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Hampstead School

English and Media


Head of Faculty Ms G Dennehy

Our Curriculum Vision

Our aim in studying English Language and Literature is to empower our young people and inspire their curiosity through critical engagement with the world.

  •  Through developing a rich understanding of reading, writing and oracy skills our young people will become empowered to communicate ideas, thoughts and feelings of their own and empathise with others.
  • They will explore a range of genres and constructs, and learn to take charge of and question their own identity.
  • We aim to foster a lifelong enjoyment of our subject and deeper connections to the kaleidoscopic wider world.

Please CLICK below to discover more about our curriculum

KEY STAGE 3     (Year 7 to Year 9)

Key Stage 4 Curriculum :

At Key Stage 4, students study for two separate GCSEs: English Language and English Literature. Both are exciting, vibrant subjects that encourage creativity and exploratory thought.

GCSE English Language

Students develop their skills to read fluently and write effectively. They demonstrate a confident control of Standard English and write grammatically correct sentences, deploy figurative language and analyse texts.

In English Language students will:

  • read a wide range of texts, fluently and with good understanding
  • read critically, and use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing
  • write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately
  • use grammar correctly, punctuate and spell accurately
  • acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology, and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
  • listen to and understand spoken language, and use spoken Standard English effectively.


Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

  • written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 80 marks
  • 50% of GCSE

Paper 2: Writers' Viewpoints and Perspectives

  • written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 80 marks
  • 50% of GCSE

Non-examination Assessment: Spoken Language

  • teacher set throughout course as “speaking and listening” tasks
  • marked by teacher
  • counts separately from the GCSE grade

GCSE English Literature

Students develop knowledge and skills in reading, writing and critical thinking. Through literature, students have a chance to develop culturally and acquire knowledge of the best that has been thought and written. Studying GCSE English Literature encourages students to read widely for pleasure, and as a preparation for studying literature at a higher level.

They explore a range of topics through ‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’, alongside an anthology of 15 exciting poems.

In English Literature students will:

  • read a wide range of classic literature fluently and with good understanding, and make connections across their reading
  • read in depth, critically and evaluatively, so that they are able to discuss and explain their understanding and ideas
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often
  • appreciate the depth and power of the English literary heritage
  • write accurately, effectively and analytically about their reading, using Standard English
  • acquire and use a wide vocabulary, including the grammatical terminology and other literary and linguistic terms they need to criticise and analyse what they read.


Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel

  • written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 64 marks
  • 40% of GCSE

Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry

  • written exam: 2 hour 15 minutes
  • 96 marks
  • 60% of GCSE

Recommended reading:

Key Stage 5 Curriculum and Assessment - English:

At Key Stage 5 students have the option of studying A Level English Literature or A Level English Language & Literature. 

Students study a variety of poetry and prose. They are expected to read widely and discuss works of non-fiction and literature both orally and in writing.

A Level English Literature

Plays, poetry, novels… Chaucer, Austen, Fitzgerald, Shakespeare… English Literature! A special subject with a special place in our culture, and indeed at Hampstead. Studying literature not only affords you a range of transferable skills, but is one of the few subjects where what you study is art and designed to be enjoyed.

Exam board: OCR

Curriculum plan:

Summer work/introductory project on Shakespeare and Literary Canon Year 1 Autumn: “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare; The Great Gatsby by F. Scot Fitzgerald Year 1 Spring: Selected poems by Samuel Taylor Coleridge; “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams Year 1 Summer: Exam Revision; Close reading OR re-creative writing piece with commentary; comparative essay (coursework) Year 2 Autumn: American Literature 1880-1940; coursework Year 2 Spring: Drama and Poetry pre-1900 revision; essay and literature study skills Year 2 Summer: Exam revision

A Level English Language and Literature

Do you enjoy reading and writing for pleasure? Do you want to understand how language works, and how it can make you powerful? This combined course in Language and Literature is multi-disciplinary. By reading literature through linguistic and literary lenses you not only widen your subject knowledge but also your skills as a writer. Perfect for those who enjoyed all aspects of their GCSE English curriculum.

Exam board: OCR

Curriculum plan:

Summer work/introductory project on Orwell and language change Year 1 Autumn: “Rapture” by Carol Ann Duffy; The Great Gatsby by F. Scot Fitzgerald Year 1 Spring: Non-Fiction Spoken and Written Texts; Reading as a Writer, Writing as a Reader Year 1 Summer: Exam Revision; begin Independent Study Year 2 Autumn: Independent Study (Coursework) Year 2 Spring: Narrative: Reading as a Writer, Writing as a Reader Year 2 Summer: Exam revision

GCSE English Language (re-sit class)

Students who did not attain a C in their GCSE English/ English Language course will re-sit this course. Exam re-sits take place in November and June. However it is imperative that all students re-sitting attend all lessons throughout the year to boost their literacy and exam skills.

Key Stage 5 Curriculum and Assessment – Media Studies:

A-Level Media Studies:

At Key Stage 5 students follow the diverse WJEC Eduqas Media Studies A-Level course. Students will study a variety of units of learning, both theoretical and practical, including Online Media, Television, Online Magazines, Blogs, Video Games, Film Industries, Newspapers, Music Videos and Advertising and Marketing. Assessment is both exam and production coursework based.

Eduqas Media Studies A-Level Aims and Objectives:

This specification recognises the fundamental relationship between theoretical understanding and practical work, providing learners with exciting opportunities to develop media production skills. Learners will apply and develop their knowledge and understanding of media language and representation in relation to media forms and products, and become creators of meaning themselves. Learners will be offered a choice of briefs and forms within which to work, enabling them to explore and pursue their own media interests.

The WJEC Eduqas A-Level in Media Studies offers a broad, coherent and engaging course of study which enables learners to:

  • demonstrate skills of enquiry, critical thinking, decision-making and analysis
  • acquire knowledge and understanding of a range of important media issues
  • develop appreciation and critical understanding of the media and their role both historically and currently in society, culture and politics
  •  understand and apply specialist subject-specific terminology to analyse and compare media products and the contexts in which they are produced and consumed in order to make informed arguments, reach substantiated judgements and draw conclusions about media issues
  • appreciate how theoretical understanding supports practice and practice supports theoretical understanding
  •  develop practical skills by providing opportunities for creative media production.

GCSE Media Studies:

At Key Stage 5 some students have the option of taking GCSE in Media Studies, compressing the Key Stage 4 course into one year at Year 12.

Enrichment Opportunities:

Opportunities for stretch and challenge run across the faculty, including a variety of book clubs, poetry clubs and competitions to enter.  A termly poetry magazine publishes some of the best work, and we have hosted a number of nationally renowned poets running workshops with our students.  SLAMbassadors have made visits, and authors have addressed year groups about newly published novels.

Year 10 students have the opportunity to apply to study for an additional one year AS Level in after school sessions.  This has been Creative Writing in previous years, and will be Film Studies in future.

Every Friday, debating club allows students to develop rhetorical, public speaking and research skills, with external competitions in both British Parliamentary and Model United Nations formats. A number of students have travelled across the country and even as far as Germany to debate under the supervision of English teachers.

Media and Film students have worked closely with the Roundhouse (where they have passes to visit and work with the media resources in their own time) and Tricycle cinema/theatre, while a number have volunteered to be part of an ongoing project with the October Gallery.   Other ongoing regular projects include the British Museum.

All students have the opportunity to see live plays and visit a local cinema for a bespoke film screening and questioning session.  Annually we visit the Globe theatre for workshops, and host visits from the Globe Players for plays delivered to whole year groups in the hall.

Now in its third year, the Zadie Smith essay prize challenges students across a range of faculties to complete university-level writing on a range of abstract and topical subjects, with substantial cash and literary prizes awarded to the best work.

Hampstead School Media Studies graduates are invited back to Hampstead School as Media Industry Ambassadors to deliver learning and career advice to both A-Level and GCSE Media Studies students. At present all ex-Hampstead Media Studies students are all enrolled at university in a variety of degrees from Media Communications to Photography to Film Studies to English Literature and Creative Writing.

Additional Information:

Key Stage 3:

Key Stage 3 English Curriculum Map

National Curriculum for Key Stage 3 from September 2014

Recommended Authors

Key Stage 4:


Year 11 Language Exam – Foundation

GCSE English Language Exam – Higher Tier

GCSE Language Terms

Browning Anthology