English Update- Summer 2
World Book Day
After many months of covid restrictions, we were finally able to put on some events to rejoice in all things English. The first was to celebrate World Book Day - a whole day dedicated to improving the lives of young people through reading and literacy. This comprised of a book swap bonanza which saw student trading books they had read, loved and were ready to pass on to another student to spread an appreciation of the written word. A huge thanks to those involved and the library for their support on the day.
LS Summer Reading Challenge!
Hello Year 7 and 8,
Fancy a journey into the imagination over this summer?
We have the perfect challenge for you! This summer the English department are tasking you with reading books about the following:
- A story that is set in a fantastical world
- A story about spies
- A story about someone whose life is different from your own
- A story that has been developed into a movie/television show
- A book with a beautiful cover
- An autobiography or biography about a fascinating person.
- An R1 will be awarded to everyone who takes part.
- An R2 will be awarded to everyone who completes over half of the challenge.
- An R3 and a postcard home will be awarded to any student who completes the challenge.
To enter: Your current English teacher will give you a sheet to fill in once you have completed each book. Hand this sheet in to your new English teacher in September.
Here are some recommendations from the English Department:
After their completion of the central text ‘A Monster Calls’ in our Relationships scheme, our Year 7 cohort headed into the theatre to watch the film adaptation, to further support their understanding of the plot and themes within the novel. Whilst there may not have been a dry eye in the room, with the film exploring heart-wrenching grief and loss, the story also sheds light on the importance of independent decision-making, dealing with difficult emotions and finding your voice – all of which are extremely important in our ever-changing, contemporary world.
Throughout this year, the English Department have embedded further opportunities to encourage our young people to ‘read for pleasure.’ In all of our Year 7 and Year 8 classes, we have implemented 15-minute independent reading sessions at the beginning of one English lesson per week, where students read a book that they themselves are interested in. Whilst this has obvious benefits for students’ literacy skills, reading also significantly increases empathy, improves relationships with others and enhances one’s wellbeing throughout life. In light of this, we were thoroughly impressed by this book review of Weirdo’s War by Michael Coleman, completed within one of our reading groups!
During the summer term, Year 8 have been studying Jason Reynolds’ ‘Long Way Down,’ a novel exploring themes of gang violence, revenge and morality, told through contemporary prose poetry. This text broke the literary boundaries many people associate with poetry and students were thoroughly engrossed with the story and stylistic choices the poet makes throughout the novel.
Earlier this year, the English Department launched a new writing initiative: the 200-word challenge! Once per fortnight, every student in KS3 partakes in a topical writing activity which is relevant to the learning that has been taking part in their classrooms. As part of a 200-word challenge, students were given the opportunity to create their own concrete poetry based on the text. Here is one of the fabulous pieces of work that was produced for this task:
It has been an extremely exciting and successful term for our year 9 students, who kickstarted the summer in the theatre watching a theatre adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, which has complemented their study of work in the English curriculum, as well as prepared them further for their GCSE study of Macbeth in Year 10 and 11.
The year group have also completed an element of their GCSE Language course this term – the spoken language endorsement. Students had to choose a topic they felt passionate about, plan and write a 5 minute speech to be delivered in front of their class. Topical issues discussed included the disparity of pay between genders, the unethical nature of animal testing, and even whether pineapple belongs on pizza! This is a tricky and particularly daunting element of the course for lots of students, however, it has been lovely to see so many students grow in confidence and discovering their independent interests. Please do commend our Year 9s on their great efforts!
The end of the year calls for huge congratulations for this year group, as they have now completed all content for their English Literature GCSE. Over the past 18 months, these students have worked tirelessly, studying 1 prose text, 2 plays, 16 poems and an abundance of unseen poetry practice. During their progression exams, the cohort sat the longest and hardest Literature exam, which is fantastic practice for the real examinations this time next year.
The hard work does not stop there – due to COVID restrictions in the classroom, these students were unable to complete their speaking and listening endorsement last year, thus they have ended the year preparing and completing their speeches. Year 10 have worked extremely hard this year and regardless of COVID, have taken learning in their stride, and we are confident that this diligence and perseverance will contribute to their successes.
Our English Literature A Level group went Welsh in June, climbing The Skirrid, a mountain just outside Abergavenny which inspired the poetry book ‘Skirrid Hill’ by Owen Sheers, which they are studying. Everyone made it to the top, although with little breath left, and enjoyed the spectacular views of Wales and England either side. Whether they discovered “the answers to every question (they) have never known”, as Sheers' proclaims, you’ll have to ask them.
The group also took part in an Academic Conference at The Cotswold School this term. The purpose of the trip was to enrich students’ experience of English by having the opportunity to hear professional subject knowledge talks and engage with students who work on complimentary texts. It gave them the opportunity to gain confidence presenting their work (NEA topic), which aligns perfectly with study in Further Education. The trip was a huge success and all students involved were a huge credit to the school and themselves.