English at Arden is a core subject not only in name: it is the foundation of your child's success in most other areas of study. We have worked hard to create a balanced curriculum which not only covers course requirements but also exposes your child to a wide range of literary and writing experiences. Lessons are always challenging, lively and, of course, enjoyable as we seek to develop a personal written style and a critical approach to reading. Students are always stretched to help them achieve their aspirations and those who need support are nurtured where necessary.

Students leave Arden with excellent communication skills that are explicitly taught during English lessons. There is formal assessment of Speaking and Listening at GCSE but we integrate tasks into every scheme of work, from Year 7 upwards, to ensure that discussion, presentation and debate are a regular part of all areas of study. Students are encouraged to express ideas and formulate arguments, and the best lessons are often the ones where their talk dominates. Similarly, essay writing is another of our students' strengths: our record in formal examinations clearly exemplifies the ability of students of communicate their ideas on the page.

We aim to promote and encourage independent learning as part of English. As far as possible, students are helped to develop their own critical skills so that they can approach texts as active readers. This faculty is of paramount importance within the new GCSE courses where coursework is assessed in controlled conditions; we aim to prepare students so that facing an essay in these challenging restrictions is a positive experience. Our explicit grammar teaching, from Year 7 upwards, ensures that students are technically accurate with an appropriate written style.

We have an excellent examination record at GCSE and A Level and currently offer the following examinations:

Year 10 and Year 11

  • Edexcel English Language
  • Edexcel English Literature

Year 12

  • OCR English Literature AS new specification
  • Edexcel English Language/Literature AS new specification

Year 13

OCR English Literature A2 new specification

  • Edexcel English Language/Literature A2 new specification


All pupils study English for five years at Arden. At Key Stage 3, Year 7 and Year 8 have 7 lessons over the fortnight, Year 9 have 6 lessons. At Key Stage 4, students have seven lessons over the fortnight in Year 10 and Year 11. Homework is regularly set to support work covered in lessons: it might take the form of further reading; essay practice; creative writing or preparation for a Speaking and Listening assessment. Key Stage 5 classes have five timetabled hours per week and are expected to undertake at least a similar amount of independent work outside lessons.

    "Creativity is a muscle, you have to use it every day."

Key Stage 3

In Year 7 after initially working through a transition unit pupils will work on biography, autobiography and blogs. Pupils will cover a range of different writing styles and produce their own piece of autobiographical writing.

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Key Stage 4

The courses studied by Year 11 pupils and Year 10 pupils will not be the same.  New GCSEs have been introduced and there are significant differences between the new ones being studied by Year 10 pupils and the previous ones being studied by Year 11.

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Key Stage 5

A levels in English are changing.  All the information about the new courses can be found here.

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