‘Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.’ 

Curriculum Intent

The aim of the English curriculum at The Dorcan Academy is to nurture the exploratory and imaginative minds of young learners through the cultural knowledge and understanding of popular inspirational literary texts. For this reason, the English curriculum is continuously adapted, refined and modernised to reflect the current world in which we are living, as after all, ‘knowledge is generative’. As evaluative and analytical English teachers, we constantly battle the rapid progression of technology, trying to stimulate a joy of reading and writing rather than scrolling social media or watching the novel when it “comes out on Netflix”. To combat the fast-paced technological world, we have fostered an inclusive and practical approach through our four-strand programme of reading, writing, literacy, and oracy. We inspire students to read famous literary works such as Shakespeare and Steinbeck, write using their imagination during Just Write lessons, reflect and quick check their literacy development through the library literacy lessons and express their voices through their termly oracy challenge. Not only do we follow this four-strand programme in class, but we also promote it for independent learning as students complete their termly English home-learning booklet.

Alongside curriculum-based skills, we aim to foster a wide range of career-based skills and knowledge in the classroom, ranging from the role of a director for Willy Russell, to becoming a dystopian author and writing a bespoke story on the gothic towns of Swindon. The importance of exploring oneself has always been paramount in the English classroom which is why we intend for our students to gain a high level of public understanding, so that they can begin to make connections between the classroom and the wider world, from being a War Photographer (Carol Ann Duffy) to understanding what life was like growing up as a young boy in India (Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book). We intend for our students to grow as carers, thinkers and academics who show compassion, courage, gratitude, personal responsibility, and resilience, and have structured the curriculum to target each of these character virtues. We believe all students should aspire to greatness and aim to inspire those around them, and that is what we aim to do, as teachers, every day


In English Language last year, 66.7% of students achieved grades 9 to 5; and 88.9% achieved grades 9 to 4.

In English Literature last year, 68.3% of students achieved grades 9 to 5; and 84.4% achieved grades to 4.

What we study – Topic Overview

 Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
Year 7LC1: Creative WritingLP1: NovelLP2: Modern Text: PlayLC2: Transactional WritingLP1: ShakespeareLP2: Poetry  
Year 8LC1: Creative WritingLP1: The Novel  LP2: Modern Text: NovelLC2: Transactional WritingLP1: Shakespeare  LP2: Poetry
Year 9LC1: Creative WritingLP1: The Novel

LP2: Modern Text: PlayLC2: Transactional WritingLP1: Shakespeare:LP2: Poetry
Year 10Language Component 1LP1: NovelLanguage Component 2LP1: Shakespeare:LP2: PoetrySpoken Language
Year 11LP2: Drama: Play  Lang Comp 1 3 weeks Unseen Poetry – 2 weeks A Christmas Carol 2 weeksLang Comp 2 3 weeks Romeo & Juliet – 3 weeks  Anthology poetry 3 weeks Blood Brothers – 3 weeksACC – 1 week R&J – 1 week BB – 1 week Poetry – 1 week LC1 – 1 week LC2 – 1 week 

How we assess

In English, students are assessed in Language through their reading and creative writing, and in Literature through their ability to critically analyse and evaluate. Students are assessed in a variety of ways which include, but are not limited to: questioning, quizzes, homework booklets, extended writing tasks and quick fire tests. Once a term, they are assessed formatively on their end of term assessment. This takes place for every unit, every term, six times a year. This assessment shows how much progress the student has made from the previous year when they sat a similar assessment and set targets for improvement.

Meet the team

Mr Iain Kemp – Head of English Faculty

Mr Darren Evans – Deputy Head of English

Ms Naomi Ball – English Lead practitioner and Literacy Lead

Ms Yolanda Barton – English teacher

Mrs Olivia Jones – English teacher, Assistant Headteacher (Director of Teaching and Learning)

Mrs Charlotte McKenna – English teacher, SENCO Serah Whatley – English Teacher,

Mr Thomas Paterson – English teacher

Mrs Serah Whatley – English teacher, Literacy and Subject Leader Health and Social

Curriculum Allocation

All students will study English throughout their career at The Dorcan Academy. In Year 7 and 8, students in the extended pathway will have 6 lessons a fortnight, whilst students in the central pathway have 7. In year 9 this allocation increased by 1 lesson per pathway.  Of these lessons there is at least one which is delivered through the library to celebrate and maximise reading potential.

In Years 10 and 11 all students have 8 lessons of English a fortnight, during which both English Language and English Literature are delivered.

Enrichment Opportunities

In English, we offer a variety of theatre trips to watch classic texts come to life, and to meet famous authors. Some of the trips we have had in the last two years include: Blood Brothers, A Christmas Carol, and the Literature festival which is now in its fourteenth year and offers students the chance to meet and question world famous authors. Y7 students also take part in Poetry live with Ash Dickinson, the famous author, who collaborates with the students and inspires them to create their own poetry. Further to this, English offers five enrichment clubs – Library Live, Book Club, Literature in the library and Riveting Read, and for the first time this year, Magna Club.  

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The Dorcan Academy
St. Paul’s Drive
Covingham, Swindon
Wiltshire SN3 5DA
Switchboard: 01793 525231
Fax: 01793 431461
Email: enquiries@dorcan.co.uk
The Dorcan Academy is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales under company number 07831414. The registered office is St. Paul’s Drive, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN3 5DA.