See the individual entries under 'Key Stage 3', 'GCSE' and 'A Level' for details of English as a curriculum subject at these different stages of secondary education.
We are very fortunate in being able to keep class sizes fairly small at Birkdale. From S1 to S5 there will usually be a maximum of 20 in a class for English lessons and groups are frequently smaller than this. At A Level class sizes are smaller still, with 15 being considered a maximum. This is obviously an enormous advantage in a subject where individuality of response plays such a major part in growth and development.
We put a great deal of emphasis on developing our pupils as confident speakers. By the end of S5 (Y11) each pupil will have had several opportunities to give class presentations and everyone is assessed in discussions and role-play activities.
The department works closely with the school library, particularly in the early years, to foster the enjoyment of reading a wide range of different materials. We believe that this is one of the best ways for pupils to develop their own thinking.
Writing skills are also taken very seriously at Birkdale. Pupils who struggle with writing skills, for whatever reason, are given individual support to help them improve in this crucially important area of overall educational development.
Though we are committed to preparing our students to tackle public examinations successfully, we aim above all to give a more expansive educational experience than mere exam preparation. This can be seen, for example, in the significant practice we give to public speaking aiming to make confident and articulate communicators, or in the way in which we encourage wider reading with our book review sessions and 'reading challenge' schemes to foster the love of the written word.
There is something for everyone to enjoy in English and staff are always on the look-out for ways to encourage interest and success in the subject.
Below are some of the extra-curricular events we run with this in mind.
Extra-Curricular English Activities
- Debating Society (S1/Y7-U6)
- House Recitation Competition (S1/Y7-S5/Y11)
- House Writing Competition (S1/Y7-S5/Y11)
- The Times Spelling Bee (S1/Y7)
- Literary Landscapes Trip (U6)
- English Clinic (S1/Y7 – U6)
- Readathon (S1/Y7-S2/Y8)
- Theatre Trips (various)
- Middle School Writers Club
- Word Games Club