‘Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.’ Joyce Carol Oates
The English Department at Portland Place School is a vibrant and successful team, offering pupils a broad and enriching experience, and a chance to nurture creativity and confidence. Not only does English allow us to explore complex issues and engage in topical debates, it also equips us with essential tools which enable us to understand and interact with the world around us, linking to other disciplines, such as History, Politics and Philosophy.
At Portland Place School, we want all students to share our view that success in English is fundamental to success in adult life. Our Department endeavours to instil a passion for the subject which extends beyond the remit of the classroom, as well develop communication and literacy skills which are fundamental in all aspects of life.
Promoting a love of reading for pleasure is a key focus for the English team. Students in Years 7-8 are given library lessons to promote regular reading habits, stimulate discussion about themes and narrative techniques and allow students to share their passion for their chosen book or genre.
Due to the small class sizes, teachers can work individually with students to help them discover their own love for reading. We expect all students to read widely and often share reading lists which will stimulate a love for classics as well as contemporary texts.
Key Stage 3
Our Key Stage 3 syllabus is engaging and inspiring as we study a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts. We are proud of the diversity and challenge of our programme of study; exposure to a wide range of texts begins in Year 7 as our students out introduced to the Gothic genre, as well as a variety of Shakespeare plays. The curriculum is enhanced by a range of extra-curricular activities, including an annual trip to the Globe Theatre, Poetry Live in Year 11 and a variety of clubs and societies, including Debating Society, Creative Writing Club, to name but a few.
All English lessons across the key stages have a strong focus on developing and maintaining students’ skills in spelling, grammar and punctuation. At Key Stage 3, this takes the shape of weekly homework activities, whilst at Key Stage 4, we buy our students workbooks which helps to improve their writing skills.
Key Stage 4
Throughout Years 10-11, students follow the AQA syllabus. All students will study GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature.
English Language includes the study of literary and non-fiction texts from the 19th-21st centuries and tests students on comprehension, analysis and writing skills. English Literature requires students to analyse an anthology of poetry, a Shakespeare play, a classic English text and a modern play.
At all Key Stages, we aim to develop an appreciation and understanding of the English Language, a love of literature and a confidence in all forms of communication skills.