Mr. R.A. Simpson– Head of Department
Mrs M. Casaus- 2nd in Department
Dr. J.S. Gill
Mr. M. Stanley
Mrs. N. Rice
In Years 7, 8 and 9 the pupils are introduced to the delights of English Language and Literature. The whole seven years of English at MTS should be seen as one long course broken into three main stages which are interdependent, one leading onto the next, and the last to university. However, in the Lower School, there is greater freedom for teachers to select texts and tasks free from the constraints of GCSE and A level prescriptions.
Year 7 topics are designed to stimulate skills of cognition, communication, creativity, confidence and performance and there is some focus on assessment of these skills through a hierarchy grid which all boys are given to motivate them to improve. They also undertake a course in Library skills. More modern novels your son may study include Charlie Higson’s ‘The Enemy’ and David Walliams’ ‘The Demon Dentist’ as well as more established texts like Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights trilogy. Additionally boys complete a Form Journal ahead of the Presentation Evening to parents in their English lessons where they are encouraged to reflect on personal and autobiographical writing.
There is a Reading Challenge in Year 7 which rewards those who read a range of genres – a Roentgenium Award– even higher than Platinum! – is available for avid readers. Further initiatives to stimulate reading among Year 7 boys in the light of recent national concern over boys’ literacy include ‘Take a Reading Selfie’, which we trust is self-explanatory!
In Years 8 and 9, pupils concentrate on four main areas of English:
1. Literature (Prose, Poetry and Drama).
2. Media, Non-fiction and associated writing skills.
3. Language and Grammar.
4. Speaking and Listening.
Boys will work towards two GCSEs as they move into Year 10: English Language and English Literature. The new AQA GCSE specification specifies that texts may not be brought into the examination and there is no longer any Controlled Assessment or course work. However, the English Language papers are based on unseen material and test proficiency in both critical response and writing across a range of nonfiction as well as literary fiction material. For English Literature, while poetry remains dominant in one of the examination papers, there is also the opportunity to study a range of set texts, from old favourites like ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ to contemporary novels like ‘Pigeon English’.
We offer two separate A Level courses, one in English Literature and the other in English Language. In 2015 all boys taking English Literature at A Level received a grade at A*-B, while in English Language the figure was similarly impressive, at 88%. English Literature retains its prestige as one of the most demanding yet rewarding A Levels. The current Upper Sixth follow AQA Specification B and there are four units, two at AS and two at A2. Authors include F.S. Fitzgerald, Sebastian Faulks, Samuel Coleridge, Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare, Oliver Goldsmith and Thomas Hardy. Meanwhile the Lower Sixth are studying the new reformed AQA course which allows them to focus on the genre of comedy in the first years, studying, among other texts, ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘Emma’. English Language is an A Level growing in profile and has been offered very successfully by the department over a number of years. We study the Cambridge International English course, which at AS tests interpretive skills on unseen texts and the ability to write for a range of purposes and audiences. At A2 there is a more theoretical slant and students will learn about Child Language Acquisition and Global English, while sociolinguistics features prominently.
2014 Examination Results