It has been yet another productive year for the English Faculty. During the course of the year a wide variety of events were organised.
Local performance poet, Jess Green, once again spent a number of days with us over the year. She visited all of our Year 7 teaching groups and put students’ poetic skills to the test with writing workshops. Jess was also one of our visiting writers during our annual ‘Reading Week’ during which she performed a selection of her latest poems to every year group. In addition, each year group were also visited by the brilliant ‘Dead Poets’ duo. As ‘Dead Poets’ Mark Grist and MC Mixy aim to challenge preconceptions of poetry and hiphop. Years 9, 10 and 11 were also lucky enough to meet the best-selling fantasy fiction author, Mark Robson. Whilst here, he treated students to the inspirational story of his life as an RAF pilot through to his decision to turn to writing.
‘Reading Week’ also saw the launch of our first ever anthology of writing by BLS students. We organised an official book launch for ‘Write On!’ with Bali Rai as our guest speaker. Almost 100 students successfully had their work published which is an astonishing achievement. All those involved felt rightfully very proud of themselves.
We organised a number of successful theatre trips throughout the year. Year 7 and 8 went to Peterborough to see a performance of the classic war novel ‘Carrie’s War’. A long way to travel, but a thoroughly engaging performance of the well-known story.
Year 8 were taken for an introduction to Shakespeare at the Curve, watching a shortened version of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’. They also had the opportunity to talk to and ask questions of the actors afterwards, gaining an insight into the play, the performance and life as a stage actor.
As select number of Year 9 students were treated to dinner and given tickets to see a very special performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ in the Guildhall.
Sixty Year 8 students were given the opportunity to watch a production of Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Private Peaceful’ at Birmingham Rep theatre. The prize winning story of brotherhood and war was transformed into a compelling and fascinating monologue.
Once again, we were pleased to be able to take a number of our Year 8 students to Stratford-upon-Avon to visit the birthplace of William Shakespeare. The house is now a shrine for millions of Shakespeare enthusiasts worldwide. During their visit, students were able to gain a greater insight into the surroundings which shaped his works.
Our Year 9 students travelled to the Globe theatre, where they had a tour of the theatre. This visit gave our students the opportunity to learn more about this unique building and its most famous playwright, William Shakespeare. The students had the chance to display their own acting skills by taking part in a workshop developing scenes from ‘Macbeth’.
Perhaps our biggest and most exciting trip of the year was taking a group of Year 9 and 10 students to Auschwitz, Poland. The History and English Faculty joined together to give these students a fantastic three day visit to the city of Krakow. The trip involved a visit to the infamous concentration camp and museum, a visit to Schindler’s museum, as well as a guided tour around the fascinating, historical city of Krakow. What was the most interesting yet harrowing part of the trip was an actual session and talk with a survivor of the Holocaust and Auschwitz Camp, an experience that these students will never forget and one that will not be available for much longer.
We couldn’t believe our luck when we were given the opportunity to visit the Coventry City Football Ground, the Ricoh Arena, to meet Dame Jaqueline Wilson and to hear her speak. So many of our students love Jaqueline Wilson books and this was a rare treat. There were over 1,000 students there from schools all over the Midlands and Dame Jaqueline didn’t disappoint with her inspirational talk followed by being photographed with every visiting school group. This proved to be a day and an experience that the lucky few students invited along will always remember.
We continued with our ‘Better Together’ initiative for the second year running. This group pairs Year 10 students with Year 7 for a weekly session in which the older students teach and support their Year 7 partner with literacy and numeracy difficulties. This has had a wonderful impact on bother the confidence and skills of Year 7 students in the group. These students were treated to a wonderful meet and greet with the bestselling author, Anthony Horowitz. They were treated to a talk about what inspires the authors writing followed by an exciting creative writing workshop.
We continued to be an Accelerated Reader school and have also continued with the provision for the Ruth Miskin ‘Fresh Start’ initiative to support our struggling Year 7 readers during English curriculum time. The two groups were placed in competition with one another and the winning class were then taken on a trip to the cinema as their well-deserved reward.
Overall, it has been an exciting and challenging year and we hope to emulate this with an even bigger and better 2014-2015.