“A man can't soar too high, when he flies with his own wings.” William Blake: poet, artist, visionary.

Junior curriculum and Third Form

The English department's main aims are to ensure that pupils enjoy the subject while developing all the skills necessary to become confident and competent users of English.  To this end, the department has developed a comprehensive syllabus (for both English Language and English Literature) which is linked to the National Curriculum requirements, and yet has the flexibility to expand beyond them.

Although the syllabus is prescriptive, we ensure that differentiation enables all pupils to meet their full potential. Special emphasis is placed on the key skills of accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar so that pupils gain confidence to experiment with the written form. They will be expected to write in a variety of different genres, ranging from personal response and storytelling to newspaper articles and parody.  These skills are supported and developed through exposure to a wide variety of reading.  This includes pre and post-Twentieth Century literature, an introduction to Shakespeare and Chaucer, and a variety of non-literature and media texts.  Library periods are built into the syllabus and private reading is actively encouraged and rewarded. A lot of emphasis is also placed on speaking and listening. This builds confidence and enables pupils to articulate their ideas in a persuasive and logical manner. Group work and role-play are an integral part of English teaching at Sutton Valence. In January of the Third Form year, the pupils embark on studying the skills and a set text required for the GCSE course.

Small classes, dedicated staff and a detailed syllabus enable pupils to have a clear focus on their learning.  Regular monitoring of all pupils (including detailed work scrutiny) takes place to ensure that each child's individual needs are addressed.  English is a fundamentally important subject which is recognised and upheld at Sutton Valence. 


GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature

Board: Edexcel IGCSE

English is divided into two subjects (two separate IGCSE grades are awarded) – Language and Literature.  Most pupils will take both subjects.

English Language 

Examination: 60%

Externally assessed through one 2 hour 15 min examination – Non-fiction and transactional writing.

Coursework: 40% 

Poetry and Prose texts and Imaginative writing – two coursework assignments to complete.  These are internally set and assessed, then moderated by Edexcel.

English Literature

Examination: 60%

Externally assessed through one 2 hour examination – poetry and modern prose.

Coursework: 40%

Modern drama and literary heritage texts – two coursework assignments to complete. These are internally set and assessed, then moderated by Edexcel.


A Level

English Literature A Level at Sutton Valence is a very popular and successful subject chosen in the Sixth Form.  Results are consistently strong.  

The A Level course aims to introduce students to a wide variety of literature in English and to develop their critical sense and personal response to the texts they engage with.  The range of literature studied is designed to broaden students' cultural experience, covering a time span from Shakespeare to the present day.  In developing their critical response to texts students will also develop their own ability to express themselves clearly and with an increasing degree of sophistication.  Our aim is fundamentally to add value to all our pupils.  This we certainly achieve—year after year! 

Course structure

The whole A Level course is divided into three units. We follow the OCR specification. The examination units form 80% of the assessment weighting of the full A Level.  The course includes one coursework unit and two written examinations.

Career opportunities

English Literature combines well with a wide variety of subjects and can easily complement scientific disciplines.  Strong combinations include Drama, modern languages, Media Studies, Maths, Music, Art, Humanities and Economics, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Having an A level in English literature shows potential universities and employers that the candidate has an ability to write fluently, structure an argument effectively and read critically.  These are valuable skills for any profession.

 To succeed in this subject, it is important that a student has:

  • A lively and enquiring mind;
  • An excellent work ethic and a desire to succeed;
  • An interest and passion for all literature;
  • A desire to explore new ideas and communicate them effectively;
  • A natural empathy;
  • An ability to write clearly and succinctly

English department staff

Mr Patrick Lee-Browne  (Head of Department),  Mrs Charlotte Westlake (Second in the department), Mr Chris Davenport, Mrs Fiona Porter,  Mrs Sally Rose, Mrs Fiona Gosden, Mrs Becci Ball and Mr Tim Sealy

Mr Patrick Lee-Browne
Head of Department

Contact Us

Sutton Valence School

North Street, Sutton Valence, Kent, ME17 3HL


Tel: 01622 845200

Email: enquiries@svs.org.uk

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