Our philosophy is simple: Believe. Strive. Achieve. The English Department is committed to supporting every learner with the core principals of the subject: reading, writing and spoken English. These principals form the basis of our everyday environments and experiences and being able to demonstrate a good understanding of core literacy strands is crucial to success in life. It is this which drives us and as a result, these form the foundations of our curriculum.

Simply put, English is great to study because it informs every other subject. If you get better at English, you get better at every other subject because English is at the core of our curriculum. English not only teaches you about the core principles of communication: oracy, reading and writing, but it also teaches you about life and culture.

English Literature enables you to immerse yourself in a novel set in another country or in the past and learn about it, or you can read a poem set in another world entirely and find yourself transported there. As well as reading for pleasure, you also get to express your imagination and write creatively. The pen really is mightier than the sword as you have the power to create entire worlds with a bit of ink! You will learn to inform, entertain, argue and persuade, meaning the power of language will be your greatest weapon. The possibilities really are endless and that is what makes English great to study.  


Please contact Head of Department Miss S Peacock for further information



One of the most crucial things you will need to study English is a keen imagination!

However, as well as that, you will also need:

  • Stationery: pen, pencil, ruler, rubber etc.;
  • Exercise book;
  • Any copies of texts you are studying in class;
  • Outside of class, you may occasionally need access to a computer or the internet. The department can always support with this if necessary.


The English Department offers a wealth of extracurricular opportunities, including, but not limited to:

  • Debating Club – we debate with international schools and participate in national competitions across the East Midlands such as ESU’s MACE and Public Speaking competitions;
  • Creative Writing Club – we produce anthologies of work and submit our writing in national competitions;
  • Shakespeare Society – every year, we put on a performance of a Shakespeare play, participating in the Shakespeare Schools Festival, performing at The Drill Hall;
  • Book Club – we read and discuss the latest releases in YA fiction, following the Carnegie Reading Challenge and Readathon;
  • Poetry by Heart – a national poetry recitation competition with the final taking place at London’s National Portrait Gallery;
  • Performing Shakespeare – another national competition where you will get to perform Shakespeare soliloquies with the chance to get through to the final and perform on a London West End stage;
  • Literacy events such as World Book Day and National Poetry Day;
  • Slam Jam – a creative writing regional competition where you will get to perform your own writing at The Drill Hall.


We are committed to helping you achieve in English and progress to your full potential as soon as you join us in Year 7. To help with this, we have our own website to support you which can be found at www.deastonenglish.com. On the website, you will find resources to support every unit of work you study, all the way from Year 7 to A-Level!

Keeping in touch with social media is also important to us. We have our own Instagram page @deastonenglish, where we post revision tips and feature amazing work. We are also in the process of developing our own YouTube channel ‘De Aston English’ where we will post videos to support revision and class work.



  • Big Imagination – a study of genre from Western to Sci-Fi and Romance to Horror
  • Persuasive Writing – an exploration of rhetoric both in Spoken Language and written articles
  • Poetry Please – a study of poetic form culminating in an anthology of original writing
  • From Prose to Playscript: Frankenstein – a study of Pullman’s adaptation of the famous Gothic story
  • Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Forms – using Dahl’s work as a stimulus for non-fiction writing such as a review of the Witches’ hotel or a complaint letter to Mrs Trunchbull
  • Fantasy Class Reader – an exploration of the fantasy genre through a class text such as Coraline, Skulduggery Pleasant, Gregor the Overlander and many more


  • Spooky Stories – this unit focuses on developing your narrative writing skills, culminating in your spookiest story!
  • Shakespearean Comedy – a study of the bard’s comedic treasures!
  • Globetrotting – join us on a journey around the world through literary travel writing;
  • Dystopian Class Reader – an exploration of the dystopian genre through a class text such as Gone, Uglies, The Hunger Games and many more;
  • Poetry from around the World – a study of poetry from different cultures and places;
  • CSI – a non-fiction investigation of a crime scene – what happened to Mr Peters?


  • Romeo and Juliet – a study of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy;
  • Gothic Class Reader – an exploration of the Gothic genre through a class text such as The Graveyard Book, Dolly, The Woman in Black and many more;
  • Presentations of War – a unit considering war writing from WW1 and WW2, ranging from analysis of poetry, prose and film;
  • Revolution Poetry – a close study of our Romantic Poets, considering how revolution and love inspired their writing;
  • Read All About It – an exploration of Victorian non-fiction, taking us to the Whitechapel sensationalist newspaper articles of Jack the Ripper to descriptions of gin palaces and baby farmers;
  • Big Imitation – a study of a range of fiction, both prose and poetry, to learn about writers’ styles and how to imitate these in our own writing.


In Years 10 and 11, we study for two GCSEs: AQA English Language and AQA English Literature.

English Language:

During our study of English Language, we study and analyse a range of fiction from 19th century to modern day, considering closely the use of language and structure. We also look at writers’ techniques and use these language devices in our own original writing, culminating in either narrative or descriptive pieces. Additionally, we study a range of non-fiction from 19th century to modern day, looking closely at writer’s viewpoints and perspectives which we also get to explore in our own opinion based writing.

Examination website for GCSE English Language

English Literature:

As expected, we study a range of texts for English Literature. These include our 19th century text, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a gothic tale of duality in Victorian England.

In terms of our modern text, we look at the timeless An Inspector Calls, a play demanding social responsibility through the guise of a ‘whodunit’. Of course, we haven’t forgotten the Bard! We study Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, considering the rise and fall of our tragic hero and his ‘fiend-like queen’.

Finally, we study a range of poems based around the Power and Conflict cluster in the anthology as well as a selection of Unseen Poetry to effectively prepare for the exam.

Examination website for GCSE English Literature


We offer A2 English Literature at A-Level and it is a varied course focused on genre study. Students will begin by studying Tragedy, looking at classical Shakespearean tragedy through Othello and moving on to modern tragedy with Miller’s Death of a Salesman. We also look at the wonderfully romantic Keats, studying four of his poems and analysing his discussion of tragic heroes and heroines.

Furthermore, we also study Elements of Crime Writing, analysing the gangs on the seafront in Brighton Rock as well as the complex, postmodern text Atonement. Finally, we explore a range of poems from Wilde’s damning approach to prison reform, to Browning and Crabbe’s take on the psychopathic and immoral nature implicit in human nature. All our analysis of crime writing also serves us well for our Unseen Crime unit, exploring crime writing from a range of forms and contexts.

Additionally, students are assessed for two pieces of essay writing submitted as coursework. These demand students to analyse texts through the lens of a theory, in our case, Marxism and Feminism. We currently study a body of Plath, Sexton and Rossetti’s work for the feminism piece as well as the modern text Fight Club for our Marxism perspective.

Examination website for A2 English Literature