English Literature at Stratford Girls’ Grammar School is designed to encourage girls in the development and enjoyment of literary study. Our students are surrounded by unique architecture and are inspired to study in an environment synonymous with William Shakespeare. Through reading both set texts and others selected by students themselves, our girls learn to engage critically and creatively with a substantial level of analysis and evaluation. We explore the contexts of what we read and reflect upon others’ interpretations to form considered and multi-faceted opinions and understanding. Our excellent results are testament to the sophisticated, interpretative skills that our students hone during this course.
Sixth Form Curriculum
The English Literature A-level course at SGGS naturally takes advantage of our Shakespearean heritage and our unrivalled opportunity to learn how Stratford-upon-Avon has influenced literature worldwide. Our students often take part in study days and attend events such as the annual Stratford Schools Shakespeare Lecture. We also have a fantastic link with one of the nation’s most famous theatres, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).
SGGS girls’ study eight texts from across the genres of prose, poetry and drama, three of which will be pre-1900 (including one Shakespeare play). In addition, they are also encouraged to undertake a comprehensive programme of wider reading both old and modern texts. Critical anthologies are a key component of learning and students can expect to research differences and similarities in genres as diverse as Tragedy and Comedy. Under the guidance of experienced subject specialists, students refine and decipher the written word. Our classrooms become places where students put their assumptions about the world into question by reformulating their understanding through the texts they study.
Set text plays are often seen in performance when theatre schedules allow, but SGGS ensures students learn to draw inspiration from their own interests and choose texts that excite them. This control over self-learning and ability to apply ways of thinking to scenarios of personal preference sets them up for a lifelong appreciation of literature. SGGS runs an annual Literary Festival which is led by Sixth Form students as well as a popular weekly Creative Writing group. SGGS students also regularly enjoy success in local and national poetry and creative writing competitions.
A feel for language, an ability to master a body of knowledge and the skill to present a well-argued case are all highly valued attributes by universities and places of employment. An A-level qualification can therefore lead to a multitude of academic courses and well-respected universities and ultimately careers in respected professions. Closely related degrees would include Languages, History and Drama, as well as higher study of Literature; but our students have progressed onto courses as diverse as Fine Art, Philosophy, Politics and Law. We often see English studied alongside more scientific A-levels to support progression into fields such as Maths, Medicine, Pharmacy and Veterinary Science.
SGGS alumnae regularly testify how they have continued to use their English Literature skills upon graduation, especially when engaging with different people, expressing themselves on paper, communicating in person and sifting out the essential from masses of information in all sorts of fields.
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