The English Department at
Mark Rutherford

The Department
There are currently 13 teachers in the Department and we deliver English at Key Stages 3-5, with Media Studies an option for GCSE and A Level.
The Department is housed in eleven dedicated teaching rooms which are well equipped with interactive whiteboards or projectors and whiteboards; in addition there is computer access in some classrooms, with up-to-date hardware, software, cameras and printers to support Media work in particular.

The Curriculum
Key Stage 3: Years 7-9
The programme of study in Key Stage 3 reflects National Curriculum guidelines and provides progression from students’ study in local feeder schools.  Schemes of work are in place to ensure continuity of provision from primary and middle schools, and staff are keen to share interesting and useful practice with other providers in the Borough.  Over the three years in Key Stage 3 students will be expected to

  • read a range of literary and non-literary/non-fiction and media texts
  • learn to write in a variety of styles to suit different audience and purposes
  • study a selection of plays – by Shakespeare and by contemporary writers.

Additionally, we ensure that our Key Stage 3 provision supports students in preparing for the challenges of their English GCSE course.  The assessments completed at Key Stage 3 are of a similar nature to some of the Key Stage 4 work, so that students are familiar with the expectations of a literary essay, as well as those for a more creative or analytical response.

Key Stage 4: Years 10 and 11
In Years 10 and 11 students follow the AQA English Language and English Literature GCSE specifications.  Students study for two English qualifications and the courses are assessed by 100% examination.  The exams take place at the end of Year 11 and there are two exams for Language, and two for Literature.  The Language exams test students’ ability to process unseen texts, while the Literature exam focuses on texts studied in class.  The Literature exams are now ‘closed book’ which means that students will not have copies of the text in the exam with them.

English Language GCSE
Paper 1 – Explorations in creative reading and writing - is worth 50% of the final GCSE grade and students have 1 hour 45 minutes to complete the paper.  Section A tests students’ ability to respond to the reading of literary fiction, and Section B requires students to write to describe and/or narrate. 
Paper 2 – Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives - is worth 50% of the final GCSE grade and students have 1 hour 45 minutes to complete the paper.  Section A tests students’ responses to reading and comparing non fiction texts, and Section B requires students to write to argue/persuade/explain.                                                                                                      
In addition, students will complete Speaking and Listening tasks and this skill will be separately certificated.

English Literature GCSE

Paper 1 – Shakespeare and the 19th Century novel – is worth 40% of the GCSE grade and the exam lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Paper 2 – Modern texts and poetry – is worth 60% of the GCSE grade and students have 2 hours 15 minutes to respond to questions covering a modern texts, seen and unseen poetry.
These are reformed GCSEs and students will earn a grade on the 9-1 grade scale.  There is no controlled assessment in the reformed specifications for English. 

Key Stage 5: Years 12 and 13
The English Department offers a range of courses in the Sixth Form – English Language A Level, English Literature A Level and Media Studies A Level.  There is also a GCSE course for those students who need to improve their grade.
At Key Stage 5, students taking English Literature follow the OCR specification.  English Language is an OCR course, and Media Studies follows the AQA specification.

Extra Curricular
The Department organises regular theatre visits for students, especially those following the A Level Literature course.  There are also events such as speakers at Bedford University for students following the Language course in the Sixth Form.  Media students visit different venues, according to the changing needs of their exam topic.
There are various reading group and book clubs, a creative writing club and recently we have started a journalism group which produces a filmed news broadcast, as well as contributing items to the school newsletter.
Regular interventions are also provided to ensure that students are up to date with their academic work, and to ensure that students are confident about meeting their target grades in exams.

If you require further information…
…please contact Anna Vallance (Assistant Headteacher/Head of English) through this email address;
If your enquiry is about Media Studies, please contact Miss Leach:




Mark Rutherford School
Wentworth Drive, Bedford, Bedfordshire Mk41 8PX
Telephone 01234 290200 : Fax 01234 290236 : Email: