St Peter's School
From the very start of a pupil’s time in the English department we seek to generate a love of the English language and its accompanying literature. We do this through a constantly evolving Third Form curriculum which promotes pre- and post-twentieth century writing in all its forms; we encourage independent reading wherever and whenever possible and are keen for every single pupil to be engaged in and proud of the work that they produce.
Moving through the school, modes of self-expression are particularly important to us; we wish to develop writers, readers and thinkers who are articulate and measured, yet passionate and flamboyant if the need arises. Above all, we aim to share in our belief that spoken and written language empowers if wielded with skill.
We begin the year with a creative writing module, which encompasses National Poetry Day and makes significant contributions to our annual magazine ‘The Peterite’. We aim to engage the pupils in a dynamic relationship with Language and Literature; this means reading different styles of writing and then experimenting with these stylistic features in order to discover a convincing creative ‘voice’, whilst understanding the absolute necessity for accuracy and care. At this level all pupils will have a taste of Shakespeare in addition to contemporary writers updated each year. We aim to develop comprehension, skills of retrieval and an understanding of how to use information in diverse ways. Effective participation in discussion and dialogue is fully encouraged: speaking and listening activities take the forms of debates, drama, individual presentations and group collaborations.
At the finish of two years’ study with the English department, pupils will have two exam results: one for Language and one for Literature. Although generally English Language examines non-fiction material and encourages experimentation with forms in pupils’ own writing (stories, diaries, journals, letters and speeches to name but a few), both Language and Literature rely heavily upon the ability to read closely and analyse a range of texts. Pupils will be encouraged to improve upon accuracy in writing, read collaboratively and independently but above all we will ask them to speak their minds. Personal response is at the heart of the IGCSE courses and learning to think and respond for oneself is a given. Clear written and verbal communication is at the heart of nearly all subjects at GCSE; work with the English department will filter into other studies when trying to justify an answer, or when analysing a piece of complicated data and having to explain its outcome coherently.
A level (OCR)
English Literature is in the first wave of governmental reforms for A level. We now move to a two year, linear course without the interruption of AS levels. Pupils will start with a foundation course in reading and writing skills; they will then begin to study a broad range of texts, from Shakespeare and Milton through to the Gothic genre and contemporary literature such as Jez Butterworth's 'Jerusalem' and award-winning poet Kate Tempest's 'Brand New Ancients'. English Literature is a facilitating subject and we have designed this course carefully so that, even after a year of study, the transferable skills of written articulacy, research and deftness with reading material are absolutely secure. The course is composed of 20% non-examined assessment (coursework) and 80% terminal exam over two exam papers.
We take trips to the theatre, cinema, Gothic sites of interest (Whitby, Haworth and ghost-hunters’ York to name but a few) and would like pupils to participate in the annual Booker prize debate.