Part of the English Department’s ethos is to sustain pupils’ interests in learning about language and literature when they leave their English lessons. Opportunities to explore the subject outside the traditional classroom context are provided in order to raise attainment and promote a lasting love of the subject.
This is a successful extra-curricular group that has a respected position in the school’s culture. Pupils from all year groups are encouraged to attend. The focus is on reading poetry for pleasure and exploring creative ideas when composing original poetry.
These groups were created at the request of pupils and parents. Two clubs exist within the school. The first is open to Year Seven pupils and is led by the school’s librarian. The second is based in the English Department and is aimed at more senior pupils.
Poetry Workshop – Year Seven
Each January, a contemporary poet is invited into school to lead Year Seven pupils in a poetry workshop. This is funded jointly by the English Department and the Gifted and Talented budget. Feedback from pupils indicates that this workshop really helps them to engage with poetry and to realise that writing creatively can be a fun, rewarding activity.
Stratford-upon-Avon – Year Eight
To further pupils’ knowledge of the life and times of William Shakespeare, every pupil is invited to join an educational visit to his home town. The outing involves visits to three properties linked to Shakespeare: Anne Hathaway’s cottage, Mary Arden’s farm and his birthplace in the town centre. During the day, pupils experience life in the Tudor times and explore the context in which Shakespeare wrote.
Stafford Castle – Year Nine
Encouraging pupils to understand the performance element of Shakespeare’s plays is achieved by offering a visit to the grounds of Stafford Castle to watch an open-air performance. The Department attends an matinee which is specially available to schools. Excellent performances of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ have been enjoyed by pupils so far.
Literature Workshops – Year Ten/Eleven
For a number of years, SayTwo Theatre Company has been invited into school to provide performances/workshops for GCSE candidates. Several high-quality workshops have been enjoyed by pupils so far and many more are planned for the future.
Celebration of Art and Poetry/ Literature Evening
– All year groups
To celebrate the skills of gifted poets within school and to show the Department’s desire to provide purposeful cross-curricular links, a celebration evening is held each year. Catering, music, art and poetry are all provided by pupils, with the support of the relevant Heads of Department. Parents and other interested parties are given free tickets to the evening, including Primary colleagues.
The enrichment activities listed above are only the regular annual events organised by the English Department. A range of other opportunities are made available each year, based on the interests of particular groups of pupils.