The study of English Language and Literature provides students with a wealth of transferable skills which will help them to succeed in almost all areas of their curriculum. In English lessons, we cover everything from basic literacy skills, such as use of accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar, to effective and sophisticated essay writing skills. Students will progress in their reading, advancing in core skills such as comprehension, summary and analysis; the girls’ writing skills will also be refined, as we encourage using language creatively to achieve effects and engage a reader. Discussion is also an invaluable aspect of study in English, so the girls’ Speaking and Listening skills are enhanced through presentations, debates, group discussions and role play. We aim to nurture our girls’ creativity, whilst also helping them to become critical thinkers and independent learners with a love of literature.
Key Stage 3
At KS3, the girls have four lessons of English a week and a library lesson to develop their reading skills using the Accelerated Reader programme. The KS3 curriculum is designed to cover a range of core skills through topics such as Gothic Horror and a study of Fairytales. We study a range of whole texts and extracts from across the literary cannon, looking at novels, plays and poetry, including a Shakespeare play each year. Understanding the social, cultural and historical context of these texts also helps the girls to develop a deeper understanding of how literature has both reflected and shaped society throughout history. This then leads to critical discussion about how this has influenced the writer’s overall meaning or message and their ideas and attitudes towards their subject matter. Together, we analyse the way a text’s language and structure has shaped these ideas, as the students learn to enhance their analytical written responses to the texts studied.
Key Stage 4
At KS4 the students continue to refine the skills they have been developing at KS3 through further exploration of both fiction and non-fiction texts, with five English lessons a week. We study English Literature from Year 9, culminating in their final GCSE examination in the summer of Year 10. English Language is studied throughout, with the final examination in the summer of Year 11.
Key Stage 5
We currently follow the AQA English Literature A and English Language and Literature specification; with the new specifications starting in September 2015, we will be following the EDUQAS English Literature programme of study. The students will study prose, poetry and drama from renowned writers, leading to examinations at AS level and both coursework and examinations at A level.