English is taught as a collaborative, thought-provoking subject, involving a great deal of discussion of ideas.
Although the style of teaching is lively and engaging, we never lose sight of the need to develop the ‘nuts and bolts’: improving sentence structure, vocabulary and comprehension. These elements are constantly reinforced through individualised feedback, ensuring that girls are always aware of what they need to do to develop and improve their work.
Year 7-9 English
Pupils study a variety of texts encompassing novels, poetry, plays and non-fiction to give them a rounded knowledge of these genres. Each half term, girls move onto another topic, creating a fast-paced and interesting curriculum. Examples of the units of work studied include: ‘Painting with Words’, where we look at the way poetry and art work together for inspiration; ‘Detecting the Detectives’, incorporating such texts as Tintin and Bugsy Malone, as well as affording an opportunity for pupils to write their own crime fiction; Myths and Legends, deepening imaginative writing skills with a focus on developing vocabulary; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, evoking a sense of English literary heritage.
Year 10-11 English GCSE
Both English Literature and English Language are rigorous courses that teach pupils the skills they need to access many other subjects.
The texts we are studying for Literature are challenging but very engaging: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice or Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, J B Priestley’s An Inspector Calls and an anthology of poetry. The detailed study of the texts will enable pupils to access the necessary themes, characters and devices of the authors, thus sharpening their powers of analysis which can be transferred to explore unseen passages and poems.
In English Language, pupils will explore a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries to develop skills, which will prepare them to analyse and compare unseen passages from these genres. An ability to write both creatively and formally is fostered throughout the course; pupils develop a fluent, exploratory and mature style that will stand them in good stead for their future.
Challenge & Extension: We expect all pupils on the Challenge & Extension programme to choose mature and sophisticated literature for reading around their texts throughout the course. The English Department provide guidance for all pupils and indeed the books themselves on many occasions, to encourage reading. In lessons, we encourage the higher ability pupils to achieve the sort of analytical and critical exploration expected at Key Stage 5