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The English department is based in the Johnson building where five dedicated classrooms provide a lively environment in which each student can explore the many different aspects of the subject. In small mixed ability classes, students study novels, poetry and drama each year. They are encouraged to participate in discussions and develop their confidence in public speaking. A wide variety of writing tasks are set with emphasis placed both on preparation for future exams and enjoyment. Over the years we are able to build up a detailed picture of how each student performs in each aspect of the course and can offer individual support to anyone who is struggling in a particular area. Students are encouraged to reflect on the detailed feedback they are given on their work and, as a result, they make excellent progress.
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
We are very keen, in the first three years at Birkdale Senior School, for boys to enjoy their English lessons and build positively on all the skills they have developed in previous years. Teachers choose texts that they believe will interest, entertain and inspire the boys and they set a wide range of tasks that reflect the breadth of the subject. Each half term boys will study either a novel, collection of short stories, poetry, a Shakespeare play and non-fiction writing. Over the course of the year, therefore, they will have covered a wide variety of texts, each one of which provides inspiration for a range of writing activities.
We work closely with the school library, particularly in the early years, to foster the enjoyment of reading a wide range of different materials as we believe that this is one of the best ways for pupils to develop their own thinking. In Reading Reviews we talk about books we have all read and boys have a chance to try out new books. We encourage boys to take up one of our Reading Challenges, in order to broaden their reading experience.
Assessment is ongoing, but formal assessments take the form of two timed assessments in class, to which we add the results from two pieces of coursework and the two sections of the summer exam to give a clear picture of each student’s abilities in every area of the course.
Though the emphasis is always on enjoyment, we are also keen for boys to attain a high standard in terms of written accuracy and reading skills, all the key elements of GCSE English Language and English Literature.