English Language and Literature


English Language and English Literature equips students with skills necessary for future success in school, university and life. The two GCSEs explore reading strategies and writing skills, through creative exploration of a number of text types.

Students from Year 9 onwards begin to hone the skills which will ultimately be examined at the end of Year 11. The students study the Literature and Language courses concurrently and will gain two discrete GCSE results, graded from 9-1.

The exam courses test a variety of imaginative and transactional writing skills as well as close reading skills. Across the examined paper and coursework for English Language, the students will learn to read and interpret non-fiction texts such as extracts from newspaper articles and autobiographical essays and will write their own letters and stories. Here they have the chance to show off their impressive vocabularies and ability to manipulate ideas to suit a variety of audiences and purposes. The Literature papers celebrate prose, poetry and drama and range from the classical to the contemporary.

With a rich array of text choice and task variety students enjoy their English lessons, learn vital skills in communication and develop a life-long appreciation of language and literature.


At Eltham we intend to encourage and extend an enjoyment, appreciation and understanding of English, and to create an atmosphere where students wish to learn.

Students will experience a variety of activities during their course of study and be given opportunities to discuss, argue and debate their views. Department staff will aim to show the benefits that language and literature have brought us, by way of well-chosen resources and careful comment.

The department enthusiastically pursues the following academic aims:

  • To foster students’ ability to read accurately and independently, and to distinguish between a broad spectrum of texts through extensive reading
  • To develop students’ ability to write clearly, accurately, imaginatively and analytically with a wide vocabulary in a variety of forms
  • To develop students’ knowledge about different kinds of English, and about language, by exploring the structure and origin of words
  • To enable students to speak confidently in a range of circumstances, and to listen and respond appropriately
  • To encourage students’ informed personal responses, and to promote an awareness of, and respect for, other people’s perspectives
  • To create an environment where students enjoy their English lessons and increase in confidence orally and on paper

Years 7, 8 and 9

In Years 7 and 8, students have five lessons per week and are set two pieces of homework. In Year 9, students have four lessons of English per week. Here too, they are set two pieces of homework.

Students are set a variety of topics, including creative writing and exploration of Shakespeare, to ensure they are well prepared for the GCSE years. We follow the King’s College, University of London ‘Let’s Think in English’ programme in Year 7 and 8. We also employ units of the ‘Grammar for Writing’ approach, developed by the University of Exeter.


In Years 10 and 11 we follow the IGCSE (Edexcel) English Language (A) and IGCSE (Edexcel) English Literature courses. As a core subject, all students will study these two qualifications.

At GCSE, students have six lessons per week and will be set two pieces of homework per week. Details can be found by clicking the earlier hyperlinks, but students can expect to explore non-fiction, both writing and reading, modern and Shakespearean drama, a prose text, and poetry.

Both qualifications are 60% examination and 40% coursework.  The coursework is completed in Year 10 and 11, and the examinations are sat at the end of Year 11.

Trips, Activities and Clubs

There are opportunities for students to be involved in the following activities:

  1. Writing for, and editing, the school magazine;
  2. Taking part in the Lecture Competition for Years 7 to 9;
  3. Weekly Scrabble Club;
  4. Weekly Debating Club;
  5. Lunchtime assistance for those who find certain aspects of English challenging;
  6. Creative Writing group – a group that meets weekly to produce an anthology of writing and is open to all years;
  7. Reading clubs, across all year groups.

We also regularly run trips to London theatres.

  • Mr C Cook BA, MA (Cantab) (Head of English)
  • Mr T Mitchell BA (Head of Creative Writing)
  • Ms V Barsby BA
  • Miss E Bush MA (Hons)
  • Mr J Smith BA (Hons)
  • Mrs N Whittaker BA, MA (Oxon)


School News

The latest leg of the Hans Woyda Mathematics Competition concluded on Wednesday with an impressive showcase of mathematical skills at St Dunstan’s College.
Last evening marked a significant milestone for the Eltham College Hans Woyda Team as they took the stage for their eagerly anticipated second league match of the academic year.
For our first ‘Meet The Teacher’ interview this academic year, we are diving into the world of mathematics to introduce André Astbury-Palmer, our new Maths Teacher at Eltham College.
Our Head of Junior School at Eltham College, Vikki Meier, shares her insights on the important decision of choosing the right school for your child.
On Sunday, our Chess team travelled to Eton to participate in the National Schools Rapid Play competition.