Welcome to the English Department
|Ms E Williams||Head of English, Drama and Deputy Head of Sixth Form|
|Mrs K Oakley||English and Theatre Studies|
|Mrs A Phillips||English, Theatre Studies and Drama|
|Mr A Smith||English and Music|
|Dr F De Bono||English and Drama|
We wish to encourage our pupils to:
1. Love reading.
2. Read with understanding in order to be able to make critical judgements.
3. Develop confidence as speakers, readers and writers.
Although in the first three years of school we follow (in broad outline) the requirements for Key Stage 3, each member of the department designs his or her own course. Girls usually have a different teacher each year so that they experience a wide range of enthusiasms from the different staff; one Shakespeare play is studied each year, and a wide range of prose and poetry. Private reading is encouraged, as well as studying the work of famous writers, and girls are encouraged to produce their own creative writing. Advertising can be explored, and designing a newspaper's front page when studying a novel like To Kill a Mockingbird. Girls may learn about the conditions in Elizabethan England when studying Shakespeare, or education for nineteenth-century young women when reading Jane Eyre.
In Years 10 and 11 both English and English Literature are studied, leading to the IGCSE (Cambridge specification).
The Language course consists of: a Reading Examination, where candidates answer three questions on two passages of 600–700 words each, linked by a common theme (50% of the total marks); and a Coursework Portfolio, where candidates submit three assignments, each of 500-800 words (50% of the total marks). The Literature course consists of: two Examination papers on Set Texts (Poetry, Prose and Drama – 75% of the total marks); and a Coursework Portfolio, where candidates submit two assignments of 600-1000 words each (25% of the total marks).
All girls will study a Shakespeare play, either for the Literature examination, or for their Literature coursework. The IGCSE course is more traditional and academically rigorous in structure and there are no controlled assessments as with other GCSE specifications.
On the whole we tend to choose the more demanding, ‘classic' texts to be examined – since we wish to encourage girls to think well beyond the demands of GCSE, learning how to think for themselves; and we always hope that they will begin to realise the riches of literature beyond the ‘set texts' syllabus.
We follow the OCR linear A level course. The girls will study for two examination components and one non-examined component (coursework). The first examination offers girls the opportunity to engage in the close reading of a Shakespeare play, which will be 'Measure for Measure' and two linked texts, one drama and one poetry, written before 1800, which will be 'The Duchess of Malfi' and Chaucer's 'The Merchant's Prologue and Tale'. The second examination will consist of a close reading exercise of an unseen passage of prose and a comparative essay on a chosen topic area. Our chosen topic area is 'Women in Literature'; our core text is 'Sense and Sensibility' and the secondary text is 'Jane Eyre'.
For the non-examined component, the girls will study three texts linked by the theme of growing up, which are the poetry anthology, Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney, the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan and the play The History Boys by Alan Bennett.
In the Sixth Form, much teaching is conducted through discussion and debate. Girls are expected to contribute to argument rather than passively ‘receive' instruction; and the demands of the specification increasingly require independent reading and research. Girls are also expected to produce presentations on topics and themes, in order to widen the group's background understanding.
The Department has a suite of classrooms, all equipped with computer and projection equipment. We work very closely with Mrs Aves, our Librarian, who stocks a wide variety of books and is well placed to advise girls on choosing titles suitable for them. The Library is also extremely well-resourced to enhance the study of English at IGCSE and A level. Articles from English journals can be located there, and girls also have online access to these.
The department subscribes to the 'English Review' magazine which is also ordered for all A level student. The girls also have access to the online archive, giving them access to a broad range of scholarly articles.