The English Department is a vibrant, dynamic environment, where pupils are encouraged to develop a love of the language and all its wonderful potential. Quality literature lies at the heart of lessons throughout the school, allowing pupils to become more empowered readers and more skilful writers, capable of shaping their own work for any given audience and purpose. From a poem based on personal experience, to a lively role-play of a scene from Macbeth, to a vigorous debate on a contemporary issue, the Department’s success lies in the range and variety of opportunities offered and the passion for the subject these opportunities foster.
The curriculum in Years 7 to 9 aims to ensure that every pupil is exposed to as broad a range of different types of writing as possible. From persuasive speeches to gripping articles via beautifully crafted sonnets and wonderful stories, pupils should reach the end of Year 9 confident in both their key technical skills and in their ability to read, analyse and write an excitingly wide range of texts. Although always aware that there is more to the study of English than just exam results, both classroom activities and end of year exams are designed to provide an effective foundation in the techniques needed for the GCSE courses and to make the transition into Year 10 as seamless as possible.
In these years every pupil will have the opportunity to study for both the OCR GCSE English Language and the Edexcel GCSE English Literature qualifications. Both courses build on the key skills developed lower down the school, with the final exams testing the pupils’ ability to analyse fiction and non-fiction, whilst also requiring them to write more formal literature essays. Alongside this, the coursework element of the Literature course allows pupils to delve more deeply into classic texts as a good preparation for A-Level.
Book Clubs are coordinated by the Library and include visits from authors, projects such as the Carnegie shadowing event and a visit most years to the Hay Festival.
The English Society meets regularly to engage in English related activities for those who want to indulge their interests further. Recent events have included film nights, Gothic ghost story writing and poetry workshops with visiting poets.
Competitions are open to different year groups and include the English Speaking Union Public Speaking Competition, the BBC 500 word story competition, Poetry by Heart and other essay and poetry challenges.
Trips are a regular feature of English whether they are whole year group trips to Stratford or to see plays in different regional theatres, or bespoke theatre trips to see specific plays. Recent theatre trips have included 'An Inspector Calls', 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and 'Great Expectations'.