Our English Curriculum has been developed to inspire and engage all learners and enable them to achieve their very best. The English Department is passionate team; we are firm believers that equipping every child with literacy skills and a love of reading ensures a bright future at Maplewell – and beyond.

Key Stage 3

Students in Year 7, 8 and 9, study a range of fiction and non-fiction topics designed to encourage creativity, nurture a love of reading and equip them with lifelong literacy skills.

Assessment in Key Stage 3 English is student-centred, designed for students the take control of their learning. The use of a Mastery System empowers our students to identify their own strengths and encourages them to identify the next challenge they will take.

Students identified as needing a little extra support with their reading will follow the Fresh Start Phonics programme in their English lessons, a fast-track scheme designed to boost their reading, spelling and comprehension.

Download the Phonics Catch Up Programme HERE.

Download the Phonics Parent’s Handout HERE.

Key Stage 4

Teaching and Learning in Key Stage 4 builds on the skills students have developed in Key Stage 3, allowing them to stretch and challenge themselves to achieve the qualification which best suits their abilities.

Two Pathways are offered at Key Stage 4. The Pathway followed will be dependent on the students’ Key Stage 3 outcomes, their aspirations and their style of learning. Pathway A students will follow AQA GCSE Language and Literature courses whilst Pathway B students will follow the Level 1 Gateway ‘Certificate in English’ course. Personalised options which combine both courses can also be considered in line with our student-centred ethos.

Assessment at Key Stage 4 follows a similar system to that at KS3, with student-centred assessment frameworks built around the skills needed to follow each Pathway with success. Students follow the GCSE Pathway.

The Maplewell English GCSE revision website can be accessed at https://gcseenglishmaplewell.weebly.com/

Key Stage 5

English at Key Stage 5 offers our students the opportunity to develop the literacy skills necessary for adulthood, whether their next step is employment or a college course. To ensure our students leave with both the required skills and a recognised qualification, we offer the AQA Step Up to English Entry 3 qualification, with the view to completing either an English Language GCSE or Functional Skills Level 1 course in the second year of study. For our students who stay with us after completing the GCSE course in Y11, we offer the opportunity for a resit with the aim being a grade 4 pass.

All students will be assessed and set on a personalised pathway depending on their ability, previous study and future plans.

Qualifications offered:

Step Up to English (AQA)

This qualification is designed to give students an extra boost to prepare them for studying GCSE English Language. It consists of two components completed over a year and assessed internally.

Component 1: Literacy topics – within this component, students study two topics, with choices including Detectives, Travel and Music, and focus on non-fiction texts. Students will be assessed on their reading and speaking and listening skills.

Component 2: Creative Reading and Writing – within this component, students study one topic, with choices including Gothic Horror, Adventures and Sport, and focus on fiction texts. Students will be assessed on their reading and creative writing skills.

Further information about this qualification can be found here: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/elc/step-up-to-english-5970/specification-at-a-glance

GCSE English Language (AQA)

The English Language GCSE consists of two equally-weighted externally assessed papers which assess reading and writing skills, plus an internally assessed speaking and listening task.

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing (fiction texts)

Section A: Reading

  • one literature fiction text

Section B: Writing

  • descriptive or narrative writing

Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives (non-fiction texts)

Section A: Reading

  • one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text

Section B: Writing

  • writing to present a viewpoint – for example, a persuasive speech

 More information about GCSE English Language can be found here: 


Functional Skills (City and Guilds)

The Functional Skills qualification is an externally assessed Level 1 qualification suitable for students planning on following a vocational route.

More information can be found here:


Reading at Maplewell

At Maplewell, all staff are committed to ensuring that reading and literacy underpins every other aspect of the curriculum. Students have a dedicated reading slot in tutor time every day, with the flexibility for private reading, a class read or personalised comprehension activities. In addition to this, KS3 students read at the beginning of every English lesson, with every student having the opportunity to read aloud to their teacher or TA.

To nurture a love of reading amongst our students, we have a well-stocked library with a range of fiction and non-fiction books suitable for all abilities. Students visit the library at least once a week in their English lessons and are supported to choose books which engage, interest and challenge them.

Extra Support

The English Department believes that all students should be treated as individuals and therefore, personalised systems of support in place for students who need additional help with their reading, writing and comprehension.

As well as the KS3 whole-class reading support through the Fresh Start programme, we also timetable one to one sessions for any KS4 and 5 students identified as needing a further boost. Tutor teams also build on any reading support offered in lessons.