Mr Alex Garner, Head of English

After graduating in English in 2003, Mr Garner considered a teaching career straight away but decided to pursue a career in Law. Having gained his legal qualifications, he realised that he needed to be around stories rather than statutes! He began his teaching journey 16 years ago and has enjoyed it immensely. He is passionate about instilling a love of literature and language in all children. He has furthered his interest in educational pedagogy by completing the National Professional Qualification in Middle Leadership. In his spare time, Mr Garner enjoys reading, writing and composing music.


Subject Overview

The English Department at St. Francis’ aims to instil the following values: a love of literature, an understanding of self, of other people and of society; an appreciation of the use of language , according to purpose and context and the development of critical capacities and self-confidence.

Our experienced and passionate English teachers provide girls with every opportunity to develop a love for the written and spoken word. We aim for high standards, encourage creativity and individual expression and put a strong focus on the value of independent reading

Programme of Study

Key Stage 3:

Year 7

  • Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah.
  • A Midsummer’s Night Dream by William Shakespeare
  • Creative Writing
  • Treasure Island (Play Version)
  • Poetry Through the Ages

Year 8

  • Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
  • Persuasive Writing
  • The Empress by Tanika Gupta
  • 19th Century Fiction
  • Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

Year 9

  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  • Travel Writing
  • The Gothic
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
  • Speech Writing

Key Stage 4:

IGCSE English Language
Examination Board: Pearson

The Pearson Edexcel International GCSE in English Language (Specification A) is a linear qualification. All components must be taken at the end of the course of study.
The content features a relevant, up-to-date and engaging selection of texts ranging from British heritage to modern international.
It is a choice of a 100 per cent external assessment, or a 60 per cent external examination and 40 per cent internal non-examined assessment option. Students may also complete the optional Spoken Language Endorsement.
It builds a foundation for students wishing to progress to Pearson Edexcel International AS and Advanced Level in English Language, or equivalent qualifications.

The aims of this qualification are to enable students to develop:

  • reading and responding to material from a variety of sources
  • making comparisons between texts and analysing the ways in which writers achieve their effects
  • the ability construct and convey meaning in written language, matching style to audience and purpose
  • spoken language skills

Course Content

1. Non-fiction Texts and Transactional Writing (60%)
  • Section A: Reading – a mixture of short- and long-answer questions related to a non-fiction text from Part 1 of the Pearson Edexcel International GCSE English Anthology and one previously unseen extract.
  • Section B: Transactional Writing – one 45-mark writing task, from a choice of two involving a given audience, form or purpose
2. Poetry and Prose Texts and Imaginative Writing (40%)
  • Assignment A: Poetry and prose texts – one 30-mark essay question based on any three poetry or prose texts from Part 2 of the Pearson Edexcel International GCSE English Anthology.
  • Assignment B: Imaginative writing – one 30-mark imaginative writing task
  • Creative Writing Club
  • Poetry Competitions

GCSE English Literature
Examination Board: Pearson

The aims of this qualification are to enable students to develop:

  • the ability to read and respond to a wide range of literary texts from around the world
  • an appreciation of the ways in which writers use literary effects and develop the skills needed for literary study
  • exploration of the writer’s use of language to create effects
  • enjoyment in reading literature.

Course Content

1. Shakespeare and Post-1914 Literature (60%)
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley
2. 19th Century Novel and Poetry Since 1879 (40%)
  • Unseen Poetry
  • Conflict Poetry
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

A Level English
Examination Board: Edexcel

A Level students follow the OCR English Literature specification.
A wide range of texts are studied in close detail and students are encouraged to develop confidence in expressing their own interpretations, informed by wider background and critical reading.

The aims of this qualification are to enable students to:

  • read widely and independently set texts and others that they have selected for themselves
  • engage critically and creatively with a substantial body of texts and ways of responding to them
  • develop and effectively apply their knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation
  • explore the contexts of the texts they are reading and others’ interpretations of them
  • undertake independent and sustained studies to deepen their appreciation and understanding of English literature, including its
  • changing traditions.

Course Content

1. Drama (30%)
  • King Lear by William Shakespeare
  • A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
2. Prose (20%)
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
3. Poetry (30%)
  • Christina Rossetti
  • Forward Book of Poetry
4. Coursework (20%)
  • A Comparative piece around a chosen text on two themes
  • Year 13 book club
  • Shakespeare Society

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