The English department provides a broad and varied curriculum for all pupils at key stage 3, key stage 4 and key stage 5. We seek to imbue our students with a love of literature and language and to tap their creative potential and of course, crucially, to prepare them for their examinations at the end of key stage 3 and their GCSE and A-Level examinations.
The English department reflects the aims of the Mission Statement of the school by recognizing each pupil as an individual and unique creation of God who should be equipped to contribute effectively to society, promoting honesty, justice and integrity in all aspects of their adult, Christian lives. In striving to achieve our mission we aim to give students a range of educational experience to enable them to work fruitfully both independently and in groups, take responsibility for their learning and to develop a lively and enquiring mind, able to understand the world around them, ask questions, find solutions and make decisions which allow them to develop their full humanity. To this end the English department endeavours to instill in our students a sense of awe and wonder of the world and complex human relationships through the study of literature and a clear understanding and appreciation of the beauty of the English language. Through the investigation of a range of moral issues, we aim to equip students with values which enhance their understandings of the teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church and to grasp their implications in the context of the present day.
Developing students with all-round skills
We aim to develop students’ skills in Speaking and Listening and Reading and Writing, drawing upon prose, poetry and drama as well as media texts and ICT. Both literary and non-literary texts are used to stimulate students to read with understanding and for pleasure. We aim to strike the right balance between literary and aesthetic concerns on the one hand and literacy and the development of transferable skills and cross-curricular learning on the other. Students are actively encouraged to express their opinions and feelings through group discussion and debate as well as through discursive writing and are taught to develop their critical awareness, the English classroom being a forum for shared learning.
A crucial aspect of our work in English revolves around Assessing Pupils’ Progress (APP) which provides a structured approach to assessing English so teachers can track students’ progress in Reading and Writing through key stage 3 and use diagnostic information about students’ strengths and weaknesses. At regular intervals students are given specific writing assessment tasks, the results reviewed and a profile built up of each student’s attainment. This is then used to inform whole school tracking targets in relation to each student.
The department is well resourced with books and computers and students are encouraged to use subject specific software including word processing programmes. Materials are carefully selected to ensure equality of opportunity for all.
The English department is located close to the Library and enjoys its own suite of modern, spacious, carpeted rooms, office and stock-room. The department plays an active role in the extracurricular life of the school, participating in such national events as the Readathon, and writing competitions as well as National Poetry Day, World Book Day and Holocaust Memorial Day. Theatre in education groups come into the school to work with students, for example in relation to their Shakespeare courses and colleagues organise trips to West End theatres. An English Club meets weekly as a forum for such events as well as promoting creative writing and debate. In these ways the English department plays a crucial role in raising the profile of English in the school as well as fostering the creative and intellectual talents of our students, empowering them for their future lives and careers.