The Senior School English Department aims to inspire a love for language as well as literature and nurture the potential of all children at all Key Stages. As teachers we strive to ensure that students flourish in English by encouraging learners to explore a wide variety of texts and inspiring them all the way to A-level and beyond.
We strongly believe in sharing good practice as well as monitoring and assessing students’ progress. By providing frequent feedback and setting targets we ensure that learners work towards fulfilling their potential regardless of individual ability. Schemes of work are continuously updated to reflect the needs of different courses and assessment criteria allow students to be monitored and assessed in a variety of ways.
Students are encouraged to enjoy and appreciate English Language and Literature through a variety of class work and homework activities which motivate them to respond and develop their ideas as well as their critical understanding. By exposing students to exciting texts at all key stages we aim to challenge and engage our students. Texts, for example, like Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with its perennial themes on love and 20th century fiction like George Orwell’s poignant dystopian novel 1984 created and continue to create the opportunities for enthusiastic discussions in evaluating authors’ methods and concerns.
Enrichment Opportunities in English
There are many enrichment opportunities in English. Our students participate frequently in internal as well as external competitions. At The Senior School we hold the annual Book Review Presentation along with a Creative Writing Competition where students have the opportunity to present their own poems, short stories and drama scripts in class. Ultimately, the best pieces selected are performed in front of an audience and a panel of distinguished judges. Moreover, we offer an exciting opportunity to participate in extra curriculum activities such as Debate Club and Book meets film club, which promote an all-rounded education in young learners.
Other external challenges our pupils enjoy include Creative Writing Competitions such as the Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition, where three of our pupils were recently awarded a Gold, silver and bronze Award. It is not a small feat that our students were selected from over 25,000 entries across the Commonwealth. The school has participated in the past in the Carnegie medal shadowing scheme and aims to continue taking part in such activities. Moreover, students have had the opportunity to attend workshops by well-known international poets and writers such as slam poet Philip Meersman and renowned English writer and classicist Natalie Haynes.
What should students be reading?
The answer is anything that engages their attention and allows them to develop their vocabulary and critical thinking! Students are given the opportunity to bring their own reading book to class and to delve into the world of reading once a week for D.E.A.R (a 20-minute DROP EVERYTHING AND READ session). It is important that all children are reading as much as they can, but the medium and source of that material can be varied and wide-ranging. It is most important that they are enjoying what they read. For example, it could be:
- Graphic novels/comic books
Students are provided with an extensive Fiction-Book list from Year 7 onwards to assist them in selecting the genre and novel that will engage them.
We help pupils stretch and widen their reading, but it is also important that it is age appropriate, which varies pupil by pupil.
KS3 (Years 7 to 9)
At this stage of their studies, the focus for Y7-Y9 is both on literature and literacy. Pupils study a range of set texts spanning prose, poetry and plays and exploring concepts such as identity, relationships, social structures and cultural perspectives.
English Language: At Key stage 3 we employ the Ignite English Language books, edited by Geoff Barton, which provide an effective transition between Years 7, 8, 9 and into GCSE.
English Literature: Between year 7-9 we cover a wide range and a variety of literary texts which prepare students aptly for IGSE English Literature.
The Year 7’s are currently studying an adapted drama version of Mary Shelley’s gothic text Frankenstein by Philip Pullman as well as Neil Gaiman’s dark fantasy novella Coraline. A selection of poetry is covered in the Ignite Y7 textbooks.
The Year 8’s are analysing this year Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and John Boyne’s poignant novel A Boy in the Striped Pajamas. A variety of World War I poetry is covered through the Ignite Y8 textbook.
The Year 9’s are evaluating An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestely as well as a selection of short stories and poetry including writers such as Graham Green and poets such as Emily Dickinson and Ted Hughes.
KS4 (Years 10 and 11): IGCSE Language and Literature
In Years 10 and 11, students build on the work started in Years 7 to 9 and commence the GCSE courses in English language and English literature.
Pupils currently take the CIE IGCSE First English language or CIE IGCSE Second English (following the recommendation of the department on which course is more suitable for the pupil).
CIE IGCSE First English language (0500)
This course by Cambridge International examinations assesses pupils on Reading and Writing skills in Papers 1 and 2 as well as offering an extra speaking and listening Component. Students’ skills are honed in terms of inferential reading, in providing a careful selection of evidence but also in evaluating their points in clearly paraphrased and well structured responses. The courses cover a wide range of skills including creative and persuasive writing as well as a close analysis of texts. Students are trained to articulate and express thoughts and feelings by using a range of vocabulary and sentence structures appropriate to context and structuring their ideas and opinions for deliberate effect. Emphasis is given, particularly in Paper 2 on accurate use of spelling, punctuation and grammar.
CIE IGCSE English Literature (0475)
Our students are able to demonstrate their knowledge of the texts at hand by incorporating well-selected references to the text skillfully and with flair. This course allows students to develop a critical understanding of texts, to display their individuality and insight of thematic content and to respond with sensitivity to the way that writers achieve their effects. An appreciation of various literary genres and a close analysis of a wide selection of texts in this course offers an incredible opportunity for literary exploration.
Currently, our pupils are taught Paper 1 (Poetry and Prose); in this course they cover a selection of poetry ranging from 19th century to the 21st century. The novel we are currently studying is Daphne Du Maurier’s neo-gothic ‘Rebecca’. In the past our students had also explored Alan Paton’s post-colonial text Cry the Beloved Country and George Orwell’s dystopian text 1984.
For Paper 3 (Drama) we are currently studying Shakespeare’s Othello and evaluating the themes but also character progression and tragic features of the play. Drama texts taught in the past included Arthur Millers’ The Crucible and A view From the Bridge.
Finally, students have the opportunity to display their ability in literary analysis by answering a question for Paper 4 on an Unseen Poem or Prose extract.
Sixth Form: International AS and A level
At the Senior School, students are given the opportunity to continue studying English at KS5 by taking the CIE English Literature Course (9695) at AS and A2 Level. Our students demonstrate consistently a passion and an unparalleled enthusiasm for Literature. We take pride in the fact that Senior School pupils have achieve highly by scoring the best marks for CIE As and A2 English Literature and being awarded the top marks in Cyprus.
In class we go into depth not only by analysing and exploring how meanings are shaped in texts but also by carefully considering how writers achieve the impact they have on an audience through various methods and techniques. Students enjoy examining a writer’s intentions and demonstrate sophisticated, mature and sensitive attitudes in class discussions on how context affects meaning. By the time they reach A2 they are able to develop sound critical thinking and embed various opinions effectively in their essays.
The course is planned to ensure a smooth transition from GCSE to A by introducing students from the outset to different styles of class work note taking, planning and research and focus on short extracts from texts. Essay writing skills are also further developed and students receive a lot of teacher support through regular feedback and meetings.
At AS Level there are two written papers:
Paper 1 Drama and Poetry - 2 hours (50% or 25% if moving into A2)
Paper 2 Prose and Unseen- 2 hours (50% or 25% if moving into A2)
At A level there are two further written papers:
Paper 3 Shakespeare and Drama – 2 hours (25%)
Paper 4 Pre and Post 1900 Poetry and Prose – 2 hours (25%)
What textbooks/resources will be used?
In Year 12 students study one Poetry text, one Prose text, one Drama text and variety of Unseen Prose, Poetry and Drama extracts.
In Year 12 we are studying a wide variety of poetry, a selection of short stories and Middleton’s 17th c play ‘The Changeling’
In Year 13 students study Shakespeare and other Drama plays and Pre and Post 1900 Poetry and Prose
This year we are studying Milton’s Paradise Lost Books IX and X, Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s tale, Shakespeare’s King Lear and Top Stoppard’s Indian Ink.
What are the GCSE requirements for this course?
Students wishing to study English Literature in the Sixth form need the following:
At least a Grade B in English Literature at IGCSE
Students who have not completed English Literature at IGCSE Level may select AS English Literature only after careful consultation with the Head of English. A grade A in 1st Language English of English as a 2nd Language will be considered an advantage.
Future Career Choices
The course prepares you for careers such as Writing, Journalism, Teaching, Law, Media, Publishing, Advertising and Marketing, Psychology, Librarianship, Archiving, Research, Human Resources, Social Work, and many more.
Sixth Form: General English
Cambridge International AS English General Paper 8021
The course in General English is compulsory for all Y13 students and is an essential component of the School’s Apolyterion qualification. On this course you will have the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of issues in three broad topic areas:
1. economic, historical, political, moral, and social
2. science, technology, mathematics, philosophy, ethics, and environmental issues
3. literature, language, the arts, crafts, and the media
Through the study of these topic areas you will develop effective reading and writing skills in English. You will be given opportunities to analyse and evaluate opinions and ideas as well as learn how to build an argument. These skills are transferrable and so will help you with your A Level studies and equip you for university and/or employment.
How is the course assessed
Students will sit for three Apolyterion tests in the course of the year.
Students also have the option of taking the CIE AS qualification. There are two papers for AS English General Paper. Paper 1 and Paper 2. Each Paper carries 50% of the total mark.
Paper 1: Essay (1 hour 15 minutes, 50%) (Answer one essay question from a choice of 10.)
Paper 2: Comprehension (1 hour 45 minutes, 50%). (Answer compulsory questions on reading material.)
What you can do after studying the course?
Completing the course in General English will equip you with a range of skills pertinent to your A Level studies or to future employment and university admission. It is an essential component of the Apolyterion qualification and will contribute to your final Apolyterion mark. If you decide to take the CIE examination in AS English General Paper, it will add to your range of qualifications and will earn you UCAS points.
You’ll enjoy this course because…
it equips you for your future
you can research a range of sources
you can analyse and evaluate a range of sources
you can engage in lively discussion and debate
you can prepare and present speeches to an audience
you can participate in role play and other interactive activities
you can explore topics through different perspectives/theoretical lenses
you can collaborate in groups
you will be encouraged to work on problem-solving
you will be able to formulate and express sophisticated arguments in written and oral form
you will be challenged to think creatively and critically
it helps you become a better writer and an independent thinker