English is an extremely popular, enjoyable, academically rigorous and exciting subject. It helps make our students more articulate; better at writing both creatively and analytically and more sensitive in their appreciation of the written word.
All students take English from Year 7 until the end of Year 11 (GCSE). Both English Language or English Literature are available as A Level subjects.
Students and teachers in the department share a deep love of reading and have diverse tastes in literature. We aim to instil a lifelong love of literature and language through the study of challenging and broad-ranging texts across all years. There are also plenty of opportunities for the pursuit of extra-curricular passions including a Book Group for Years 7, 8 and 9, a Reading Group for older girls, Sixth Form Seminars, National Poetry Day competitions, participation in the Carnegie Reading Scheme and the annual highlight of the English Department calendar, World Book Day.
There are regular author visits, which in recent years have included Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer; Anna McKerrow and Poet in Residence at Loughborough University, Sarah Kelly. We also undertake frequent theatre trips and have recently been to see Jacobean tragedies such as ‘’Tis Pity She’s a Whore’ at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre, as well as classics including ‘The Cherry Orchard’, ‘Hamlet’ and ‘The Crucible’. This year a group of students enjoyed a creative writing residential with Arvon during the Easter holiday, where students were tutored by leading authors.
Years 7, 8 and 9
From Year 7, students develop analytical and creative skills in order to enhance their appreciation of literature and their ability to express these insights in a cogent, imaginative manner. There is a great deal of emphasis on independent reading and original thinking as well as the all-important firm foundation of essay writing. A variety of academic texts are studied including a Shakespeare play every year, then a range of novels, drama and poetry including the Romantics, poetry of the First World War, ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry’, ‘Animal Farm’, Jane Eyre’ and ‘Catcher in the Rye’. Students follow reading schemes such as the Year 7 Reading Passport and have regular library sessions to foster a passion for reading.
Years 10 and 11
We teach the Edexcel International GCSE (IGCSE) for both English Language and English Literature in Years 10 and 11. These are thoroughly enjoyable and challenging courses.
The English Literature course involves the study of modern drama, a classic novel, a Shakespeare play and a poetry anthology. There is also a diverse non-fiction anthology which is studied along with a range of activities to explore and enhance students’ creative writing skills. There is a significant piece of Poetry coursework, which forms 40% of the overall grade. This is an opportunity for students to develop their analytical appreciation of writers’ choices in depth and with rigour and precision.
The English Language IGCSE involves two pieces of written coursework, one assessed for Reading and one for Writing. Together, these form 20% of the Language grade and there is 10% awarded for Speaking and Listening assessments, which are undertaken throughout the course.
The English Department teaches the OCR A Level English Literature course and the AQA English Language course. Both are intellectually stimulating, rigorous and students’ results are consistently outstanding.
English Literature A Level involves the study of literature spanning medieval poetry to modern drama and also includes a Shakespeare play and a variety of texts from the Gothic genre. 20% of the English Literature course is assessed through two coursework tasks, which involve close analytical study of modern drama and a developed comparative essay on modern poetry and prose.
The English Language course provides an introduction to key linguistic methodologies, enabling students to analyse both spoken and written texts in a variety of ways. The course explores the ideologies surrounding English Language study and its diverse uses, as well as examining language change over time and how language is acquired. 20% of the course is assessed by a portfolio including an independent language investigation into an area of linguistic study of the students’ own choice and a creative piece replicating a particular style for a specified audience and purpose.