Specialist Education

English, communication and language lie at the heart of our capacity to imagine, think and create and makes a crucial contribution to children’s development as successful learners. Their developing use of language underpins children’s achievements across the curriculum and lays the foundation for active involvement in cultural life, society, work and lifelong learning.


The English department at Grateley aspires to deliver the subject in ways that meet the individual needs of all our young people with the overall intent that our pupils achieve their academic potential.


The Teaching of English inspires students to enjoy and appreciate literature and the written word in all its forms. Students explore the workings of the English language, for instances its etymology, grammatical structures and literary and rhetorical techniques, and an emphasis is placed on the teaching of grammar and spelling. The school provides opportunities for students to develop confident speaking and listening skills by narrating, discussing, arguing and persuading in a range of activities, and they are encouraged to discuss the implicit meanings of literature and its relevance to social, historical and cultural issues.  Students are exposed to literary genres, ranging from Shakespeare to current journalism.  The influence of the media is studied explicitly through the analysis of newspapers, magazines, advertising, film and television.


Grateley House School follows the national curriculum. This means we aim to ensure all students can:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding.
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas.


The majority of students at Grateley House School follow the GCSE pathway, which develops candidates’ ability to read with insight, distinguish between fact and opinion, evaluate how information is presented, follow an argument, recognise inconsistencies, and understand linguistic and structural devices.  Students must show their competence and confidence in speaking and listening in a range of situations.  They will need to read literary and media texts, including contemporary and pre-twentieth century literature, and write in a wide variety of forms and styles.  This encompasses critical and imaginative responses to literary and factual material. The impact of this is that the majority of our students sit their English Language exam at the end of Year 11. Students are supported to continue their English studies in Post 16 should they not achieve the required result in Key Stage 4 in an appropriate format.


The Functional skills course is also offered for those students who are not yet ready to follow the GCSE route. As the decision is often taken at different times throughout the school year, dependant on each student’s performance, they are all working at their own pace within the class. The courses are focused on the skills needed to develop knowledge and understanding and the intent is to prepare the students for progression on to higher qualifications as they reach the point in their schooling that it is appropriate for them to do so. Some students follow the NCFE English Qualification Suite if they are unable to access the whole Functional Skills curriculum. This may be due to anxieties around delivering a presentation or because they are unlikely to complete the whole course in the time they have left at Grateley House School.