Miss C Lewis – Head of Department
Mr. R.A. Simpson
Dr. J.S. Gill
Mr. M. Stanley
Mrs. L. Coleman
Mrs. L. Emmerson
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 MTBS should be seen as one long course broken into three main stages which are interdependent, one leading to the next, and the last to university. In the lower school, our aim is to develop and nurture the linguistic skills that students will need in order to face the challenges ahead.
All of our topics at Key Stage Three have been chosen to develop and stimulate skills of cognition, communication, interpretation and analysis. Boys are encouraged to consider deeper implications of texts and to seek answers to broader questions about their relevance and application to their lives today. We encourage critical thinking and aim to develop the boys’ independence as they learn to engage with challenging texts.
Throughout years 7-9 pupils concentrate on four main areas of English. These are explored through a broad variety of different texts and genres:
- 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 AQA GCSE specification specifies that texts may not be brought into the examination and there is no longer any Controlled Assessment or coursework. 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.
English Literature retains its prestige as one of the most demanding yet rewarding A Levels. Students follow AQA Specification B, a linear course split into two genres. In Year 12, boys focus on the tragedy genre and explore texts such as Hardy’s ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ and Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’. As they move into Year 13, they explore the crime writing genre. Here they learn to identify typical characteristics of this style of writing and engage with unseen extracts from across a range of crime writing subgenres. Texts for study include Katie Atkinson’s ‘When Will There Be Good News?’ as well as Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet.’
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.