Welcome to the English Department.
English is the primary language of communication in the UK and much of the world. Most of us grow up speaking it fluently or learn naturally as we become immersed in the classroom and society around us. So, we hear you ask, if I’m already fluent, why study English at school?
Well, learning a language from birth doesn’t necessarily mean that we know how to use it accurately, effectively and with purpose. To learn the rules of spelling, punctuation, grammar and to construct a sentence on a page takes everyone a lot of time, study and patience, but it is crucial to nearly everything you will do, so it’s very important to get it right. Learning these rules can help you to study other foreign languages at the same time too. Employers say that one of the most valuable things they look for in the people who work for them is good communication skills, and this means writing and presentation as well as speaking. English, you might say, is the most important subject anyone can study, because good verbal and written expression is necessary for all other subjects.
Studying English Literature helps to sharpen your analytical skills. If you can take a text and find the themes, and connect it with other texts, theories and historical events, you are showing that you can handle complex ideas, search for patterns and interpret information in a wider context. You will also develop your planning and research skills as well as gain knowledge of history, culture, philosophy and even human behaviour. We believe the study of English can foster a lifelong love of literature and reading, and we continually encourage our students to read from our English Literary Heritage but also from other cultures. Furthermore, the fundamentals you will learn with your English teachers are vital to many other academic subjects (history, art, politics, classics, for instance), or even beyond the classroom: university and job applications, interpreting the effects and intentions of the media in the world around you; conveying yourself with skill and success to different groups of people in all different areas of your life.
We aim to offer our students a variety of experiences in their lessons where we are keen to develop the students’ skills in communicating their ideas effectively, both in writing and also in speech. Students are given opportunities to read, write and take part in oral activities such as discussion, debate, play reading and improvisation.
We arrange trips and after-school activities to extend our students’ learning. These range from National Theatre Live screenings of set texts and trips to the Globe Theatre, to visiting drama companies and workshops or attending an English in Action day to inspire and support students studying GCSE English for Year 11, through to poetry and creative writing competitions and a variety of seminars and theatre trips for the Sixth Form.
The English Department consists of six experienced teachers, situated in a suite of three lower school and two sixth form classrooms adjacent to the library. Wider reading is encouraged by all teachers and assisted by the librarian who runs an Introduction to the Library for all year 9 students as well as Library lessons for year 7. The Librarian also runs the Book Clubs, the CSPA short story competition as well as promoting the annual ‘Cranbrook stops to read’ event.
Year 7, 8 and 9 : Students will study both English Language and English Literature through fiction and non-fiction texts which show how English relates to the real world. Each term students will study thematically linked units covering prose fiction, poetry, drama and non-fiction forms as well as a focus on language and grammar. Assessments will be based on the GCSE format
Students in Year 7 will also be entered for the English Speaking Board Graded examinations in Speech at Senior Introductory Level in preparation for their GCSE Spoken Language assessment.
Years 10 and 11 : Students will study both Edexcel English Language GCSE and English Literature GCSE. Students will read 19th, 20th and 21st century fiction and non-fiction prose texts as well as a Shakespeare play and poetry through the ages.
The English Language GCSE is divided into 50% reading and 50% writing tasks. There is a separate endorsement for Spoken Language in which students must demonstrate presentational skills in a formal setting using Spoken Standard English. The English Literature GCSE expects students to read, understand and respond to texts using relevant subject terminology in their analysis of language, form and structure.
Years 12 and 13 : Students will study the Edexcel English Literature A Level course covering prose, drama and poetry over the two years.
In Year 12 students will compare one pre-1914 novel and one post 1914 novel linked by theme, as well as a modern drama text, and poetry from the prescribed anthology Poems of the Decade.
In Year 13 students will be expected to explore connections across literary texts in their coursework which consists of one comparative essay (3000 words long). They will also study contemporary poetry from the prescribed anthology Poems of the Decade comparing one of their studied poems from that collection with a linked unseen poem written this century. They will also study Shakespeare and literary criticism showing an understanding of the place of Shakespeare’s drama in the wider literary canon and established traditions of comedy or tragedy.
The study of English Literature at A level will complement any future studies in the arts, humanities, social sciences and law faculties at university. Those who study English at university can go on to careers in media and film, the arts, teaching, journalism, publishing, information technology and business.
Head of Department: Mrs S-J Eastwood, EastwoodS@cranbrook.kent.sch.uk
Teachers: Mr C Johnson, Mrs S Rowe, Mr A Brown, Mr M Warren, Mrs R Rahtz