Years 7, 8 and 9
In Years 7, 8 and 9, English is primarily taught through reading a wide range of literary and non-literary texts as well as encouraging students to develop their own individual writing. Novels studied include ‘Private Peaceful’ by Michael Morpurgo and ‘The Graveyard Book’ by Neil Gaiman as well as the collection of short stories ‘A Writer’s Cauldron’. A range of poetry is studied, including pre-twentieth century works. A love of Shakespeare is also encouraged, with students reading scenes, and eventually, whole plays. The use of role-play is used to enhance understanding of scenes.
The English Department runs a Creative Writing Club, with submissions to various competitions supported and encouraged, and there is an annual Poetry Competition in celebration of National Poetry Day. Students also regularly take part in the Southern Schools’ Book Award.
Years 10 and 11: GCSE
In Years 10 and 11, most students follow the AQA syllabus and take both English Language and English Literature GCSEs. The Language course includes close analysis of fiction and non-fiction texts, and the students' own creative and persuasive writing. The Literature course is comprised of Shakespeare, a 19th Century novel, Modern Prose or Drama, and Poetry: both an anthology of works and unseen. All assessment is by final examination and there is also a separate Spoken Language endorsement in which students prepare and give a speech. As with the younger years, students are encouraged to use role-play and creative techniques to explore texts.
IGCSE in English as a First Language
Pre IB students have the option to take the Cambridge First Language GCSE. This is composed of three elements. Firstly the final written examination, which includes comprehension and analysis of unseen passages, as well as directed writing on a given topic. Secondly, a written coursework portfolio with three pieces: a) informative/persuasive writing; b) descriptive/narrative writing c) writing in response to stimulus. Finally, there is the oral coursework component, with three assignments: individual, pair, and group.
IGCSE in English as a Second Language
At GCSE level, girls whose first language is not English will be tested at the beginning of Year 10 to determine whether they will take the standard GCSE English Courses in English Language and English Literature, or whether they will study the IGCSE in English as a Second Language (ESL).
Click here to read more about the IGCSE in ESL course.
Sixth Form: International Baccalaureate
In Sixth Form, students have the choice of taking A1 English Language and Literature or, for girls whose first language is not English, Language Acquisition English. Both are offered at Standard or Higher Level.
English Language and Literature
Students who take the English Language and Literature course are given the opportunity to explore the culture of the language and to make connections between other languages and cultures with which they are familiar. They study a variety of text types: Poetic Communication, Mass Communication and Professional Communication. At Standard Level there are four literary texts and there are six at Higher Level. Assessment is through two written examination papers, written tasks completed during the course and two oral activities.
Language Acquisition English
Language Acquisition students develop a deeper understanding of grammar through a focus on form and meaning, while learning to communicate in a variety of different registers. Higher Level students also study works of literature as part of their course.
Both the Higher and Standard Level courses present an opportunity to study a wide range of text types, including news bulletins, reviews, newspaper articles, advertisements, interviews, radio and TV broadcasts, and to develop students’ ability to understand and create language for a wide range of communicative purposes.
Click here to read more about Language Acquisition English.