The English Department is a large one, as one might expect, with all students attending the Nelson Thomlinson School passing through our classroom doors. We are a team of 10 staff, varied in age, teaching experience and literary and linguistic interests; this variety is one of our many strengths.
At Key Stage 3, students receive 3-4 lessons of English per week, one of which is dedicated to literacy and here we pay attention to the basics: spelling, punctuation and grammar as well as encouraging an interest in reading of all kinds. Our schemes of work have been written and developed in line with National Curriculum criteria and include units exploring Old English in the narrative poem “Beowulf” in year 7, a study of science fiction in year 8 and a project exploring the presentation and propaganda of war across time in year 9. In all three years there is a balance of activities to develop writing, reading, speaking and listening skills. Students’ progress in these skills is tracked through regular, half termly assessments.
At Key Stage 4, we follow the AQA syllabus for English and English Literature for the majority of students with a small number studying only English where we feel this will allow them to maximise their grade. The course encourages students to develop original and independent responses to a wide range of texts from Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” to Golding’s “Lord of the Flies. In writing, there is a focus on their abilities in planning, organising and expressing ideas effectively as well as on the production of a wide range of text types from sophisticated narratives to formal letters of complaint. Students are also given opportunities to practise and demonstrate their skills in discussion, oral presentation and in role play drama.
Many students continuing into the Sixth Form can study English or English Literature at AS and A2 levels. They are required to become more independent in their analysis, reading and essay writing. The best students have a keen curiosity for their chosen subject and a strong desire to share their own opinions either in class discussion or in essay form as well as a keen, critical and analytical eye and an enjoyment of reading.
The department runs a number of extra-curricular activities both at lunchtime and after school including a drama group, film club and a Sixth Form reading group. We also organise trips to local theatres to see a variety of different productions throughout the year.