‘The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”
The English Department aims to provide students with a stimulating learning environment, in which students can develop their creativity and critical understanding of English language and literature. They are encouraged to become fluent readers, articulate writers, confident speakers and sympathetic listeners.
Students are given the opportunity to write for a variety of purposes so that they learn skills such as non-fiction writing (blogs, articles and diaries), speech writing and letter writing as well as the more formal art of essay writing. At all levels, pupils are provided with feedback which encourages them to redraft their work so that they may edit, polish and improve it.
The Department’s aim is also to foster a love of literature for its own sake in the hope that students will become independent readers and continue to enjoy reading into their adult years. Keen participation in the Amazing Book Awards (ABA) as well as the Rotary Club Youth Speaks Competition is encouraged throughout the School.
Creative writing is considered to be a very important part of the curriculum at Our Lady of Sion and students are able to see their own poetry, stories, leaflets and other literary/artistic achievements displayed in classrooms and corridors. An annual poetry competition rewards high achievement in this creative art and students are encouraged to enter their stories into regional and national writing competitions.
Students have set up their own forum for creative writing in the form of a blog, Writers Block.
From Year 8, students are grouped by ability, in order that they can make progress at an appropriate level. Groupings are reviewed on a half-termly basis throughout the academic year.
Key Stage 3 – Years 7 to 8
Students study a Shakespeare text as well as a range of contemporary texts and poetry. They are given the opportunity to practise all writing skills and are especially encouraged to write creatively.
Key Stage 3 – Year 9
In the latter half of Year 9 student will begin their GCSE Literature studies.
Key Stage 4 – Years 10 & 11
Pupils take GCSE in both English Language and English Literature. The popularity of English is demonstrated by the number who opt to take the subject at A level, several of whom have gone on to read English at Universities such as Sussex and St. Andrews
Key Stage 5 – Years 12 & 13
The uptake of English Literature at A level has bucked the national trend with a significant number of students deciding to take English at Sion. At A level students are encouraged to pursue their own literary interests as they become more independent learners. Recently we have provided the opportunity to attend an A level conference in London, as well as theatre trips and other cultural activities.