English is a core subject, compulsory throughout the five years of education at St Monica’s. At Key Stage 3, pupils are encouraged to develop a love of language and literature through the extensive range of challenging texts we study. We foster a love of reading in pupils in Year 7 through the use of the Accelerated Reader Programme which encourages pupils to read for pleasure in their own time and in designated library sessions. Pupils are introduced to the work of Shakespeare through the study of a genre of his work in Year 7. This study then becomes more detailed as they progress through to Year 8. Pupils throughout Key Stage 3 are taught the range of reading and writing skills that are required for GCSE.
In Years 9, 10 and 11 pupils develop these skills further as we follow the AQA GCSE English Language Literature courses. The children develop skills of analysis, interpretation and are encouraged to become confident, independent writers. We are proud of our examination success and were delighted that in 2016 24% of our pupils achieved A/ A* grades in this subject and 28% of our pupils made MORE than expected progress! Much of this success is attributed to the positive relationships that we foster between pupils, parents and staff. We encourage our students to actively share the great reading and writing skills that they possess as some of our Year 10 pupils model their own high standards of literacy by working as ‘Literacy Leaders’ by supporting the reading with some of our Year 7 pupils during form times.
The English department offer a variety of clubs and activities providing further opportunities for learning. We offer a Year 7 reading club, a magazine club and we run the BBC World News Day. We organise theatre trips on a regular basis and have taken students to London, Edinburgh and the Lowry theatre. Year 7’s take part in The Times ‘Spelling Bee’ competition. We actively celebrate World Book Day by encouraging pupils in Year 7 to dress up as their favourite book character and take part in range of fun, book-related activities! Last year, we held a themed ‘Harry Potter’ evening – something that we are keen to continue!