As a school we strive to give all our students the necessary skills in speaking and listening, reading and writing, within the requirements of the National Curriculum.

All students are assessed on entry with reading being a key part of this.  We provide extra help on a one-to-one basis and use accelerated reader to monitor what students are reading and monitor comprehension. This reading programme helps students to make good progress and encourages students to move forward with their learning with an individual plan.  All pupils are tested termly as this allows us to check the effectiveness of our programme as well as to monitor all our pupils’ progress in this vital area of the curriculum.  

In Key Stage 3 (years 7-9) pupils experience a range of literature and writing styles. We study extended class readers (at least one every year) as well as encountering English literature, both pre-1914 and contemporary, including prose, poetry, drama and seminal world literature.  Students are given differentiated programmes to help them make as much progress as possible. The breadth of literature and subjects covered introduces the students to ideas of democracy, mutual respect, tolerance and the rule of law.

By year 9 students will be encouraged to be more independent learners with a focus on what needs to be achieved for accreditation.


The learning aims in Key Stage 4 for English at Windlestone School are to inspire and motivate all students, providing appropriate stretch and challenge whilst ensuring that the assessment and texts are accessible to the full range of abilities.

All students...

...will work towards a qualification in Functional Skills which equips learners with the practical skills needed to live, learn and work successfully. Students will access a variety of non-fiction texts and will be assessed on their reading, writing and speaking/listening skills. Qualifications gained range from an Entry Level 1 to a Level 2 according to an individual’s ability. Students will access exam opportunities throughout years 10 and 11. The exam board used is Pearson Edexcel.

In addition, most students...

...in Key Stage 4 will gain an AQA Step Up to English qualification which is coursework-based. It will encourage students to develop the skills they need to read and understand a range of texts as well as to write clearly, coherently and accurately using a range of vocabulary and sentence structures. A Silver Step accreditation shows that students are working at Entry Level, whereas the Gold Step indicates that a student is GCSE-ready.

Some students...

...will be entered for the new GCSE English Language. At Windlestone School we examine with the exam board AQA. The course has an intensive focus on reading, writing and thinking, as well as promoting communication and is assessed via exam only. Students will study a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st century, including poetry and Shakespeare’s works.

We encourage all pupils to use ‘micro-structures’ (for example ‘PEE’ – Point, Evidence, Explain) to help them focus on details in both coursework and exams. We want to encourage pupils to use their working memory on thinking about language, imagery and writing techniques rather than worrying about structuring the whole response.