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Dartford Grammar School


Much of our work originates in and leads to oral activities so that students may develop their listening skills and their ability to communicate confidently and clearly in a range of individual and collaborative tasks. Students are taught to use Standard English, where appropriate, from Year 7. The English Language GCSE/ MYP have Spoken Language components, and one unit in KS5 is assessed verbally. They are taught how to read for different purposes and to understand the way meanings are made. Equal Opportunities issues are addressed through reading, and we aim to encourage empathy so that each student approaches issues such as race, culture, gender, ability and disability with tolerance and insight through an increasingly diverse and open-minded curriculum. The social, political and ethical issues explored in many of the texts we choose to study increase in difficulty throughout their study of English, which develop students’ understanding of global issues and concepts, which establish them as internationally minded citizens. These often coincide with issues within the PSHE curriculum enabling students to relate ideas and issues within texts to real-life situations. 

The department also offers a vibrant co-curriculum, which involves external writing workshops with the National Theatre, as part of the New Views programme, writing for the school magazine DGS Chapter or taking part in debating competitions. Students are also invited to take part in workshops with visiting poets, and also attend theatre trips to deepen their understanding of texts studied.  

Key Stage 3

Students are offered a rigorous and diverse three-year course within a MYP framework which provides a solid foundation for the key skills examined in KS4 and KS5. Students are helped to develop emotionally and intellectually through reading and we encourage them to establish, from Year 7, a habit of regular and independent reading for pleasure. We teach them how to understand and evaluate the author’s craft, and how to make an informed personal response to what they read. We aim to develop students' ability to read, enjoy and analyse a wide range of texts, including contemporary and classic literary texts from a variety of cultures and traditions, as well as non-literary texts. Students are regularly assessed against the 4 MYP criteria. Whole school literacy is embedded in KS3 lessons through bespoke SPaG resources. 

Texts studied include: 

  • Coraline 
  • WW1 poetry 
  • Poetry from other cultures
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Animal Farm
  • A View From the Bridge 
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Non-Fiction writers 

 Key Stage 4

All students are examined in English Language and English Literature, studying the Edexcel 9-1 syllabus. The English Language GCSE course places significant emphasis on linguistic competence through writing in a variety of forms for a range of purposes and audiences, and to increase their awareness of the writing process itself – from planning to proofreading and correction. The English Literature GCSE course requires students to study a demanding selection of literature, with increasing emphasis on the understanding and incorporation of context, and their ability to respond to unseen poetry. 

Texts studied include: 

  • An Inspector Calls 
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Macbeth 
  • Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 
  • Conflict or Relationships anthology poetry 
  • Unseen poetry

Key Stage 5

Students can study Standard or Higher Level English Literature A, or English Literature and Performance. The emphasis of the courses is even more firmly on the individual's discriminating response, autonomy, responsibility and his/ her ability to communicate in a lucid style in speech and writing. Students study a range of twentieth and pre-twentieth century literature for examination and coursework. Literature A also involves the study of texts in translation and their contribution to the world's common literary heritage. Students are encouraged to attend external lectures, workshops and theatre productions to support their studies.  

Texts studied include: 

  • A Streetcar Named Desire 
  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold 
  • Maya Angelou poetry 
  • Martin Luther King speeches 
  • Othello 
  • The Bloody Chamber 
  • Things Fall Apart  

Key documents


  1. English GCSE course companion: Literature
  2. English GCSE course companion: Language
  3. IB English Literature – Standard Level Course Companion
  4. IB English Literature – Higher Level Course Companion
  5. Extra-curricular activities and clubs