Thurston Community College

English Curriculum

Intent of English

Using a range of literature and non-fiction writing as a vehicle, students will develop a reflective appreciation of their world, its history, trace its social movements and map its cultural landscapes while developing their skills of comprehension, analysis, and evaluation.

The vision of TCC’s English curriculum is to turn our students into literary explorers, confident in their own English literary heritage, but also traversing cultures, voices, and experiences beyond their own rural Suffolk setting.

Students will acquire the breadth of vocabulary and command of language necessary to describe their world in its richest sense and articulate the richness of their experiences in life. As George R. R. Martin describes:

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” 

In light of this, we aim to arm students with the command of language necessary to describe their world since it is the ability to articulate your experience that allows you to truly live the experience.

Reading at KS3 leading to Literature and Language at KS4 and 5

Students will commence their reading journey in Key Stage 3 by exploring a rich and diverse range of literature which allows students to trace the world’s social movements and map its cultural landscapes while concurrently developing their skills of comprehension, analysis and evaluation which form the foundation of GCSE and A Level English Literature. 

Across all key stages our students study a wide range of 19th, 20th and 21st century texts. In Key Stage 3 our students are immersed in a variety of literary heritage plays and poetry from writers like Shakespeare, Shelley, Wordsworth, and Owen to broader explorations of genre traditions in the Gothic. Students also explore modern and culturally diverse classics by writers like Morpurgo, Swindells, Gratz, Lee and Steinbeck in order to gain the cultural capital necessary to succeed as they move through the College. 

At Key Stage 3, students will also develop their love of reading for pleasure by regularly reading popular best sellers to establish a reading culture.

At Key Stage 4, students will learn to appreciate their Literature texts as works of art rather than simply exam texts and in so doing continue to deepen their appreciation of their literary heritage. Students will study writers like Dickens and Stevenson from the 19th Century, a Shakespeare play, and either Power and Conflict poetry or Love and Relationships poetry. Key Stage 5 Literature exposes students to thought provoking and challenging texts that will allow them to question social preconceptions. At these higher levels of study, students are taught to consider the intent behind works of literature and messages authors are able to instil in their writing. The Gothic genre thread that runs through Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 is developed at Key Stage 5 through the study of writers like Stoker, Walpole, and Carter, while the threads of Identity and Relationships culminate in the study of Rossetti’s poetry and Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

Writing at KS3 and 4, leading to English Literature and English Language at KS5

Students will learn to see themselves as imaginative and articulate writers. Throughout Key Stage 3 and GCSE study, students will acquire the breadth of vocabulary and command of language necessary to describe their world in its richest sense. Since it is the ability to articulate one’s experience that allows one to truly live the experience, students will learn to write in different forms and from different perspectives across their seven year journey.

In Key Stage 3, students will learn to develop their own authorial voice by writing short stories, descriptive passages, polemic pieces, and transactional media. Students will also learn writing craft by editing, redrafting, and writing commentaries in order to develop the determination and reflective skills it takes to hone a piece of writing. Students will also engage in fortnightly activities dedicated to vocabulary accumulation to continually build students’ ‘word hoard’.

At Key Stage 4 students will develop their own unique authorial voice further by looking at more sophisticated style models from the modern media and will explore how extended metaphors, conceits, and plot twists can enhance the structure of their writing as well as its language. This culminates in an optional piece of original writing at either English Language A Level or English Literature A Level where students will emulate forms and writers they have studied, along with an accompanying commentary detailing their linguistic choices.

Threads of powerful knowledge in English

English involves a set of general themes that provide the basis for:

  • Becoming a writer - whether academic, transactional, or creative (including technical accuracy),
  • Literary Heritage- Literary genres (e.g. Gothic) and writers (Shakespeare, Shelley, etc) that will inform students understanding of GCSE and A Level texts,
  • Conflict - exploring diversity of perspectives on conflict,
  • Identity - in terms of gender, race, nationality, religion, etc.
  • Relationships - exploring human interaction along with the complexities and subtleties of emotion that comes with it,
  •  Immersive reading - developing a love and appreciation for different types of reading and the skills of inference, analysis, and evaluation that come with this.

Cultural reading and enrichment in English

  • Cultural reading is encouraged at Key Stage 3 through extended homework projects offering varying levels of challenge and wider reading.  At Key Stage 4, research projects on GCSE literature texts expose students to scholarly criticism
  • The English department also has subscriptions to platforms like MassoLit and EMagazine where students can experience university style lectures and scholarship
  • Enrichment is offered through termly creative writing competitions open to all year groups and celebrated in assemblies 
  • Depending on availability, the department also runs trips to the theatre to see any productions relevant to the curriculum
  • A reading book is essential equipment for all Key Stage 3 students and independent reading time is built into English lessons. 

Links to more information