English is at the core of who we are, where we have come from and how we communicate. The study of literature offers a window onto
the extraordinarily diverse ways in which we have striven to understand ourselves and our place in the world. What could be more interesting, vital and enduringly pertinent?
“Language tethers us to the world; without we spin like atoms” Penelope Lively
The English department aims to ensure that pupils communicate clearly in person and on ‘paper’ and that they can adapt their speaking and writing for different purposes, contexts and audiences. We foster enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of literary, non-fiction and media texts and encourage them to be independent thinkers who respond personally and critically. We stimulate pupils through engaging, interactive and motivating lessons and raise their self-esteem by valuing their classroom and wider contribution to the department and school. Pupils at Ipswich School know their needs will be met and that we are committed to helping each pupil fulfil their potential.
Details of reading lists are available here in the School Library page of the website.
For Year 7 and 8 pupils, the experience of English is one that inspires creative engagement with the written and spoken word. It provides the opportunity to enjoy the art of storytelling and to read for pleasure; at the same time we equip pupils with the skills to help them become sympathetic, analytical readers and confident writers. They encounter a wide range of classic and modern, non-fiction and media texts. Above all, our goal is to instil a lasting enthusiasm for the experience of reading which connects us to ourselves and each other.
From Year 9, we prepare pupils for the myriad challenges of IGCSEs in English Language and English Literature. They are introduced to the fundamental skills of summary and recreative writing, and write speeches, short stories and a letter in response to a media article. They produce a coursework folder which is both rigorous and stimulating. Pupils hone their abilities to read critically in response to three genres of literature – poetry, prose and drama. They engage keenly and analytically with a writer’s craft and become confident and autonomous readers. In short, they appreciate the power of language and begin to harness it for themselves.
We teach the new OCR A Level English Literature course. The qualification comprises the detailed study of a particular literary genre (the
Gothic) in addition to the examination of C19th drama and poetry plus a
major Shakespeare play. Students prepare to undertake the coursework unit
at the end of Year 12 which is completed and submitted in the first term of
Year 13 (the summer holiday provides a timely opportunity for pupils to read
set and related texts). This portfolio of two essays takes as its focus a theme
which connects a significant work of prose, poetry and drama. The course
therefore offers pupils the chance to specialise but also consider texts within
their transcendent social, cultural, critical and historical contexts.
“Thank you for introducing me to academic English; the course was an exploration rather than an A Level. Ideas were always valued, everyone contributed and there was always a very positive atmosphere.” Sixth Form student
The department has a reputation for subject specialism and a genuine passion for literature, film and theatre which we are keen to share; we welcome enthusiasm and repay it generously.
To give an idea of the exam results which pupils at Ipswich School achieve at A Level, we have provided an average of the results in English Literature over the most recent three year period (2015, 2016 and 2017). English Literature - % A*- B = 76%
The syllabus is embracing, thoughtprovoking and excellent preparation for degree-level study. Within seminar-style lessons the relationship between teacher and student is consciously less formal; we attract individuals who enjoy exchanging ideas within a rigorous, supportive and goodhumoured environment.
Follow the Ipswich School English Department on twitter @IpswichEnglish.