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Learning Journey & Sequencing Rationale

As teachers of English at Harrow High, we want our learners to be critical thinkers and readers who are equipped with the knowledge and skills with which to make their own choices and decisions throughout their lives and who are compassionate, conscientious and creative. We want out learners to be effective communicators and we believe that mastery of the written and spoken word is fundamental to ensuring our learners have every opportunity to succeed in life

unit overview - conflict poetry anthology

Subject: English Literature GCSE (Edexcel)  Conflict Poetry Anthology


Learners will be able to:

AO1 - Learners will be able to identify the theme and distinguish between themes; support a point of view by referring to evidence in the text; recognise the possibility of and evaluate different responses to a text, make an informed personal response that derives from analysis and evaluation of a whole text.

AO2 – Learners will be able to analyse and evaluate how language (including figurative language), structure, form and presentation contribute to quality and impact; use linguistic and literary terminology for such evaluation

AO3 - Learners will be able to use their understanding of writer’s social, historical and cultural contexts to inform evaluation of the text. This includes the author's own life and situation, including the place and time of writing, only where these relate to the text, the historical setting, time and location of the text, social and cultural contexts, the literary context, the way in which texts are received and engaged with by different audiences, at different times


Learners will know:

  • Concept of a poetry anthology
  • Definition and various interpretations of conflict
  • Social and historical contexts of each poem (including author’s life, historical setting, social and cultural context, literary contexts and the way the texts are received by different readers, at different times)
  • A range of subject terminology to identify language and structure (noun, verb, adverb, adjective, imagery, metaphor, simile, personification, oxymoron, juxtaposition)
  • Specific poetic devices (rhyme, rhythm, enjambment, caesura)
  • Human concepts, emotions and experiences (war, internal conflict, honour, glory, anger, doubt, morality, repressed emotions, revenge, betrayal, loss of innocence, racism, sexism, classism)


Learners will draw and build on knowledge of studying poetry in both Year 7 and 8 to study the GCSE Conflict Poetry Anthology as part of their English Literature GCSE. This component of the GCSE course is arguably the most challenging but the learners arrive well prepared for an exploration of the language, structure and context of fifteen poems, having practiced these skills in various contexts throughout the Key Stages.

In this unit, learners will embark on a thorough exploration of some of English Literature’s most well-known poems from the Romantic Poetry of William Blake to more contemporary poems written by John Agard and Benjamin Zephaniah exploring race and identity in modern Britain. As a department, we chose the Conflict Anthology as it is a theme the learners will have explored in depth, having studied ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Journey’s End’ prior to this unit. This unit will provide an opportunity for close analysis of the language and structure of each poem and encourage learners to make links with the social and historical context and other poems in the anthology.  The comparative element of this unit, albeit challenging, will provide the foundational skills for further study at A level, whereby learners will be expected to compare both the poetry of William Blake and unseen non-fiction extracts. The skills honed in this unit will also aid the development of skills for the unseen element of the Literature paper.

The Conflict Anthology, aside from providing the opportunity to explore some of the most famous poems in the English literary Canon, is a chance to explore a range of complex human experiences and emotions that remain relatable and relevant in our society today. Conflicts between family and friends, experiences of discrimination based on gender and race and the turmoil and suffering caused by war, remain compelling and important in our modern society. Many of the poems will expose learners to important moments in our human history, thus developing their understanding of how our world is shaped today whilst also providing a foundational knowledge for further study of subjects such as history, economics and politics.

unit overview - a christmas carol

Subject: English Literature GCSE (Edexcel) 19th Century Novel:  ‘A Christmas Carol’  by Charles Dickens


Learners will be able to:

AO1: Read, understand and respond to texts. Learners should be able to: maintain a critical style and develop an informed personal response and use textual references, including quotations, to support and illustrate interpretations

AO2:  Analyse the language, form and structure used by a writer to create meanings and effects, using relevant subject terminology where appropriate


Learners will know:

  • The historical, social, political, cultural context of Victorian Britain
  • The literary context and audience receptions of a Victorian novella –didactisim in Victorian Literature
  • Features of a novella as a literary form
  • The plot of a full-length play and its key characters, setting, events and themes
  • Literary concepts of foreshadowing, tension, imagery and figurative language, cyclical structure, characterisation and symbolism, narrative voice
  • Linguistic concepts and terminology used to identify them including imperative verbs, compound adjectives, asyndetic and syndetic listing, interrogative and exclamatory phrases, sibilance, assonance, juxtaposition.
  • Human concepts of morality, philanthropy, misanthropy,  fear, poverty, redemption, forgiveness, greed
  • Concept of literary criticism


Year 11 learners study the novella ‘A Christmas Carol’ as part of Edexcel Literature’s Component 2: 19th Century Novel.  Learners draw on their knowledge of Victorian Britain from their study of Oliver Twist and Coram Boy at Key Stage Three, demonstrating their understanding of the inequalities in society during the 19th century, whilst being introduced to the notion of didactisim in literature.  They will continue to develop their ability to analyse language, structure and form at a more advanced level and will be introduced to a range of linguistic terminology in preparation for their GCSE examinations; this also provides a good foundation for further study of English at A Level.   

The study of ‘A Christmas Carol’ gives all learners the opportunity to study a canonical literary text from nineteenth century Britian and to develop a personal and critical response to its characters, themes and message. Learners are also taught to understand the way in which literary purpose and readers’ receptions change over time and are introduced to literary criticism alongside this.

The novella explores issues around wealth inequality, the role of benevolence and the need to show empathy and compassion for those less fortunate than ourselves. There are opportunities for learners to discuss the relevance of these themes in 21st century Britain and, in doing so, to understand the universal nature of literature, whose message, characters and themes often transcend the centuries.  

Exposure and engagement with the language and syntax of a nineteenth century literary text also aids learners with their study of AQA English Language Paper 2,  where they must read and demonstrate their understanding of the language and content on unseen nineteenth century texts.

knowledge Organiser

A knowledge organiser is an important document that lists the important facts that learners should know by the end of a unit of work. It is important that learners can recall these facts easily, so that when they are answering challenging questions in their assessments and GCSE and A-Level exams, they are not wasting precious time in exams focusing on remembering simple facts, but making complex arguments, and calculations.

We encourage all pupils to use them by doing the following:

  • Quiz themselves at home, using the read, write, cover, check method.
  • Practise spelling key vocabulary
  • Further researching people, events and processes most relevant to the unit.