English is taught as a compulsory subject to the end of Year 11, with the overall aim of developing students’ powers of self-expression and understanding of the written word.
Essential to this process is the foundation in the subject laid in the first three years. The Department has developed a varied and structured approach to teaching in the lower school to ensure that all students follow a common programme for the purposes of National Curriculum assessment. In addition, the Department aims:
- to provide a wide experience of good literature and media texts related to the age and interests of the students, and so encourage an interest in reading and a critical awareness in preparation for work at senior level;
- to motivate students towards creative and analytical written work;
- and to introduce, in context and using the national literacy strategy, important technical language skills and those of comprehension, listening and discussion.
Regular library lessons are included in order to foster enjoyment of reading and to familiarise students with library practice.
In the lower school, drama and role play are also used to explore themes, ideas, issues and characters in literature as a means of stimulating creative writing and developing students’ oral skills.
In Years 10 and 11 students follow a course based on the National Curriculum Programmes of Study for Key Stage 4. These give plenty of opportunities to read a wide range of texts from the English Literary Heritage and to write in a variety of forms and registers.
Assessments at GCSE in both English Language and English Literature take place at the end of Year 11 in a series of public examinations. GCSE results are “consistently well above average”.
In the Sixth Form, suitably qualified students will be able to proceed to a two-year course in A Level English Literature using the AQA syllabus, and/or English Language using the OCR syllabus which involves coursework and final examinations.
The Department makes use of audio-visual aids including IPads and interactive whiteboards as a stimulus to students’ language development and appreciation of literature.