A focus on...English

Updated: Dec 3, 2019

When asked to write an article about what we do for more able and talented pupils, we like to think that in the English department we go above and beyond for all our pupils.  The opportunities provided will be explored by individual pupils to varying degrees, but they are all given the chance to flourish.  Because of this, we believe that so many of the pupils do.

In Summer 2019, we were delighted with our results for Year 11 IGCSE English Language with 47% gaining 9-7 (A*-A for those still thinking in ‘old money’!)  83% of pupils also attained 9-4 (A*-C) in this qualification. Some Year 10 pupils have also sat their IGCSE English Language and received excellent results.  We think this is due to the hard work of the pupils and the staff involved in their education from the department to Cadagon staff, and all of the cross-curricular subjects who support literacy, as well as the support they get from family and friends.  With this in mind, we wanted to share with you some of the exciting opportunities that we have already been exploring this term.  

Pupils in all years have been given the chance to participate in the Young Writers Through Their Eyes competition.  This challenges pupils to write a poem from another person or object’s perspective.  An amusing suggestion was writing from the point of view of Donald Trump’s hair!  Pupils can write in any form and the poems have the chance to be selected as the top 5 of individual entries where they will receive £100.  The top 3 schools’ set of entries will also win cash prizes.  

To help get the creative juices flowing, pupils watched an interactive TED Talk from poet Daniel Tysdal entitled ‘Everything you need to write a poem (and how it can save a life).’  Tysdal modelled the poetry writing process and encouraged the audience to do the same.  This led to extremely moving and powerful poems (so far) from Oliver Chandran, Charlie Russell and James Taylor – and there are more on their way to completion!

The English department is also looking forward to National Poetry Day on Thursday 3rd October 2019 where staff will all be reading their favourite poem to their classes at the start of lessons.  There will be an assembly on Monday 30th September 2019 to mark the occasion where Liam Barnes, Harry Boyle, Tom Howie, Maddie McMillan-Fendley, James Taylor, Eleri Thomas, Catherine Spears and Emily Vernon will each be reading their favourite poem to the school, or one that they have composed themselves.  We are really looking forward to celebrating this occasion with the children.

In October, Miss Smith is also launching her second Pen and Inktober month of creative writing and drawing illustrations to accompany pupils’ prose.  Each day of the month has a different word to inspire including ‘ring’, ‘wild’, ‘ancient’ and ‘dizzy’.  Look out for Miss Smith’s article on the website for further information.

We hope this gives a flavour of the start of the year and the opportunities that are already being explored for enriching pupils’ learning.  We warmly invite parents who think that they would be able to run a work shop or seminar within the department to get in touch with Jennifer Turner, Head of English at jturner@stdavidscollege.co.uk





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