What did you gravitate towards during the lockdown of 2020 and 2021? Was it a film, TV series, computer game, book, online theatre production or news report? If it were any of these, then you already know why the subject of English is such a critical one for our culture. You already know why the information we receive is so important and how one word or phrase can influence not just our own lives but the entire population. You already know how words can shape our days and allow us to weave our way through times of challenge and celebration.
English is everywhere. It is the stories we read, the stories we share and the stories which move us. The subject of English has been part of our world culture since the moment we first learned to communicate and pass our memories from one generation to the next. Our language and literature are gifts from God that help us learn His teaching, navigate His world and is one way we can show others His love.
Year 7 begin their journey in English by focusing on the idea of ‘The Story’. The tales from our ancestors are not resigned solely to history books but shape the way we see ourselves today. One only needs to look at the recent disputes over prominent historical statues to know that the stories about those subjects or individuals have as much resonance and impact as the day when they were first erected.
Year 8 will see pupils broaden their understanding of the different types of literature in a year we have entitled ‘The Form’. Exploring how ideas and themes are conveyed in modern drama text, poetry, transactional writing and even film/media, allows our pupils to apply levels of analysis and creative writing.
In the final year at key stage 3, our focus consolidates the study of the previous two years with an emphasis on how ‘The Conflict’ appears with the stories we study. We explore different forms of literature (poetry, plays and novels), linking these together with how each handles and presents both external and conflict of their subject matter.
We hope to capture these stories in our English lessons at St Peter’s and have designed our curriculum to reflect the history as well as the breadth of this incredible subject. We intend to provide pupils with an understanding of how writers craft their structure and language to engage an audience whilst applying relevant historical, social and political context.
Pupils will find their lessons engaging as teachers use a combination of teaching styles to help convey this subject. In any given lesson, teachers will ask pupils to debate, perform, create, analyse, explore, consider, or criticise and reflect upon communities, histories, texts and characters who form such an important of our world culture.
The wonderful feature of English is that we can all hold our individual opinions about any given subject. Sometimes these may conflict with one another but are equally valid and respected. Our teachers will help your child shape their views and enable them to have confidence in the way they express them.
At GCSE, pupils will follow the AQA specifications for English Language (8700) and English Literature (8702).
English Literature A Level
At A Level we offer English Literature; it provides opportunities to develop transferable skills such as critical thinking and students can gain a better understanding of differing cultures and context. It is a facilitating subject and highly regarded by universities.
We follow AQA’s English Literature B specification, which focuses on Crime and Tragedy.
Learners will study a range of exciting texts that range from classics such as Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ and Miller’s ‘Death of the Salesman’ to more modern texts such as McEwan’s ‘Atonement’. They will also be exposed to Shakespeare’s exciting revenge tragedy ‘Hamlet’ and approach it through the lens of crime.
English Literature is the perfect A Level for pupils who are keen thinkers and readers; they will be taught by teachers who are similarly passionate. Pupils will be encouraged to visit the theatre, explore the British Library’s education section and access ‘Emag’. Pupils will have the opportunity to engage in discussion and debate and share their ideas and interpretations of a range of texts in written form.
Film Studies A Level
This A Level Film Studies specification offers a broad and coherent course of study which allows learners the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and understanding of film. All learners will study 11 film texts in relation to the core study areas with some film topics requiring the study of additional specialist topic areas including narrative, ideology and spectatorship. In addition, for the coursework component of the programme of study, pupils will create a Film production, choosing to specialise in either Screenwriting or Moving Image Production synoptically drawing on the cinematic influences and insights gained from the range of the films studied throughout the course. This allows learners the freedom to express their own practical interests as potential film-makers.
We explore films from different cultures and analysis how silent cinema, British, Hollywood and American cinema has evolved over time. This will combine close sequence analysis alongside a study of how both mainstream and independent films engage and challenge their audiences. Expanding pupils’ understanding and awareness of film, we also examine how filmmakers can be experimental in the methods they use alongside how those who create documentary films guide the audience’s viewpoints through very subtle means.
Taking this subject will mean you will never see film (or even TV) in the same way again – that is why our pupils love it.
Mr Mallon (curriculum leader)
Ms Heslop (key stage three coordinator)
Ms Woodall (key stage four coordinator)
Ms Przyrodzki (key stage five coordinator)
Film Studies Department
Mr Mallon (curriculum leader)