- Dr C E Atherton (Head of Department)
- Mr R B Cave (Second in Department)
- Mrs A-M Durno
- Mrs L Kennedy
- Miss C V Barratt
- Mr S C Evans
As a Department, we aim to produce students who are confident communicators, reflective and critical readers and thoughtful, articulate writers. We believe that English should open students’ minds to the experiences of others and encourage them to engage with the world beyond their own immediate concerns, equipping them with the skills they need to join in an ongoing conversation about the world they live in.
Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3 students are taught to understand language through reading, writing and speaking and listening. Students will develop an appreciation and love of reading through exploring a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts. They are taught to write accurately, fluently, effectively and at length through writing for a wide range of purposes and audiences, using a variety of styles and formats. Students also build on and consolidate their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, and develop strategies for learning spellings. In addition, students develop their skills of speaking confidently and effectively through using Standard English in a range of informal and formal contexts, both individually and in groups.
The study of Shakespeare is introduced in Year 7 through a unit on Shakespeare’s life and times, and built on in Years 8 and 9 through work on The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet.
Students are taught in mixed-ability groups in Year 7, with support for students with who need extra help being provided by the Additional Needs team. In Years 8 and 9, students are grouped by ability to enable them to be taught at a level that is appropriate to their needs.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4 students follow the AQA syllabuses for both English Language and Literature, building on and developing the key skills achieved at Key Stage 3. They study a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, including novels, short stories, poetry, drama, journalism, travel writing and biography. Students also learn how to develop and craft their own original writing. In English Literature, our set texts are Shakespeare’s gory tragedy Macbeth, Robert Louis Stevenson’s intriguing novella Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and J.B. Priestley’s play An Inspector Calls, alongside a collection of poems n the themes of conflict and power. Students will have regular opportunities to develop the skills that will be assessed in the exams taken at the end of Year 11.
Key Stage 5
At Key Stage 5, the Department offers two courses:
AQA A level English Literature involves the exploration of a wide range of texts, including drama, fiction and poetry. It focuses on the study of the genre of tragedy, including a detailed study of Shakespeare’s play King Lear, and on political and social protest writing, taking in a variety of literary works on the themes of nationalism, social class and the equality of women. Students will learn how to develop their critical responses, building reasoned arguments and exploring the contexts within which texts are written and understood.
AQA A level English Language involves just about every aspect of human communication, from body language to text messaging, from a baby’s first words to top-level business meetings. Students explore the different ways in which texts can be interpreted, how writers build relationships with their readers and how language can be used to manipulate and persuade. They also explore language variation, the ways in which the English language has changed over time, and different attitudes towards language use.
Students on both courses will be expected to work with increasing independence, to participate actively in classroom discussions and to read widely around their chosen course. They will be supported through a range of materials, including access to electronic resources and journals.
Both A level courses provide an excellent foundation for a wide range of careers, including careers in education, law, media, journalism, marketing, social work, management and the creative arts.
The Department actively encourages student participation in creative writing competitions, and a flourishing Creative Writing Club ran throughout the 2019-20 academic year. The Department has organised a number of Flexyday activities. A Year 8 Flexyday on the theme of ‘Mythical Beasts’ involved groups of students exploring monsters from myth and literature and then working together to create their own mythical beast. A Year 9 Flexyday focused on spoken word poetry, and gave students the chance to speak out about the issues that were closest to their hearts. When possible, we run theatre trips (including to the Globe Theatre in London, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester) and cinema visits, and a number of students have participated in local and regional public speaking competitions.