps students to explore communication, culture and creativity, to develop independent and critical thinking and to engage with the richness of our language and literary heritage. Students at John Spence follow two linear courses: English Language and English Literature. Both are taught concurrently and lead to two separate GCSE 9-1 grades.

In delivery, a range of prescribed Literature functions as a springboard into reading thematically linked 19th, 20th and 21st century fiction and non-fiction. This is designed to develop students’ critical reading and support them in making conscious choices when planning and crafting their own writing.

Students will develop skills to read fluently and write effectively: they will critically analyse, synthesise and evaluate ideas and information across a range of unseen texts whilst also having opportunities to experiment in their writing across a range of contexts and styles.

The English staff are:

  • Mrs L Bray (Assistant Headteacher)
  • Mrs S Diggle (Curriculum Leader)
  • Mrs L Briggs (Assistant Curriculum Leader)
  • Mr D Gibson (Healthy Schools)
  • Mr D Pearson
  • Ms J Smith
  • Ms G Wallis
  • Mrs J Nicholson
  • Mr B Gibson 
  • Mrs S Barnett
  • Mrs A Kidd