Head of Faculty: Mr N Webb
Both English and English Literature are taught at all Key Stages, and are delivered in an exciting and interesting manner. All our subject teachers have different areas of expertise and are keen to share these with our students. The programmes of study are varied and far-reaching and enable students to develop their skills in all key areas.
At Key Stage 3, students experience a varied range of reading, writing and speaking and listening activities. The Year 7 programme of study includes the study of a novel, poetry, a unit devoted to persuasive writing, a creative writing unit based on the science fiction genre and an introduction to Shakespeare. In Year 8, students will study another novel, consider the role of newspapers, and will explore the horror genre. In addition, Year 8 will undertake activities based on their trip to Bude. Pupils are also given opportunities to use ICT in their English lessons.
At Key Stage 4, students follow the Edexcel English Literature and English Language course. As part of their programme of study, they read a wide variety of texts including fiction and non-fiction texts and media texts. They also analyse and explore a range of literature including Shakespeare, contemporary poetry, Victorian literature and Twentieth century texts. The course is assessed through final examinations.
The English Department offers students the opportunity to study both English Language and English Literature at Advanced Level.
A level English Language focuses initially on developing students' linguistic responses to a range of spoken and written texts. Language students also study specialised areas of language such as language change, language and gender and language acquisition by young children. Students may also conduct their own language investigation into an area of their choosing. Past examples of students’ work includes accent and dialect studies, the language of text messaging, second language acquisition and song lyrics.
A Level English Literature the focus is on the study of a wide range of literature including Chaucer, Shakespeare, novels, drama and poetry. Students are encouraged to become independent readers and to explore their own literary interests, and the key piece of coursework is a comparative essay on two texts of their choice. Throughout the course students are encouraged to use a critical analysis in order to explore different approaches to literature. Coursework is produced in Year 13, and the examinations are also in this year.
We provide a range of enrichment activities including cross-curricular project work based on Cornwall and Ypres. We run short story and poetry competitions and provide a book club at KS3. We organise regular theatre trips to support our teaching at all levels. We encourage our more able senior students to become involved in the organisation and running of various clubs.
Lead Practitioner: Mrs K Day (maternity)
Drama Department Staff
Drama is taught across the School at Queen Elizabeth’s, being an integral part of the curriculum at Key Stage Three and an option choice for students in Key Stage Four.
Lessons in Years 7 and 8 take place mainly in the purpose built Drama studio but also in the main Hall. All GCSE students have full use of a Drama studio where they are able to use the lighting and sound systems to create their performances.
Key Stage 3
All students in key stage 3 have one drama lesson per week. In year 7, students develop their knowledge about different styles of theatre, such as naturalism, melodrama and mime, as well as building transferable skills such as confidence and teamwork. These transferable skills are embedded in every lesson which places importance on encouraging every student to stand up and perform, showing respect for watching and listening to others, building confidence to put forward their own ideas and develop their imagination and creativity.
In year 8, students use their knowledge and skills built in year 7 combined with theatrical techniques such as split screen, tableaux and multifunctional props, to create insightful pieces which continue to develop their creativity and skill set in preparation for their further studies, and indeed life.
Key Stage 4
GCSE Drama is an option choice for students entering Key Stage Four. The AQA specification is taught in the department, which enables students to undertake a number of practical performance tasks as coursework, while also providing the option to learn technical skills such as lighting, sound and stage design. The course also encourages students to work with a number of play texts, both in performance and as study for examination. Students have the opportunity to attend regular theatre visits, both in local theatres and in the West End. Students are also encouraged to become involved in the School Productions that are staged every year, either in a performing role or in helping with backstage tasks.
In recent years we have put on variety shows of singing, dancing and music, entitled ‘Queen Elizabeth’s does…’. These shows range from ‘QE Does Broadway’ and to ‘QE Does Disney’, with recent productions such as ‘QE Does Motown’ and ‘QE Does Christmas’ being performed at the local University Arts Centre. The Gulbenkian Theatre seats 300 audience members with professional lighting and sound. These productions have been favourites with our students, in particular because the whole show is run by the students, from running backstage, controlling the microphones, operating the lighting and sound as well as being able to perform in the show.
Our school productions also range from a variety of popular musicals to plays. Over the years we have put on full school productions of popular musicals such as ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’, ‘Sweeny Todd’ and ‘Grease’. We have also seen a lower school production of ‘The Grimm’s Tales’ and a full school performance of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. More recently, we constructed a huge tent in the main school hall to create Narnia in ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. Audiences were immersed as they walked through a wardrobe where our students created the world of Narnia.
Our school productions are open to all students who want to be on stage or behind the scenes. The ethos of our productions is that everyone can be involved, mixing with older students as well as being fundamental in organising the shows. Many students, who have not studied GCSE Drama, have been involved in the running of the shows and many have gone onto stage school in pursuit of careers in stage management and lighting design. Being a part of a student run production and performing in a professional theatre, gives students a rich insight into working in the industry, builds self-confidence and creates strong friendships across all years.