English Department Staff

For more information about the Subject curriculum, please contact: Mrs D Dolman the Curriculum Leader.

  • Mrs D Dolman - Curriculum Leader and Assistant Headteacher
  • Mrs L Bache - Drama subject leader and English teacher
  • Mr S Caddle - English Teacher
  • Mrs C Cornwell - English Teacher
  • Mr L Duckworth - Second in Department
  • Mrs G Henderson - English Teacher
  • Miss F McCutcheon - English Teacher and Whole School Literacy Lead.
  • Mrs B O’ Neill - English Teacher
  • Mrs M Rogerson - SENCO and English teacher

"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark" Victor Hugo

Balshaw’s English Department Curriculum Intent:

"We will work together to share and promote an enjoyment of reading; to support students in becoming effective and confident communicators, and nurture students in becoming independent and adaptable learners.”

Our intent is to offer students a wide range of challenging texts to give them a foundation of knowledge of important classic, world and modern literature. Through studying these texts, as well as a range of non-fiction texts, we develop analytical reading, oracy, and accurate written communication.

We explore the questions: How does the writer engage or influence us? How as writers can we engage or influence our readers?

Aspects of the Key Learning in English include:

  • The understanding that any text is a deliberate construct and an increasing awareness of a writer at work.
  • The understanding that literature texts are a product of time and place; the importance of context.
  • The understanding that through literature, readers and writers make meaning and explore the human condition.
  • There are agreed rules of spelling, punctuation and grammar to help make meaning clear.

We aim to help students:

  • Develop oracy skills to a high level, in which pupils are encouraged to verbally express themselves clearly, cogently and in a manner befitting the context.
  • Develop active listening skills so that they are able to respond to others in a courteous, respectful and purposeful manner.
  • Take part in formal debates so that they can explore their own viewpoints thoroughly.
  • Develop inference and critical analysis skills when fostering a love of reading.
  • Write accurately and imaginatively for a range of purposes and audiences, using the highest quality language and structural devices.
  • Hone their own writing ‘voice’.
  • Develop a love of reading and knowledge of the literary canon.
  • Develop a repertoire of ambitious vocabulary so that pupils are equipped with the language required to express themselves in a sophisticated manner.
  • Reflect upon their own social and moral viewpoints and change/alter them accordingly.

Aspects of our learning journey:

At Balshaw’s, the learning journey which was started at primary, continues through Key Stage 3 and 4.

Year 7 English begins with us reading a novel together. The new book for 2024 is ‘When the Sky Falls’ by Phil Earle. This sets us off on our journey by establishing the importance and enjoyment of reading from the start.

Our Key Stage 3 schemes include major works of literature, including Shakespeare and Dickens, and a range of other texts covering classic through to current writers. Through a variety of texts, we explore the key question ‘How does the writer engage or influence readers?’ Leading to students, as writers, developing ways to engage or influence their readers.

In Year 7, through the theme of ‘School’, students study extracts from Jane Eyre, Laurie Lee’s ‘Cider with Rosie’, modern poetry and non-fiction passages. Year 7 students also study the topic ‘Villains in Literature’ where we study famous villains. This is followed by Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, where as well as studying the play, there is a focus on Tybalt as a villain.

In Year 8, as well as reading ‘Oliver Twist’, we study the work of our current Poet Laureate: Simon Armitage. Year 8 develop their persuasive writing skills by studying ‘The Art of Rhetoric’ and end the year studying Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’, examining how Brutus uses rhetoric in his speech.

Year 9 begins with studying war poetry in the lead up to Remembrance Day.  Year 9 also includes the study short stories from other cultures, times and traditions and the classic ‘Seminal World Literature’ text; ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.

Year 9 also includes a range of extracts from important recent writers.

In Years 10 and 11, we study the EDUQAS GCSE English and English Literature course, interleaving the two GCSEs.

Further information about the GCSE can be found here: https://www.eduqas.co.uk/qualifications/english-language-gcse/#tab_overview

We also offer, as an option, EDUQAS GCSE Film Studies.


Please see the following documents for more information:

How We Assess In English

Vocabulary, Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar

Year 7 English Long Term Plan

Year 8 English Long Term Plan

Year 9 English Long Term Plan

The English Department Key Stage 4 Schemes of Work

The department follows the EDUQAS GCSE English course for English Language and Literature and also offers EDUQAS GCSE Media Studies as an option subject.

GCSE English Language and Literature Long Term Plan




Year 11 English Revision Materials

GCSE English Language

GCSE English Language and Literature

Extra-curricular Activities

We host a range of extra-curricular activities in school and visits out of school.

In school there is a weekly ‘Young Writers’ Club’ and we run regular writing competitions and events including National Poetry Day activities in lessons.

In addition, in 2024 we held our first ‘Poetry by Heart’ competition, where students chose, learned and performed a poem. This was very successful.

The department has hosted theatre performances in school; for the last five years, we have had a live performance of ‘A Christmas Carol’ in school for the whole of Year 11 and in 2024 we hosted a live professional performance of ‘An Inspector Calls’.

We have also taken groups of Year 8 students to visit the beautiful John Rylands’ Library in Manchester to take part in a creative writing workshop, inspired by the gothic style architecture.

We have been regular competitors in the Rotary ‘Youth Speaks’ competition and more recently has successes in The English Speaking Union.

Theatre trips have included seeing the RSC’s production of Romeo and Juliet and ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Bolton Octagon.

All students are encourage to take part in our House Cup Challenge writing competitions.