English Department News Update!


On the 9th of November this term, we had an enthralling visit for Steve Skidmore (the author of numerous examples of children’s literature including Galaxy Warriors and the I Hero series). He ran a number of interactive sessions for the whole of Year 7 and selected students in Years 12, 8 and 9 introducing them to the processes that writers undertake when they begin a novel, writing techniques and how to find inspiration in the world around them. Funded by the kind generosity of the QPA, the sessions were truly inspirational and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.


On the 15th of November, we had an incredibly exciting visit for the Purple Book Bus. Nearly a hundred students were given the opportunity to take an adventurous excursion round this literary luxury. They not only spent time examining new narratives, but contributed towards the library’s decision making process in choosing a range of new texts to add to the LRC thanks to a generous donation from the QPA.


This half term also saw our second A-Level trip to see Shakespeare in performance this time at the Vue Cinema where a live production of the National Theatre’s ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ was showing. Starring Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo, it was a passionate and mesmerising production that really brought the text to life in all its tragic and emotive glory.


This term we have also released our first set of revision packs to Year 11 students, which will assist them enormously in revising independently for their GCSEs. These have included a pack on ‘An Inspector Calls’, the poetry anthology and a brand new revision guide on the non-fiction comprehension. Each of these is written within the department and specifically designed for our exam board in order to fully prepare students for their coming exams. In addition, the department has run revision sessions for each of the formal assessments and mock exam elements undertaken by students, which were enormously popular.


The new book review system continues to be hugely popular with over 1700 reviews submitted. The results and prizes will be announced next week and competition remains incredibly close. We can’t wait to discover who the winners will be in the race to reading victory!


In other news, our 2018-19 whole school poetry competition has, once again, been a fantastic showcase for the burgeoning bards and would-be wordsmiths of our student body. This year’s entries have eclipsed the last in quantity and quality, with some particularly poignant and powerful poems on the themes of change, youth and society very much moving our three-person judging panel of Mrs Gray, Mr Foxall and our previous student winner (whose identity, having chosen to remain anonymous, is known only to a select few, much like our very own ‘Banksy’!). All this year’s entries are currently on display in the Library, with the winners to be announced at our prize-giving event at lunchtime, Thursday 20th December, also in the Library.


Currently in development, our new student newspaper is dedicated to the aim of providing an authentic and eloquent platform for student voice. Codenamed Q- Paper, the editorial team of over a dozen Year 12 and 13 students is currently in the final stages of its editing and design. A choice of final names is presently undergoing a whole-school student vote and, in a change from previous iterations, the paper will be principally an e-edition, distributed to every member of our school community electronically. Watch out for it your inbox soon!