The main aim of the English curriculum is to provide all pupils with the means by which they can develop their ability to use and understand English. We aim not only to prepare pupils for examinations, but also encourage them to enjoy reading and to become confident in their use of English in a range of contexts.
In Year 7 and 8, pupils will study a range of different texts in order to inspire a love of English and develop the skills required for GCSE study. Pupils will read modern texts such as Private Peaceful and Boy by Roald Dahl as well as exploring classic literature, such as Jane Eyre, Great Expectations and The Tempest. Pupils are provided with a foundation for further GCSE studies by studying language and its use in discussion and argument writing, as well as an introduction to many forms of poetry. To develop core skills for English Language study, pupils also focus on the foundation skills of spelling, punctuation and grammar.
In Years 9-11, pupils will study both GCSE English Literature and English Language, following the new AQA specification. As part of the English Literature course, pupils will study the plays Macbeth and An Inspector Calls, as well as the Victorian novella A Christmas Carol. They will also explore a number of poems from the ‘Power and Conflict’ anthology. As part of the English Language course, pupils will study a range of short fiction and non-fiction texts. This is intended to develop the skills for the comprehension-style questions that form the basis of Section A of both exams. Pupils will also work on developing their own descriptive and persuasive writing, which accounts for the other 50% of both English Language papers.
FACILITIES AND RESOURCES
The English Department is based in Queens Wing. All classrooms have data projection and the department has a wide range of literary resources and non-fiction resources, including a number of software programmes to aid understanding of reading and writing tasks. Regular feedback is undertaken to provide pupils with detailed information on what they have achieved and how skills can be improved. Intervention classes and small group sessions are also offered to support pupils further.
TRIPS AND VISITS
The English department has been involved in a number of trips and visits. Visits have taken place to watch performances of set texts at GCSE and A level, such as Dr Faustus.
The English department offers a number of extra-curricular opportunities. Pupils in Years 7 – 9 are able to attend the weekly creative writing club, which encourages reading and writing for pleasure. A recent development of this is the department blog, where students from all year groups are able to draft and publish their writing in the weekly blogging club.
Students interested in drama from across the school can become involved in the school productions, which take place twice a year. Drama plays a very prominent role in life at QEGS and there is now a well-established annual production schedule. Two plays are staged each academic year by the Head of Drama, one towards the end of the Michaelmas Term and one at the end of Trinity Term.
Past production titles have ranged from ensemble pieces such as J B Priestley’s “An Inspector Calls” and R C Sherriff’s “Journey’s End” (our most recent production in July 2017) to adaptations from classic fiction, such as “A Christmas Carol” in 2015 and this year’s two-part production of “Great Expectations”, which require large numbers of students of all secondary ages. A number of these repertoire choices have had the added benefit of providing opportunities for English students in the school at large to experience in-house staging’s of key English curriculum texts, thus aiding them in their revision for public examinations.