English Department

Meet the English Department:

Mrs C Scriven (Joint Head of Department)

I completed my degree in English Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University and then returned to Sheffield to train as an English teacher. I thoroughly enjoy teaching English and love sharing my enthusiasm for reading with students across all key stages. Through the English curriculum we are able to explore many diverse texts and share our understanding that language is empowering.

Mrs J King (Joint Head of Department)

I came to Sheffield to study English and loved the city so much I never left, completing both my degree and PGCE here. It is a real privilege to share my passion for English with students of all ages on a daily basis, and to see young people grow in confidence and maturity as we read, write and perform great literature.

Mrs C Bazeley (Cover supervisor and Departmental Assistant)

I successfully completed a BA, MA and PGCE in History at the University of Sheffield. I thoroughly enjoy teaching lessons across the curriculum and thrive on encouraging students to be the best they can be. I love supporting the English Department, organising theatre trips and lots of other fun things! I aspire to inspire.

Mrs F Brookes (Teacher of English/Head of Year)

I completed my degree in English Studies at Sheffield Hallam University and loved the university so much I continued for another year to become a teacher. As teachers, we are able to make a difference in the lives of young children. I thoroughly enjoy sharing my love of English and equipping children with the life skills they need through reading, writing and drama.

Mrs C Bruno (Teacher of English)

Studying English Language and Linguistics at the University of Sheffield inspired me to further my passion for English and become a secondary English teacher. My aim is to inspire, encourage and motivate students to appreciate and become passionate learners of English; whether it be participating in critical debates or using literature as a form of escapism, the joys are limitless.

Mrs B Holmes (Teacher of English)

I moved to South Yorkshire to study a combined degree in English Literature and Philosophy from The University of Sheffield. I fell in love with the city and continued my career here, returning to the university to complete my PGCE. I love being able to share my love of language with our young people and it is wonderful to see students’ confidence and enjoyment grow as we equip them with crucial life skills.

Miss K Kapur (Teacher of English)

After reading English Language and Linguistics at the University of Sheffield, I studied for my PGCE at King’s College, London. It is a privilege to be able to facilitate enthusiastic, analytical discussions about language use with young people across the key stages. It is a joy to see students discovering the immense power that language has and to see them developing in their ability to express themselves creatively and concisely.

Ms K Knight (Teacher of English)

I read English Literature and French at the University of Sheffield, and graduated with a Joint Honours BA degree, before completing my PGCE at the University of Leicester. I am truly passionate about the written word, hence it is both a pleasure and a privilege to impart my love of literature to all my students. To witness their literary, linguistic and creative development as young people inspires me every day.

Mr S Krzebietka (Teacher of English)

(biography coming soon)

Mr P O’Farrell (Teacher of English)

After studying English at the University of Sheffield, I worked in a range of different professions before deciding to become a teacher. I completed my PGCE at Sheffield Hallam University and love being a teacher. I particularly enjoy sharing my enthusiasm for Literature – how much we can learn about ourselves and our world from reading and discussing great books.

Mrs E Parke (Teacher of English)

I completed my degree in English Language and Literature at Liverpool University. Shortly after, I came to Sheffield to study for my PGCE. I was taken by surprise by how much I loved teaching and have never looked back. I love the all-encompassing nature of teaching English – the discussions it can spark, the different ways that students can explore and express their ideas and the opportunity to continually learn from others.

Ms J Snowdon (Teacher of English)

I did my first degree at Leeds university, my PGCE at Christ Church Canterbury and then went abroad to teach English in China, Sweden, Kuwait and Italy. I came back to Sheffield to finish my MA in English Literature and never got around to leaving again. Teaching English literature is one of my favourite things, especially if it’s Shakespeare.

Mr A Whiteway (Teacher of English)

I completed my BA in English and Cultural Studies at Salford University then completed my PGCE at Sheffield Hallam University. I love to share my passion for English with my students and believe firmly in the value of reading. Through our exploration of Language and Literature we can best prepare our students for the challenges of today’s society.

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Key Stage 3

Students are placed into ability sets from the start of Y7. This ensures every child is given the opportunity to learn at a suitable pace and level. Throughout Y7 and Y8 students study a range of novels, plays, poetry and non-fiction texts, representing 19th, 20th and 21st century literature. Students are given the opportunity to develop individual reading and writing skills, focusing on technical accuracy as well as content. Lessons incorporate this independent learning with group work, encouraging students to discuss, present and perform with their peers. Students in Y7 and 8 also participate in the Accelerated Reader Scheme and are required to have at least one reading book from this scheme with them at all times. Students may also choose a book for private reading that is not part of the scheme. Part of this scheme requires STAR testing throughout the year which allows us to track reading age development and areas for intervention, stretch and challenge. At Y9 students will find that there is greater focus on exam technique and preparing for GCSE style assessments.

How can you help your child at home at Key Stage 3?

The best way you can support your child is by reading with them every week. Parents are able to access the Home Connect aspect of Accelerated Reader which enables you to engage with the texts your child is reading and help them make further book choices. Because your child needs to have a book with them at all times in school, your support in this crucial aspect of English is vital! Taking part in the Accelerated Reader quizzes is fun and a great way to earn housepoints as well as reading widely. You can also help them to develop their proof reading skills by encouraging them to read over their written work carefully to check for any errors in spelling, punctuation and sentence structure. This can apply to all subjects, not just English. Ask your child to talk to you about what they are studying in English to check their understanding. If your child is researching information online, make sure they read over the information carefully rather than simply printing out webpages.

Key Stage 4

Students study a range of poetry, prose and dramatic texts. This includes Elizabethan drama and Victorian novels, as well as poetry from across a wide ranging time period and a range of non-fiction. Both GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature are assessed by 100% examination. Students regularly undertake GCSE style essays and exam questions in order to fully prepare for their final examinations. Oral activities such as group discussion, presentation and role play will continue to form part of the curriculum, though this aspect of the subject no longer counts towards a GCSE grade. Students are required to complete a formal, assessed individual presentation which will give a separate pass, merit or distinction award. All Y11 students will sit a formal mock examination in December.

How can you help your child at home at Key Stage 4?

We realise shared reading gets harder as children get older! However, still encourage your child to be reading every day. As well as a wide range of novels, from 19th century works to the present day, their reading list should include biographies, travel writing and high quality journalism. Please continue to talk to your child about the texts they are studying in English as their level of understanding needs to increase significantly at GCSE level. Written accuracy is more important than ever on the new specifications so continuous proof reading of all schoolwork is vital. Use of a dictionary and thesaurus will be very helpful here. Visits to the theatre are a fantastic way of bringing literature to life – perhaps try to treat the family to a visit this year.

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Key Stage 5

Students at Notre Dame have the opportunity to study English Literature A Level and English Language A Level. Both A Levels teach students how to analyse complex information with the help of sophisticated theories and ideas. Students learn to read, reflect, write maturely and provide critical commentary. Studying English leads to a wide range of career fields including Law, publishing, teaching, advertising, human resources and management. English Literature is a facilitating subject and highly regarded by Russell Group universities.

English Language

Students will study Textual Variations and Representations and Children’s Language Development in preparation for a 2.5 hour examination. Students will study Language Diversity and Change in preparation for a 2.5 hour examination. Students will complete two pieces of coursework: a language investigation (2,000 words excluding data) and a piece of original writing and commentary (1,500 words total).

English Literature

Students will study three texts from the tragedy genre: ‘Othello’, ‘Death of a Salesman’ and a selection of Keats poetry in preparation for a 2.5 hour, closed book examination. Students will study three texts from the crime writing genre: ‘Hamlet’, ‘Atonement’ and ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ in preparation for a 3 hour, clean open book examination. Students will complete two pieces of coursework, one poetry, one prose. Each essay should be 1250-1500 words and refer to an aspect of the Critical Anthology. Students are able to choose their own texts and titles.

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How can you help your child at home at Key Stage 5?

As at GCSE, students of both Language and Literature should be reading fiction and non-fiction widely. Language students will particularly benefit from reading texts by linguists such as David Crystal and using revision aids (including the internet) to aid in their understanding of terminology and grammar. Much of this aspect of the course will not have been studied at Key Stage 4 and therefore students must be confident with all new linguistic terminology. Students will also benefit from visiting primary schools to observe Literacy lessons. A home that is interested in all aspects of language will foster a love of the subject.

Literature students will read a range of poetry, prose and plays as part of the course, but students should also be choosing texts for independent reading from a wide range of time periods and cultures. In particular, students should read other works by the authors being studied, along with similar works written in the same genre. Students are encouraged to engage with contextual issues from each text’s time of publication, thinking critically and analytically about what they are reading. Therefore, your child will benefit hugely from the opportunity to talk through complex ideas with you and verbalise their arguments. Try to read some of their examination texts so that you are familiar with the ideas they are grappling with.


English_Language A Level

English_Literature A Level


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Heads of English Department: Mrs J King – jking@notredame-high.co.uk, Mrs C Scriven – cscriven@notredame-high.co.uk