The English Department at HMSG aims to deliver a lively and pertinent curriculum created with the 21st century student in mind.  Skills acquired through English can help us access a world of knowledge and experience and promoting a lifelong love of reading and literature is a priority.  We have a wealth of resources and our classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards allowing students access to a variety of teaching and learning platforms.

Educational trips and visits play an important part in the English curriculum; we have taken students on residential trips to Ypres and London, we regularly attend a variety of theatrical performances, visit media and news organisations such as HTV Wales and attend university lectures aimed at challenging every student.

Years 7-9

In Years 7-9 pupils engage in a variety of learning activities designed to increase and hone their skills in Writing, Reading and Speaking and Listening. We shadow the National Curriculum but have the flexibility to create exciting and personalised learning pathways. There are many opportunities for developing learning styles and we enjoy several cross curricular projects encompassing subjects as diverse as Design and Technology, Physics and Home Economics.

 At Key Stage 3, students will focus upon a different topic each half-term; they will study novels, drama (including Shakespeare), and poetry, non-fiction and media texts. Within each unit there will be specific assessment objectives and courses are structured around common assignments that allow monitoring of progress. We also place reading at the heart of the curriculum through our Accelerated Reader program which encourages and challenges readers of every ability.


Students study English Language and English Literature for GCSE and we currently follow the Cambridge IGCSE examination board. The qualifications are assessed at the end of the two year course via examination and a coursework portfolio. Our results have been exceptional over the last 5 years with A* – B grades in Language and Literature GCSEs averaging 90%. To explore the specifications please click here for English Language:


and here for Literature:


AS and A Level

English AS and A Levels will appeal to students who enjoy reading a wide variety of novels, plays and poems, going to the theatre and watching films.  You should be prepared to think for yourself, form your own ideas based upon the careful analysis of what you read and see, and defend and develop your ideas and tastes in discussion and debate with your teachers and the other members of your set. 

AS and A2 English Literature is a popular choice at Sixth Form level and here we follow the OCR specification.

Our AS and A Level results have been consistently good with 76% of A Level students gaining A*- B last year.

To explore the full specifications for AS and A Level English Literature click here:


A brief outline of study:

AS Level

AS English Literature is a one year course consisting of:

1. Shakespeare and Poetry pre-1900 EXAM

  1. Poetry – you will study one poet, making links between their use of content, style and language.
  2. Shakespeare – you will study one play, commenting on language, themes and character and examining other interpretations.

2. Drama Post 1900 and Prose Post 1900 EXAM

  1. Drama – you will study one modern playing, commenting on language and dramatic effects and discussing cultural and literary contexts.
  2. Prose – you will study one modern prose text and will demonstrate understanding of its themes and context whilst making comparisons with unseen extracts provided.

A Level

A Level English Literature is a linear two year course which is examined in the following way:

  • Shakespeare and Poetry pre-1900 EXAM
  • ‘Comparative and Contextual Study’ EXAM consisting of a close reading (unseen exercise) and a comparative essay.
  • A coursework component requiring candidates to study three texts from across the genres of poetry, drama and prose. Task one offers a choice between a critical piece and a recreative piece with a commentary and Task two is a ‘linked texts’ essay focusing on connections and comparisons between two texts.


We put reading at the heart of what we do and have a rich and varied program of visiting authors. This has recently included Owen Sheers, CJ Daugherty, Celia Rees, Marcus Sedgewick and performance poet Andrew Fusek Peters. The department were also instrumental in the setting up of the inaugural Monmouth Literary Festival, aimed at and run by local students from all three secondary schools in Monmouth.  We are a keen debating and public speaking school with students entering local, national and international competitions such as Rotary Youthspeak, English Speaking Union, British Parliamentary Women and The European Youth Parliament, where we have gained places in the finals for two years running. Creative writing is a strong feature here and we are lucky enough to have creative writing club run by our very own published poet, Mr Jonathan Edwards. Jonathan has recently published his anthology ‘My Family and Other Superheroes’ to much acclaim, including being shortlisted for the esteemed Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection prize. He has also won first prize in the internationally known Ledbury Poetry Festival.

As a girls’ school we are enthusiastic about promoting women’s issues and run a weekly ‘Women’s Forum’ which allows students to debate and respond to topical issues of the day affecting girls. Recent topics have included Global Education for Girls, Body Image and the Media and Why Do We Need Feminism?

To mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death HMSG Year 9 and 10 English students presented this assembly in May 2016.