‘Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself’ - Angela Carter
It is our aim to instil an appreciation of literature in students of all ages. In their English lessons and during their co-curricular pursuits, students are given opportunities to read, analyse and discuss a diverse range of authors’ works, exploring literary texts from different generic traditions and historical periods. The students’ learning journey in English encompasses the study of works by writers such as William Shakespeare, John Milton, Charles Dickens, F. Scott Fitzgerald, J. B. Priestley, William Golding, Angela Carter, Benjamin Zephaniah, Carol Ann Duffy, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and a range of others.
The study of literature encourages students to become critical thinkers who are able to discuss literary texts and sociohistorical contexts in thoughtful, mature and sophisticated ways. The analytical, evaluative and essay writing skills that students develop through the study of English Literature provide an excellent foundation for their academic studies in other subjects, and for their future employment.
Explorations in English Language encourage students to analyse the possible intentions of fiction and non-fiction writers and the effects that these writers create through the language choices that they make. Students’ own creative talents are nurtured and celebrated in lessons which invite them to consider the power of their words and the ways in which language can be manipulated to create an impact for the reader. As such, creative writing lessons encourage students to use a range of written techniques to express themselves clearly, effectively and with flair.
Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)
Students in Years 7-9 read and analyse language in texts such as Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Golding’s Lord of the Flies, and Russell’s Blood Brothers, developing their abilities to construct clear arguments supported by appropriate quotations from the text. Crucial skills in the close analysis of language are introduced and practised at Key Stage 3, to be extended and embedded at Key Stage 4. These skills are fostered further via our scheme of work entitled Diverse Voices, inspired as it is by a range of empowering and inspirational stories from a range of different cultures.
Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11)
AQA GCSE English Language (8700)
English Language (AQA):
AQA GCSE English Literature (8702)
English Literature (AQA):
Students are welcome to attend the Journalism Club, which provides opportunities to experiment with writing persuasive and argumentative pieces as well as participate in our entry for the annual ‘BBC Young Reporter’ initiative.
Students also benefit from visits from published writers, enjoying opportunities to ask questions about the creative process and to take part in writing workshops in which they develop their own creative voice. Each year, we not only celebrate national days such as ‘World Poetry Day’ and ‘World Book Day’ – where students and staff can enter a competition to ‘get caught reading’ in unusual or original places – but also enter many writing competitions, such as the ‘Foyle Young Poets of the Year’ competition and the ‘Catholic Independent Schools’ Conference’ (CISC) poetry competition.
We enjoyed great success in the CISC poetry competition in 2021 with two students gaining first and second place in the Senior competition, and first place in the Junior competition. In 2022, a student gained first place in the ‘Max Gate Intermediate Essay Prize 2022’. The judges claimed that our entrant commented that ‘the first-person narrative created a gripping and moving story which felt very authentic.
In 2022, 81% and 75% of our students gained grades 9-7 in English Language and English Literature GCSEs respectively.
Acting Head of English: Mr D Madge [email protected]