We make no secret of the fact that our mission is to create a love of reading. Reading creates. It creates worlds. It creates people. It creates opportunities. Therefore, we don’t think we would be doing our job if we didn’t try to inspire every pupil who walked into our classrooms to read.
Our curriculum provides a rich and varied diet of literature, ranging from classic English literature, to modern American fiction; from children’s bestsellers to poems from around the globe. We teach the literature we love, so we love to teach literature and we aim to communicate this passion through lively and dynamic lessons.
In fact, we strive to create critical readers not just of literature, but of the world around us.
With the constant bombardment of media images and messages faced by the 21st century school pupil, we feel it is crucial that pupils are empowered to understand, decode and scrutinise the texts they face on a daily basis.
This empowerment of the individual pupil also extends to our drive to create effective communicators. We know that timed essays, controlled assessments and exams are just a small part of the writing experience that pupils will have in their lifetime. Therefore, while we work hard to prepare pupils for the crucial qualifications they need, we work just as hard at helping pupils to develop the one thing which will shape them in the future away from the classroom: a voice.
Key Stage 3
In years 7, 8 and 9, pupils are taught in mixed ability classes where they experience a broad range of literature, media and non-fiction texts. Texts range from Shakespeare to Sherlock Holmes, Michael Morpurgo to Malorie Blackman. We also aim to provide pupils with a wide range of opportunities to write in a range of different forms for a variety of audiences – blogs, advertisements and short stories are just some of the writing tasks that pupils undertake. Speaking and listening is also given real emphasis. The annual public speaking competition, involving the entire school, illustrates our commitment to develop all aspects of a pupil’s communication skills.
Key Stage 4
In years 10 & 11, the faculty teach the AQA GCSE English Literature and GCSE English Language specifications. Classes in Years 10 and 11 will be set to create a support group for pupils with target grades below a 4. This will enable them to receive more specialised support from their teacher and a teaching assistant to focus on meeting or exceeding their target grades. Pupils with target grades of grade 4 or greater will be taught together. All pupils study a rich variety of classic and modern literature as well as the language that they use and experience on a daily basis. Having studied a wide range of texts, we then support pupils to become effective communicators and creative writers. Pupils are expected to leave the school, having made excellent progress in English, but also with a much greater awareness of their world.
The English classroom doesn’t simply shut down at the end of the school day. We provide a wide range of extra-curricular activities to compliment and extend our curriculum. We offer after-school clubs such as Creative Writing Club and BBC School Report Club. Every year we run a variety of out of school experiences including theatre visits, trips to the Cheltenham Literature Festival and a writing workshop. As well as this, every year we invite a popular author to come to the school, speak to our pupils and run a writing workshop with our gifted writer. We really do try and provide something for everyone.