English - Ratcliffe College

English – Ages 16-18

The English Department is an innovative, passionate and highly-motivated department that strives to ensure all students achieve their potential as critical readers, writers, and speakers. We aim to encourage active, curious and independent learners and strive for our students to become effective communicators who are in full control of the language they use.  Nurturing a love and appreciation of Literature in our students is also our goal.  English is challenging and varied; it requires alertness and imagination; it gives us a sense of who we are and an understanding of others: it is at the heart of all that we do.

We see reading as crucial to success at all levels and encourage students to read widely and often, particularly at A Level. Reading is important, not only for English, but has been proven to increase success in other subjects.  The Staff and Sixth Form Book Club runs throughout the academic year and always provides some excellent discussion. The Library is an important resource for A Level students, as they can access texts to read to enhance their understanding of set texts as well as critical, academic writing about Literature. Several online publications also enhance the students’ understanding. Theatre trips are enjoyed, where appropriate, as they develop students’ knowledge of texts in performance and. Lunchtime clubs range from Debating Club, public speaking, poetry writing, and external writing and speaking competitions. There is also the opportunity for students to take on positions of responsibility, such as subject ambassador or reading mentor to the younger students.

Spoken Language development is also very important: public speaking competitions, group debating, and presentations develop students’ all-important communication skills in an interesting, enjoyable and non-threatening way.

We are very proud of our examination successes in English.

At A Level we encourage our students to become ever more independent and resourceful.  Groups are smaller and encourage students to confidently share their views about the range of challenging texts studied.  The emphasis is on independent thought and the further development of sophisticated and analytical essay techniques.  Students study a varied range of stimulating texts from different historical eras as well as genres.  The coursework module encourages pupils to work independently on their own areas of interest with support from their teachers, developing their skills of critical analysis and a love of Literature.

Studying English Literature enables a valuable set of higher -level skills and is a very highly regarded in higher education.