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English

English

Welcome to the English Department

Our Staff

STAFF

ROLE

Ms E WilliamsHead of English, Drama and Deputy Head of Sixth Form
Mrs K OakleyEnglish and Theatre Studies
Mrs A PhillipsEnglish, Theatre Studies and Drama
Ms Foy English
Mr A SmithEnglish and Music
Dr F De BonoEnglish and Drama

Aims

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.

Curriculum

Lower School

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.  

IGCSE

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.

Sixth Form

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.

Resources

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.

Beyond the Classroom

Extra-Curricular Activities Offered by the English and Drama Department

  • Weekly Junior Drama Club 
  • Regular theatre trips organised by the department
  • Weekly Senior Literary Society – for Lower Fifth girls upwards
  • Extra trips, such as the Cheltenham Literature Festival – for Sixth Form girls
  • Weekly Book Club – run by Ms Foy and Mrs Aves, School Librarian
  • School magazine – edited by Mrs Aves, School Librarian. 

Autumn Term

  • Whole School Poetry Competition, usually following the theme of National Poetry Day
  • Whole school production – directed by Mrs Oakley. Please see the Drama page for more details

Spring Term

  • Inter-form Drama Competition. All form groups in the lower school work together to produce a class play. They compete in heats for a place in the final, which takes place on the School Birthday
  • Shakespeare workshops for all lower school classes

Summer Term

  • Junior Plays – an evening of performances by the Thirds and Lower Fourths

 

Trips and Events

Recent Theatre Trips and Events offered by the English Department

  • Jane Eyre - National Theatre - Sixth Form Trip
  • Measure for Measure- The Young Vic - Sixth Form Trip
  • Sense and Sensibility at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Lectures and Talks

  • A level revision conferences on the set texts
  • Professor John Mullan on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility
  • Visiting authors and critics

Other Enrichment Opportunities

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream workshop for the Thirds 
  • Macbeth workshop for the Lower Fourth
  • Romeo and Juliet workshop for the Upper Fourth

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