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English

English

The English Department's aim is to ensure that FHS girls become skilful, confident and perceptive in using and responding to English in all of its aspects.

They are given opportunities to explore varieties of English and are enabled to achieve academic success to their full potential. We hope to instil a lifelong sensitivity to, and pleasure in, Literature and provide stimulating lessons, coupled with academic rigour.

Staff

The Department is run by Mr Adrian Fernandes and comprises the following members of staff: Mrs Julia Banks, Mr William Galloway and Miss Maartje Geussens. We are a highly qualified team, having undertaken qualifications in addition to our English undergraduate degrees, with interests ranging from Medieval Literature and the Victorian novel to Children's Literature. 

 

Click here to read about our latest Literary Society Lecture

Curriculum

Key Stage 3

The Department offers a stimulating curriculum in Years 7, 8 and 9, which provides many opportunities for enrichment. Girls can expect to explore a Shakespeare play in each year and a range of prose and poetry, including nineteenth-century novels and more contemporary texts. They will also study a range of non-fiction and media texts, including newspapers, advertising and film. Presentations are regularly given by the girls, which complements the School’s strengths in Debating and Public Speaking. Many of our Lower School girls participate in our Debating Society, as well as internal and external Debating and Public Speaking competitions. The Department also nurtures girls’ creative writing, and we place an emphasis on the acquisition of new vocabulary. Basic skills (spelling, punctuation and grammar) are taught alongside core texts in each year.

Key Stage 4 - IGCSE

At Key Stage 4, we follow Edexcel IGCSE English Language (Specification A) and CIE IGCSE English Literature (Specification 0486), which offer breadth in terms of coverage of a range of traditional and contemporary texts, as well as development of reading and writing skills. In Literature, girls study a range of pre and post-1914 drama, poetry and prose texts, including at least one Shakespeare play. The Language course is assessed through a wide range of non-fiction texts, as well as poetry and prose. and girls develop their writing skills in a number of contexts for examination purposes, including transactional and imaginative writing. 

Key Stage 5 - A Level

We follow the linear OCR English Literature syllabus (H472). Girls read set texts in conjunction with literary criticism, and gain a wider understanding of the periods in which texts are set. The A Level is assessed by 80% examination and 20% coursework. We actively encourage the girls to read as widely as possible and the study of English Literature in the Sixth Form is complemented by a range of co-curricular literary opportunities, both in and out of the school. Many of our girls have gone on to read English at university, including Oxford, University College London, Bristol and York. 

Resources

The Department has a suite of classrooms, all equipped with computer and projection equipment. We work very closely with Miss Ivison, our Librarian, who stocks a wide variety of books and is well placed to advise girls on choosing titles suitable for them. The Library is also extremely well-resourced to enhance the study of English at IGCSE and A level. Articles from English journals can be located there, and girls also have online access to these.

Beyond the Classroom

Our central location allows us to make maximum use of the numerous, superb theatre productions on offer in London. This enables us to take our teaching beyond the classroom and breathe life into texts being studied. Recent trips have included visits to see A View from the Bridge at Wyndham’s Theatre, as well as 'Tis Pity She’s a Whore, The Broken Heart and The Merchant of Venice at the Globe.

We exploit every opportunity to build on the girls’ wider reading and issue reading lists, as appropriate. Book clubs, run in conjunction with Miss Ivison, our Librarian, are offered for girls and these meet every half-term.  In Year 7, the girls spend one of their English lessons every week reading in the Library. Along with the support of Miss Ivison, we organise annual school-wide celebrations of World Book Day and Book Week. We also encourage the girls to participate in the Carnegie Medal reading scheme.

Elsewhere, every year, girls participate in the school’s Public Speaking and Morison Verse poetry recitation competitions. We also support the girls’ participation in the school’s Debating Club and internal and external Debating and Public Speaking competitions.

The English Department also runs a Literary Society, with regular scheduled talks from our girls, staff and external visitors. We have hosted talks by Professor John Mullan (Head of English at University College London and Guardian columnist), the author and journalist Tim Butcher and Dr Abigail Williams (St Peter’s College, Oxford). These talks have been well attended by our girls and their parents, as well as visitors from other schools and the wider community.

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