“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”

-Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Meet the staff:

  • Mr. David James – Curriculum Leader
  • Mrs. Helen Bowen - Assistant Curriculum Leader
  • Mrs. Claire Hartnett - Literacy responsibility
  • Miss Frances Richardson – Maternity leave
  • Mrs. Lisa Herron -  Maternity cover with literacy responsibility
  • Ms. Mannie Mandana - Part time English teacher
  • Mrs Cath Mitchell – Learning Manager

Our Department:

The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein famously said that the limits of his language were the limits of his world, something which all the staff working in the English department fervently believe to be true. Our mission is to expand that world for our pupils, carefully exposing them to profound works of Literature that will provoke feelings of joy, sadness, and curiosity, as well as a sense that they also have a voice that should be heard.

Our curriculum blends the teaching of critical reading, writing and communication; this is done through expansive thematic units which cover diverse topics such as racism, war and conflict, homophobia, capitalism and socialism, and even the post-apocalyptic world of the dystopian universe.

Our Curriculum:

Key Stage Three

Pupils in Year 7 and 8 receive 4 English lessons a week. One lesson is devoted to pupils’ independent study of creative writing, with pupils assembling a portfolio of ‘Big Writes’ that cover different writing purposes. In addition, all Key Stage Three pupils enjoy a weekly reading for pleasure lesson in our state-of-the-art LRC. New for this year, we are also piloting the Philosophy for Children programme with Year 7 pupils.

Curriculum Map


Year 7

Year 8

Autumn 1

My Swordhand is Singing

(Reading & Writing skills)

The World at War: Journey’s End & War Poetry

(Reading & Writing skills)

Autumn 2

Forgotten Voices: Poetry and ‘The Other’

(Reading skills)

Spring 1

Heroes & Villains

(Writing skills)

Dystopian Worlds: The Hunger Games / Maggot Moon

(Reading & Writing skills)

Spring 2

Women in Literature

(Reading skills)

Summer 1

Star Cross’d Lovers: Romeo and Juliet

The Gothic Tradition

(Reading & Writing skills)

Summer 2


Key Stage Four

In Years 9-11, our pupils undertake their GCSE studies, ensuring that they are fully prepared to face the increased rigour of the new GCSE system. Pupils complete two GCSEs in English during this period: English Language and English Literature. Both these qualifications are crucial in supporting pupils to take the next step in their education, and we will work tirelessly to support children in striving to fulfil their potential.

We currently teach the following courses:

English Language – AQA 8700

English Literature – AQA 8702

All pupils will receive five English lessons a week, one of which is devoted to pupils’ independent study of creative writing, with pupils assembling a portfolio of ‘Big Writes’ that cover different writing purposes. They will also undertake a thorough study of a number of profound literary works, including:

Macbeth – William Shakespeare

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

An Inspector Calls – JB Priestley

Anthology of Poetry from the exam board

The exams at the end of Key Stage Four are a significant commitment for our pupils, totalling almost 8 hours across both English Language and English Literature. Subsequently, we expect all pupils to work hard at home, completing not just the homework set by their teacher every week, but they should also be independently revising the key GCSE Literature texts alongside the technical terminology they need to support their analysis of writers’ methods.


Every pupil in the school will receive a piece of homework every week. The type of homework given to pupils will vary, depending upon their needs, the focus of the unit of work, and the skills being addressed. We expect all pupils to work hard on completing their homework, only accept the highest standard of effort and presentation.

All homework will be logged on Show My Homework.

The Literacy Hub

The English department run the Literacy Hub at Norham High School, which offers additional support to pupils who are struggling with the Literacy demands of the secondary curriculum. Staff design bespoke intervention to address the skills deficits of individual pupils, celebrating the rapid progress they make during their time working within the hub itself.

The English department also organises whole-school events, such as celebrating national Poetry Week and World Book Day. Our famous Book Swap event take place every half term, where pupils can bring in a well-read book from home and swap it for a brand new one absolutely free!

Please contact the Head of English if you have any further enquiries: david.james@ntlp.org.uk

“We lose ourselves in books; we find ourselves there too”