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Head of Department: Mrs T Hiley


Staff dressed as literary characters for World Book Day

Our aim is to enable every student to acquire the skills to become a fluent and discerning reader, a confident writer, an effective speaker and listener and a lifelong learner.

The department's teaching is based on the programmes of study of the National Curriculum for English and the National Curriculum Attainment Targets for English. From the beginning of Year 7 great emphasis is placed on the value of extensive reading to stimulate imagination, an awareness of differing styles and a wide vocabulary.

The ability to write with clarity and accuracy is paramount, but we must also endeavour to ensure that students enjoy the writing process. They are encouraged to acquire new vocabulary and experiment with different styles. Writing competitions are held within the school and students' work is entered for local and national competitions.

We believe that it is a vital part of our role as English teachers to do all we can to help students develop into articulate young people, and we see evidence of the success of this policy when they are complimented, as they often are, on their fluency and ease of manner by visitors to the school. As with reading and writing, variety of opportunity is a crucial element. In order for students to develop confidence and competence in Speaking and Listening they need to be exposed to a range of situations, audiences and activities. Whole and small group discussions, pair and individual activities are used in conjunction with Reading and Writing assignments so that Speaking and Listening is perceived as an integral part of English lessons.

Self and peer assessment is encouraged and targets for improvement frequently set. In the lower school, schemes of work are designed to develop students' skills in all areas required by the AQA syllabus for English and Literature, which is followed in years 10 and 11.  As a result of this, by the end of year 9 students are able to attempt a GCSE Foundation English paper as well as a GCSE Literature coursework-type essay.

Trips and Visits

Students have the opportunity to take part in visits to see theatrical productions of texts being studied whenever possible. There is an annual visit to The Globe Theatre; this year a group of Year 9 and 11 students will see a production of “Romeo and Juliet”.  The Young Shakespeare Company has visited the school on several occasions to hold workshops and performances of “Romeo and Juliet” for Year 9, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" for Year 8 and and “Macbeth” and “Much Ado About Nothing” for Year 10. 

Productions and Competitions

  • There is a Year 7 club run by Year 11 students which produces a play at Christmas.  Recent productions include "Peter Pan" and "The Wizard of Oz".
  • A Junior Drama Club produces a play for students at St. Winifred's School every year.
  • A musical is performed at the end of the spring term each year.  Students from all years are encouraged to participate and often a third of the school is involved.  Our last production was "We Will Rock You". 
  • The Senior Drama Club presents a play in July.  Our last production was "The Importance of Being Earnest".
  • A Drama Competition for Years 7-8 is held at the end of the summer term, students being given one week (with a revised timetable) in which to devise and rehearse a play with a given theme.  Certificates are awarded for achievement in a number of categories at the final presentation.
  • An individual Verse Speaking Competition is held in the autumn term, and a Poetry Writing Competition is held in the spring term.
  • Students are entered for external competitions (e.g. essay writing and poetry writing).  Many of our students have their poems published in local collections.
  • As part of our provision for challenging the most able, Year 8 students have participated in the Hampshire Reading Challenge.







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