English has a pre-eminent place in education and society; it is a subject fundamental to personal and intellectual growth. The study of English ensures students become confident readers and writers. It also encourages students to think creatively, critically and independently so that they can articulate their ideas with clarity and confidence in a range of ways.

English at Rye Hills Academy is an immersive experience, exposing students to classics such as Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’, to the more modern works of Willy Russell’s ‘Blood Brothers’’ and the poetry of Maya Angelou.

Students will journey through the literary canon, beginning in Medieval England with Beowulf and Geoffrey Chaucer before travelling on to meet William Shakespeare’s ‘star-cross’d lovers’ Romeo and Juliet. Pupils can meet brooding Romantic heroes like Wordsworth and Blake before arriving in the Victorian period with Brontë, Browning and Dickens’ festive seminal work ‘A Christmas Carol’. The journey concludes in the modern era where they explore 1930s America and the unlikely friendship of George and Lennie in Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’, followed by the social inequality of Edwardian England with Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’, as well as a range of poetry from diverse and exciting voices.

Students study a rich and challenging curriculum. From engaging with ideas from a wide variety of texts to opportunities for self-expression and creativity in both spoken and written contexts, studying English at Rye Hills Academy nurtures self-expression and reflective thought. Throughout the key stages, students will encounter a range of literary genres and forms, ranging from Jacobean drama and courtly love poetry to a whole host of non-fiction diaries, essays, letters and autobiographies. We take a cross-curricular approach, encouraging students to think about the social, political and historical context alongside developing their own voice. As well as following the curriculum, students will be encouraged to read for pleasure, experiencing a diverse range of literature as a platform for exploring new ideas, developing critical thinking skills and learning more about the world around them. Students will be inspired by great thinkers such as activist Martin Luther King, environmentalist Greta Thunberg and suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

Our ‘Keys to Success’ literacy programme ensures students learn the fundamental skills to help them progress not only in English but across the whole curriculum. Students enjoy English because it is varied, fast-paced and fun. Every student is inspired to believe in their potential and to aim high. They acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language. Throughout their academic career here, students develop the ability to write accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We endeavour to ensure all students become competent orators, including: making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate. 

Curriculum information 






  • Introduction to the Canon – a timeline of British literary heritage
  • Moments that Changed the World – developing speech writing skills through the study of key historical events of the twentieth century


  • Gory Gothic Writing – Fiction writing inspired by Victorian Literature
  • Much Ado About Nothing – Shakespeare’s funniest play and feistiest heroine
  • Individual Voices Poetry – explore a range of poems from the Romantic era to the modern day
  • Victorian Britain and Oliver Twist – Explore the twisting alleyways of Victorian London through the words of the those that walked upon them, including the great British writer, Charles Dickens.


  • It's a Man's World - NF Writing
  • Blood Brothers – travel back to 20th century Liverpool for Willy Russell’s tragic family saga


  • Romeo and Juliet – meet the most famous couple in literature
  • Of Mice and Men – appreciate the heart-warming friendship of George and Lennie in 1930s America
  • Of Mice and Men – appreciate the heart-warming friendship of George and Lennie in 1930s America
  • Hope in a Ballet Shoe: Orphaned by war, saved by ballet. Discover the extraordinary true story of Michaela DePrince’s escape from Sierra Leone to the Boston ballet.


  • Animal Farm – George Orwell’s political allegory is a 20th century British classic
  • Short Stories – develop your narrative writing skills as you learn how to produce your own short story.
  • Diverse Voices – listen to the voices of contemporary poets and write your own dramatic monologue
  • Tragedy – meet the Greek chorus, tragic heroes, and explore the conventions of this epic genre
  • A Search for Truth – Deepen your knowledge of Non-Fiction Writing as you delve into the controversial world of investigative journalism
  • Say it Out Loud – embrace your inner orator by performing a passionate speech


  • Macbeth
  • A Christmas Carol - Dickens’ famous tale of redemption and change
  • Viewpoints and perspectives – compare and contrast the great thinkers of the Victorian era with modern journalism
  • An Inspector Calls - Evaluate Priestley's post-war political ideas 
  • Writers’ Viewpoints and perspectives – compare and contrast the great thinkers of the Victorian era with modern journalism
  • Power and Conflict Poetry – read poetry across time and genre and explore the perennial questions


  • An Inspector Calls – J.B. Priestley’s moral social polemic explores the vices of the Edwardian era
  • Power and Conflict and Unseen Poetry 
  • Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing  
  • Macbeth – deepen your knowledge of Shakespeare’s meaning and messages
  • A Christmas Carol – cultivate a conceptual understanding of this classic text
  • Non-fiction writing 
  • Writers’ Viewpoints and perspectives 

English teachers at Rye Hills Academy don’t just put all their efforts into delivering interesting and exciting lessons for students, they are fully invested in promoting a range of English and Literacy-themed events across the year. Roald Dahl Day, National Poetry Day, Black History Month, Shakespeare’s birthday and finally World Book Day, which has always been a major event in Rye Hills Academy; English teachers decorate their classroom doors inspired by their favourite book covers and share a host of reading challenges with students.

The English department hosts many extra-curricular clubs including Debate Club, where students discuss the issues of the day and hone their arguing skills; the Reading Rebels, for those who wish to share their love of classic literature and Creative Writing Club, where students have the opportunity to write in a range of different forms and experiment with language and vocabulary.