Skip to main content


Jump to: Form 4 | NCEA Level 1 | Pre-Q | Literacy (NCEA Level 1) | NCEA Level 2 | AS Level | NCEA Level 3 | A2 Level


With a diverse range of personalities, the English department continues to inspire students in the study of literature, language, reading, speaking and writing. A range of different courses and qualifications are offered to suit students of all ability levels.

Form 4:

Course description/aims: All Form 4 students will study the same, general course that covers a range of skills that build upon the Form 3 programme. The programme is designed to introduce students to the skills required at the next level, whether it be NCEA Level 1 or Pre-Q.

Work covered includes:

Literature: Poetry, Film and Drama will be taught, along with the teacher’s choice of Non-Fiction or Novel. Elements of style, structure, character, setting and theme will be analysed and students will respond by writing transactional essays. Students will also study literary eras and movements.

Language of the Writer’s Craft: Students will continue to study the use and effect of writing techniques, including narrative point of view, figures of speech, sound devices and methods of characterisation.

Film: Film techniques (camera, lighting, sound and editing) will be revisited, in conjunction with a study of a film as text.

Writing: Students will write in a variety of different creative and transactional styles: narrative, descriptive and discursive/argumentative.

Static Images: This study will examine the use of visual texts for communication. The use of images, colour, contrast, lettering and layout will be incorporated into the design and production of a book cover.

Speaking: Public speaking and reading aloud in a formal setting are part of the programme.

Comprehension: Students will continue to be given the task of reading written, oral and visual unfamiliar texts, often tied to the focal topic of the term, and will need to answer questions that test or enhance their ability to comprehend basic, as well as inferential questions.

Language: Students will continue their study of basic grammar (parts of speech, punctuation, syntax, paragraphing, and spelling) from the department grammar booklet that all Form 3 students receive.

Form 5 (NCEA Level 1):

Course outline: The Form 5 NCEA Level 1 English course is based upon selected internally-assessed and externally-assessed Achievement Standards as follows:

  • 1.4 – Creative Writing [3 credits, Internal]
  • 1.5 – Formal Writing [3 credits, Internal]
  • 1.6 – Speech [3 credits, Internal]
  • Written Text – novel or non-fiction [4 credits, External]
  • Visual Text – film [4 credits, External]
  • Unfamiliar Written Texts [4 credits, External]

Methods of assessment: There will be several Achievement Standards offered during the year, from which students can acquire 21 credits: nine from internal assessment and 12 from the three-hour external examination.

Students will also sit School examinations:

  • 1 x 1-hour examination – end of Term 1
  • 1 x 2-hour examination – end of Term 2
  • 1 x 3-hour examination – end of Term 3

Form 5 (Pre-Q):

Course outline: Students will study one novel, one drama, and one film. These will be tested by essay under examination conditions. Students will also study the writer’s craft and be tested, under examination conditions, on their reading comprehension.

A speech and a formal argumentative piece of writing are included in course work, while a study of a selection of biblical and classical allusions commonly referenced in literature is also undertaken.

Methods of assessment: All papers are compulsory:

  • Paper 1: Reading Comprehension (course work component)
  • Paper 2: Novel essay
  • Paper 3: Drama essay
  • Paper 4: Film essay

School examinations:

  • 1 x 1-hour examination – end of Term 1
  • 1 x 2-hour examination – end of Term 2 (includes Paper 2 component – 25% of Pre-Q)
  • 1 x 3-hour examination – end of Term 4 (Papers 1, 3, and 4 – 75% of Pre-Q)

Literacy – Form 5 (NCEA Level 1):

Prerequisites: This course is designed for students from 4P and 4R and it provides students who need additional support in reading and writing the opportunity to improve their literacy skills.

Course descriptions/aims: The course will provide direct teaching in reading and writing. The aim is to improve students’ literacy skills so they can manage the demands of study in the Senior School in a variety of curriculum areas. The course provides additional credits towards the literacy requirements for NCEA Level 1.

Work covered includes:

Visual Language: Explain how aspects of visual texts work together to create meaning.

Writing Accurately: Paragraphing, punctuation and spelling, sentence structure and control, and eliminating patterns of error.

Writing Strategies:

  • How to write creatively (narrative and descriptive stories)
  • How to write formally (formal personal correspondence)
  • Personalised next steps to develop each student’s writing skills

Improving Reading Comprehension and Fluency:

  • Instruction in Reading Comprehension strategies
  • Vocabulary development
  • Participation in the reading plus programme

Methods of assessment: This course is internally assessed through the completion of NCEA Level 1 Unit and/or Achievement Standards: AS90853, AS90856, AS90855, US10792, and US24731 (18 credits).

Form 6:

Prerequisites: Form 6 students will be streamed on English ability, based on their Form 5 Pre-Q examination results or NCEA Level 1 results, and will study either Cambridge AS Literature, Cambridge AS Literature and Language, or NCEA Level 2 English. 

Entry into Cambridge English is entirely at the discretion of the Head of Faculty. As a general guide, AS Literature is taken – and achievable – by students in 6A to 6I.

Students who gain a scaled mark between 40% and 45% in Pre-Q, will likely be placed in AS Language and Literature, which is a one-year only course that does not continue to A2. There are also a limited number of places available in this class for students who wish to opt in.

Some students in 6C to 6I students might be placed in NCEA Level 2 English, if their scaled Pre-Q mark is under 40%.

Form 6 (NCEA Level 2):

Methods of assessment: There will be six Achievement Standards. Students can acquire 25 credits: 13 from internal assessment and 12 from the external examination.

    • 2.1 – Analyse specified aspects of studied written texts, with supporting evidence [4 credits, External]
    • 2.2 – Analyse specified aspects of studied visual or oral texts, with supporting evidence [4 credits, External]

  • 2.3 – Analyse significant aspects of unfamiliar texts through close reading with supporting evidence [4 credits, External]
  • 2.4 – Produce a selection of crafted and controlled writing [6 credits, Internal]
  • 2.5 – Construct and deliver a crafted and controlled oral text [3 credits, Internal]
  • 2.9 – Form developed personal responses to independently read texts, supported by evidence [4 credits, Internal]

Form 6 (AS Literature):

Methods of assessment: This literature-only programme is examined externally at the end of the year as a stand-alone course or as the first half of a two-year course (the second being A Level (A2) Literature). Students will present for two external examinations at the end of the year:

  • Paper 1: Drama and Poetry [2 hours] – two essays (50% mark)
  • Paper 2: Prose and Unseen Texts [2 hours] – two essays (50% mark)

Form 6 (AS Literature and Language):

One class only of this stand-alone course is offered to students (subject to marks gained in Pre-Q) who are NOT going to do English in Form 7 as it does not carry through to A Level. 

There is a little less time pressure in this course as two literature texts are studied (instead of four with AS Literature). The language component comprises writing in a variety of creative (narrative and descriptive) and formal (discursive and persuasive) styles.

Methods of assessment:

  • Paper 1: Writing [2 hours] – two pieces of writing (50% mark)
  • Paper 2: Poetry, Prose and Drama [2 hours] – two literature essays (50% mark)

Form 7:

Prerequisites: Form 7 students will be streamed according to their English ability, based on their AS Literature or NCEA Level 2 results and will present for A Level (A2) Literature or NCEA Level 3 English. Students may enter the NZQA Scholarship examination and while no specific class will be run for this, tutorials will be run in Terms 3 and 4.

Entry to Cambridge A2 Literature is recommended to those students who have achieved 55% or better in AS Literature. An AS Literature C Grade or at least a good D is preferable. Students who achieve between 50% and 55% will be considered for this course on a case-by-case basis by the Head of English.

Note that students who took the AS Language and Literature course are not eligible to take this course.

Assessments will be conducted throughout the year in the internal School examinations at the end of Terms 1, 2 and 3 to provide students with meaningful feedback on their level of achievement.

Form 7 (NCEA Level 3):

Prerequisites: The NCEA Level 3 English course is significantly more difficult than Level 2 and only students with a very good English skills base should consider opting for it. 

A minimum of 10 reading and writing credits at Level 2 (i.e. not counting the speech) including one external standard are expected of students wanting to enter NCEA Level 3 English. For example, the following would qualify:

  • the Level 2 writing internal plus at least one Level 2 external 
  • the Level 2 reading internal plus at least two Level 2 externals

Methods of assessment: Six Achievement Standards worth 22 credits are on offer from internal and external assessment as follows:

    • 3.1 – Written text (poetry, short story, novel, drama or non-fiction study) [4 credits, External]

  • 3.2 – Film text study [4 credits, External]
  • 3.3 – Respond critically to unfamiliar prose and poetry texts [4 credits, External]
  • 3.5 – Create and deliver an oral presentation [3 credits, Internal]
  • 3.8 – Develop a critical understanding of literature [4 credits, Internal]
  • 3.9 – Respond critically to visual texts [3 credits, Internal]

Form 7 (A2 Literature):

This course is an extension of the same literature-only programme where students present for two external examinations at the end of the year.

Methods of assessment:

  • Paper 3: Shakespeare and drama [2 hours] – two literature essays (50% mark)
  • Paper 4: Pre- and Post-1900 poetry and prose [2 hours] – two literature essays (50% mark)

Those students who had difficulty with AS Literature may opt to study NCEA Level 3.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our staff today.