Students of English at Stratford Girls’ Grammar School are creative, reflective, curious communicators. The English Department aim to spark students’ curiosity about the written word and empower them to become confident and adept readers, speakers and writers. Our inspirational Stratford-upon-Avon setting expands beyond our historic grounds, as we provide opportunities for local and national theatre visits, reading and writing groups, competitions and workshops; all contributing to a unique and enriching wider provision.
Key Stage 3 Curriculum
Each teacher’s distinctive enthusiasm for an author or genre is brought into the classroom where students are encouraged to be critical consumers of the texts they are studying. Our subject specialists have the freedom to be creative as a means of tapping into girls’ enjoyment of reading and writing.
Students learn to see novels, plays and poetry as a social document reflecting the cultural values of the time in which they were produced. Girls are encouraged to see their English lessons as an opportunity to engage with a rich and varied range of literary and non-fiction texts. The distinct ethos of the SGGS classroom transports them into the worlds of both canonical writers such as Shakespeare and Bronte as those of modern writers representative of all cultures and backgrounds.
Students in Year 7 focus on the mechanics of English. The Department advocates a strong emphasis on equipping girls with the tools to communicate accurately and critically. Students will begin the year exploring the genre of autobiography. This unit will enable girls to read a wide range of different extracts as well as developing their written confidence when writing a piece of memoir.In the autumn term we will study Charles Dickens’s novella ‘A Christmas Carol’.They will tackle a range of diverse ‘Animal’ poetry from different cultures and centuries. Students will read Shakespeare’s comedy ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ as well as critically engaging with a range offiction and non-fiction texts under the theme of ‘The World We Live In’. All students engage with the Extended Reading Project Level 1:an exciting opportunity to read independently a novel of choice and to respond to it through a creative medium. We aim to transform the reluctant reader into an impassioned reader of habit by the end of Year 7.
In Year 8 girls continue to develop the critical skills of analysis nurtured in Year 7. This academic year is characterised by a broad range of diverse fiction and non-fiction. A short story unit will facilitate students’ ability to write their own creative fiction whilst reflecting on stories from different cultures and times. Our Shakespeare study will focus on the literary history, culture and context of the play,The Tempest, as well as a detailed exploration of language and theme. A challenging anthology of poetry is offered to students focusing on poems across time and representing different cultures. Girls will study The Power of Rhetoric to hone their directed writing skills. This unit is comlemented by a Debate Academy unit where students will learn the skills of effective debating. All students will read a novel where they will explore characterisation and theme. Year 8 students undertake the Extended Reading Project Level 2. The focus of this extended project is Diversity In Literature. Students are responsible for selecting their own fiction or non-fiction to respond to through a creative medium.
Year 9 provides an exciting foundation to GCSE study. In Year 9 SGGS students focus on exploring and comparing perspective and viewpoint from a wide range of pre and post nineteenth century non-fiction. Girls will also study a complete Shakespeare play (either Macbeth or Much Ado About Nothing) where they will focus on close literary and contextual analysis. A unit on the genre of Dystopia immerses Year 9 readers through a variety of modern and nineteenth century extracts. A poetry anthology is studied either on the theme of WWI or Identity. In this unit students will also be taught to compare poems from across the ages. All students will study a modern novel. In Year 9, students undertake The Extended Reading Project Level 3. For this, students are required to creatively respond to their independent reading through a range of set fiction and non-fiction tasks.Students’ speaking and listening skills are nurtured through an independent project culminating in their own four-minute spoken presentation to the class.
Key Stage 4 Curriculum
All students in Year 11 take GCSEs in both English Language and English Literature. Most of our students are voracious readers and many are gifted writers. We encourage them to share their ideas and continue to expand their fiction and non-fiction reading tastes.
Our unique setting and historic links to the life and heritage of William Shakespeare provides SGGS students with an inspirational environment that is unlike any other. Through invigorating and challenging discussion, group work and independent research, students examine English as a defining force whilst simultaneously developing their own voice. Studying English allows young women of the future to test drive their critical views and voices about the here and now.
Studying English Language allows students to demonstrate skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. These transferable qualities are necessary to communicate with others confidently, effectively, precisely and appropriately. Expressing themselves creatively and imaginatively, students learn to understand the patterns, structures and conventions of both written and spoken English, adapting speech and writing to different situations and audiences. English Literature teaches students to understand and respond to literary texts in different forms and from different periods and cultures, as well as exploring the contribution of literature to an understanding of areas of human concern.
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