The English curriculum throughout the Senior School primarily aims to:
- develop pupils’ abilities to communicate effectively in speech and writing for a variety of purposes and audiences;
- enhance pupils’ listening skills to develop a deeper understanding of texts;
- teach pupils’ to read with insight and cultivate informed personal responses to both literary and non-literary texts.
English Literature is taught as an integral part of English at all stages at PGHS and, as such, pupils are able to encounter a variety of texts and are thereby encouraged to become enthusiastic, responsive and knowledgeable readers. We also actively encourage girls’ own wider reading through a number of initiatives such as an annual ‘Readathon’ /'Read For My School' challenge and the Carnegie Awards Book Club.
One of the English Department’s strongest principles is a belief in the value of independent learning and this is built into the curriculum from Year 7 to Year 11. The fact that the girls are taught in small groups of approximately 15 clearly helps each girl develop greater confidence and discover her voice within a secure and supportive environment.
A number of theatre trips and visits are arranged throughout the academic year to enhance the girls’ understanding and enjoyment of texts studied in class.
'Study of the Novel' (Year 7 - Year 9)
'Tales of Gothic Horror' (Year 9)
'Poetry from World War 1' (Year 8)
'Poetry and Images' (Year 7)
Years 7 & 8
Key Stage 3: English encompasses English Literature, with speaking and listening, reading and writing activities incorporated in a fully integrated programme. Emphasis is placed upon a broad and varied programme and includes the study of Shakespeare, poetry, prose, non-literary and media texts.
In Year 9 the girls begin preparing for IGCSE study by, for example, completing a media-focused unit on the language of newspapers and journalistic techniques, and a poetry unit on poetry from different cultures.
Key Stage 4: Similarly, at IGCSE, the girls follow an integrated programme which ultimately leads to a separate qualification in English and English Literature.
In English Language, they continue to improve the fluency and accuracy of their own written expression and read a variety of texts. They learn to distinguish between fact and opinion; to follow an argument; to select material appropriate to purpose and to appreciate writers’ use of language. They also develop their ability in speaking and listening in order to communicate clearly for different purposes and audiences.
In English Literature, the girls study both pre and post 1914 poetry, prose and drama. They learn how to respond to texts critically, sensitively and in detail and develop an awareness of their social, historical and cultural contexts.
Assessment for both subjects currently includes both coursework and final examinations.
Extra Curricular Activities
- Senior Debating Society (Years 9 – 11)
- English Surgeries (KS3 & KS4)
- Scribbler's Ink (Years 7-9)
- Literary Society (Year 11)
Young Writers' Competition Winners