English at the Marist is a lively, innovative department which promotes high standards of written and spoken English using a wide range of resources, teaching styles and approaches. The emphasis is on developing the potential of all pupils and enabling them to experience success at all levels. Four specialist teachers teach across the ability range and work closely with the special needs coordinator when required.
Key Stage 3
The department uses the National Curriculum as a basis for planning varied, yet focused, schemes of work for the first three years. There is the flexibility available for individual teachers to create and develop schemes of work which reflect their particular interests.
The focus in all three years of Key Stage 3 is on reading, writing, spelling and grammar, enabling all pupils to become confident and competent in these areas before taking GCSEs. Expectations are high and all pupils will find themselves challenged and extended in English classes. Target setting is an integral part of KS3: targets are negotiated with individual pupils which are then monitored and reviewed during the course of the school year. Pupil progress is closely tracked and used as a guide in setting targets, determining sets and later, entry levels for public examinations.
Key Stage 4
Year 10 and 11 pupils follow the Edexcel Specification for GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. Results in both subjects are excellent with a 100% pass rate. The department has also introduced another course running alongside this, GCSE English and Functional Skills for the lower set. Texts currently being studied for the Language and Literature examinations include Cormier’s Heroes, Jekyll and Hyde, Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men, Touching the Void, as well as a wide range of poems from the 20th century and earlier.
There is now a move to controlled assessment with coursework being written in supervised, timed conditions. Students in Year 10 and Year 11 will study from a selection of the following texts: Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, An Inspector Calls, Journey’sEnd, and The Crucible.
Key Stage 5
In the Sixth Form we offer English Literature AS and A Level. The department follows the OCR specification. In year 12 students will sit one written paper on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and WB Yeats’ poetry. Additionally they submit a 3000 word coursework folder of two essays. Current coursework texts in year 12 are Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach, L P Hartley’s The Go- Between and Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.
In year 13 the examination texts are Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’, Othello and Doctor Faustus. The coursework texts are Heart of Darkness, selected poems by Derek Walcott and The Tempest. Results again are excellent, with students regularly going on to university to read English Literature either for single honours or as part of a joint degree.
The department organises a wide range of lunchtime and extra-curricular activities. Weekly clubs include a Film Society and a lower school Debating Club. The department organises regular theatre visits during the course of the academic year. These have included visiting Stratford-upon- Avon to see the RSC’s ArabianNights and The Heart of Robin Hood (Year 7), Journey’s End (Year 11), Othello, Sam Mendes’ The Tempest and Dr Faustus for years 12 and 13, and lecture days on examination texts for the Sixth Form.
Additionally, we entered a year 7 team in TheTimes’ national Spelling Bee competition, and the Year 8 debating team in the English Speaking Union’s ‘Great Climate Change Debate’.
Last year we began a Gifted and Talented Public Speaking Competition, enhancing the speaking and listening skills taught in the classroom. Our Sixth Form public speaking team compete successfully at local and regional level in Rotary and Catenian public speaking competitions.
We were also very proud that several of our students achieved success in creative writing competitions: one student won a national competition to see her work in print in The Times newspaper, and another won the ‘Write Now’ Parliamentary Press Competition, winning an award for her political blog. We are delighted to announce that Jessica Payne in year 12 has won the Parliamentary Press Competition this year and will be visiting Number 10 in March 2012.