“The more that you read, the more things you will know.” Dr Seuss
In the English Department, we encourage our pupils to form a love of literature, through exposure to a range of familiar ‘classic’ texts alongside contemporary prose, drama, poetry and quality journalism. Literature is a gateway to the imagination; to tapping into one’s own creativity: we seek to create an interactive learning experience through which our pupils will develop their reading, listening, writing and talking skills.
“You seemed so far away,”Miss Honey whispered, awestruck. “Oh, I was. I was flying past the stars on silver wings,” Matilda said. “It was wonderful.” From Matilda by Roald Dahl
Studying English allows pupils access to surprising and entertaining aspects of human experience and imagination, while learning to appreciate how professional writers - of both fiction and non-fiction - exploit the linguistic and rhetorical aspects of writing to manipulate and challenge the reader. We seek to encourage and provide a framework for pupils to explore and analyse their own experiences and imaginative faculties through discussion with others and in their own writing.
“We live for books.” Umberto Eco
In following our courses, pupils develop analytical and evaluative skills through thinking about, discussing, and writing about ideas and incidents encountered in the texts they read in class and in their own time. In addition, pupils’ skills of detailed observation, comparison and evaluation will be developed, along with skills of precise and correct expression in spoken and written English.
“All the world’s a stage.” From As You Like It by William Shakespeare
The department organises a wide range of trips and theatre and cinema visits for pupils. Recent outings have included an Advanced Higher English trip to Glasgow University Library, and excursions to see the ballets of Swan Lake and A Streetcar Named Desire; Higher pupils saw A View from the Bridge being beamed live from The Young Vic in London; S4 enjoyed the recent screening of Macbeth at the GFT, as well as An Inspector Calls at the Theatre Royal; S3 attended the screening of Chris O’Dowd starring in Of Mice and Men on Broadway; S2 visited Cineworld to see Bill, a humorous reworking of the life of William Shakespeare. We are always open to ideas for trips that would enhance the pupils’ experience of English.
The Public Speaking Club is organised and run by Mr Meechan and Dr Simpson in the Convent Chapel, Fridays, 1.15pm to 1.45pm. This is open to all year groups. Members regularly participate in inter-school competitions, including the prestigious Rotary Club competition, as well as in the Glasgow Music Festival. An annual inter-house Public Speaking competition for pupils in S1-S3 also takes place in the Summer Term.
Mr Young organises regular entries to various writing competitions throughout the year, including the Hopkins Prizes for Poetry and Prose, awarded in separate categories to pupils of S1 to S3 and pupils from S4 to S6, and the Young Writers’ National Schools Competition held by the Association of Scottish Literary Studies.