English & Drama
We aim to enable students to become confident, articulate communicators in both spoken and written English and to foster a lifelong love of literature. The department, led by Ms Blair, comprises six full time subject specialists, two of whom teach drama as well as English - Ms Lorenz, Ms Moran, Ms Randall, Ms Godliman, Ms Chedda and Ms Harris. English is taught in five dedicated English classrooms (including one in the sixth form block). Drama is taught in the Drama Hall and in the Drama Space in the Sixth Form Centre.
We have very high expectations of all our students and challenge each of them to achieve their personal best. 89% of our students achieved A*- C grades in English Language and 30% achieved A/A* results in both English Literature and English Language.
Key Stage 3
Students study a range of literary and non-literary texts throughout Key Stage 3. They study a Shakespeare play every year. Novels, poems and short stories from the Literary Heritage are studied as well as literature from other cultures.Students have seven hour long periods of English over the two week timetable. Good literacy underpins all our work and students in Years 7, 8 and 9 have a dedicated weekly literacy lesson in which we focus on securing accurate and effective vocabulary, grammar and spelling for students at all levels. Students develop their writing skills through the analysis and practice of diverse written assignments for different audiences and purposes. All students study drama in Key Stage 3.
Our English and Drama topics are taught in half-termly modules and students have a written assessment at the end of each module. Students' progress is assessed regularly and tracked against target grades. Each Key Stage 3 module is accompanied by a homework booklet containing a "menu style" list of homework tasks for each week. Students should complete these weekly homework tasks over two evenings, spending at least a total of three hours on each task.
English Topics Covered
- Module 1: “Wonder”/ autobiographical writing
- Module 2: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
- Module 3: Passion for poetry
- Module 4: Dracula (play adaptation)/ Introduction to the Gothic genre
- Module 5: “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas”
- Module 1: “The Woman in Black”
- Module 2: “Much Ado About Nothing”
- Module 3: Poetry – “Character and Voice”
- Module 4: Short stories – American Crime/ own short stories
- Module 1: “Of Mice and Men”
- Module 2: War Poetry
- Module 3: “Macbeth”
- Module 4: “An Inspector Calls”
Drama Topics Covered
- Introduction to Drama- new skills
- The Party (text work)- exploring a short story through voice and movement
- Physical Theatre- using our bodies to create shapes/ objects/ locations
- Silent Movies- traditional techniques from the early 1900's. Performance history
- Where Theatre Began (Greek) exploring the root of all theatre
- Ruislip Manor Wood- creating atmosphere through sound and movement
- Extra Skills- new skills
- Panto! - specific theatrical techniques unique to Pantomime
- Ernie's Incredible Illucinations (Script work)-performing scripts
- The Legend of Jan Reynolds- exploring morals and their relevance in society
- Advanced Skills- development of theatre techniques
- Wonder- how we are treated and how we expect to be treated in society
- Soap Opera-looking at plot lines and their relevance to our experiences
- Missing (script work)-exploring the real life story of a missing 14 year old boy
- Music as Stimulus- using different genres of music to create drama and to inspiration the reasons behind the songs
- Masks- Theatre History, looking at Comedia D'ell Arte
- Blood Brothers- script work looking specifically at the use of flash back
- Time travel-theatre through the ages and it's influences today
Key Stage 4 - GCSE
Currently, all students at Key Stage 4 are entered for AQA GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. They complete their controlled assessment tasks during Year 10 and are expected to do 3-4 hours of homework and revision each week. Students are taught in carefully constructed mixed ability groups of 25 students or fewer. Teachers plan differentiated programmes which take into account the needs and academic targets of the individual students in their classes. Students' progress is tracked and discussed regularly and intervention put in place where required.
Students study “Romeo and Juliet”, “Jane Eyre”, An Inspector Calls” and a range of poetry. They are taught to respond to and analyse a range of fiction and non-fiction texts from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty first centuries. They also develop their own writing skills for a range of audiences and purposes.
English GCSE Topics covered
Year 10: Students study Language and Literature for the reformed GCSE. The Literature texts covered in Year 10 are An Inspector Calls, Romeo and Juliet, a nineteenth century novel (either Jane Eyre, Jekyll and Hyde or A Christmas Carol).
Year 11: Students study poetry (including the Conflict and Power cluster from the AQA Anthology) as well as preparation and skills required for English Language.
Drama is offered as an option subject at GCSE. Students study drama mediums and processes and are assessed on their written analysis as well as on their practical performance.
Drama GCSE Topics covered
- Skills to Create - development of performance skills required by AQA
- The Crucible - set text for AQA written exam
- Human Rights - exploration of theme for AQA specification
- Script Work - introduction to script work for AQA exam
- Eilly Elliot - Unit 2 Edexcel exam
- Unit 3 Devising - Edexcel external examination. devise, rehearse and perform an original piece of theatre.
Key Stage 5 / Sixth Form - A Level
We offer English Literature as a two year linear course following the Edexcel specification. Students develop and extend their reading repertoire and are expected to carry out a significant amount of independent reading and research.
Students will explore reading processes and examine the ways in which texts relate to the cultures in which they were written as well as considering the ways in which literary critics have approached the study of literature. Students study a variety of literary texts over the two years including:
- two novels with a thematic link
- a novel written pre 1900
- a range of classic and contemporary novels
- a range of poetry including a selection of poetry written after 2000
- dramatic tragedies including a play by Shakespeare
- critical anthologies.
ENRICHMENT & EXTRA-CURRICULAR
We believe that it is important for students to experience the richness and variety of English and drama outside the classroom. We enter students' writing for local and national competitions and have been successful over many years. Each year we take part in the English Speaking Union's Public Speaking Competition and have, in the past three years, progressed to the regional final and been awarded "best questioner" for this prestigious competition. We arrange theatre visits and poetry reading events to support the students' study of literature. We have close links with the Orange Tree Theatre Company and invite them in each year to work with students across the age range.
There is a thriving drama club and school productions are a regular and successful feature of the school.
LIFE AFTER CHRIST'S
A significant number of students go on to study English Language and Literature at AS and A level. Many continue to study the subject at degree level. One former student is reading English Literature at Oxford University.
Further and higher qualifications in English provide a platform for careers in a wide range of subjects including journalism, the law, teaching, marketing and human resources.
A Level students can log on to emagazine (login details available from English teachers and Sarah Garrett (Learning Resource Centre Manager).
There are a range of reading lists and subject specific publications in the Learning Resources Centre.