The English department offers students an exciting and enriching experience. English Literature and English Language are taught to all years from 7 to 13. The students develop their skills in: critical reading for understanding; writing for different purposes and in a wide range of Speaking and Listening activities. Students are encouraged to show initiative and be creative in their studies. English teachers adopt a pastoral approach in the classroom, while challenging students to achieve their full potential. In the classroom a variety of teaching methods ensure that each student’s learning style is catered for. The department also believes in the value of experiences outside the classroom; all year groups benefit from a variety of extra curricular activities. The activities include trips that are directly related to a text being studied; however we also undertake evening outings which are just enjoyable! Extra curricular activities include the following:
- Theatre visits. These include: Skellig; War Horse; Much Ado About Nothing; Macbeth; Hamlet; Birdsong; Billy Elliot; Wicked; Dirty Dancing.
- Reading Groups. Year 12 and Year 13 are encouraged to join the groups where they meet and read a new book every term. This is open to all 6th Form students; A’ Level Literature students are encouraged to attend to develop their wider reading.
- A’ Level examination lectures. These take place locally and are led by a Chief Examiner.
- The school newspaper Chatterbox. Students decide on the content and edit it themselves with the support of English teaching staff and the librarian.
The students are expected to achieve their full potential, but if necessary lunch time/after school support is available.
Years 7 and 8
Students are taught in tutor groups in Year 7 and 8
Students study a range of contemporary and pre-1914 texts including Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Adeline Yen Mah’s Chinese Cinderella, Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado about Nothing and WW1 poetry to name a few. Students write in a variety of forms for different audiences and purposes, including letters; autobiographies; articles; reports; essays
Students are taught in sets in Year 9
This transitional year will consolidate and develop the skills gained in Years 7 and 8 and prepare students for the GCSE course in Years 10 and 11. They will study a range of authors, for example George Orwell and Charlotte Bronte. At the end of Year 9 students are set again into GCSE groups.
Years 10 and 11
All students take English Language GCSE and English Literature GCSE in Year 11. The GCSE examination board is AQA and this specification offers the students a varied course in English Language and English Literature. Literature texts include Pride and Prejudice; Macbeth; Romeo and Juliet; Of Mice and Men; An Inspector Calls. Students also follow a course of Spoken Language study analysing their own and others’ speech.
The assessment takes the form of Controlled Assessment and examination. For Literature the Controlled Assessment is 25% and the examination 75%. In English Language, the Controlled Assessment is 40% and the examination is 60%.
A-Level English Literature
This exciting course is an appealing prospect for students who love Literature. The AS syllabus, in year 12, combines classic texts such as F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and contemporary texts such as Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. Students also spend time with the poetry of our Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and the drama text of Diane Samuels’ Kindertransport. There is also the opportunity to write creatively. At A2 the students develop their understanding of great literature through Shakespeare’s Hamlet; Thomas Hardy’s novels and poetry and Ibsen’s A Doll’s House to name but a few. A full reading list is available for all students intending on studying English Literature at A’ Level; all the texts on the list are available to the students to borrow at any time before or during the course.
The assessment takes the form of 40% coursework and 60% examination. The examination board is WJEC.