English at Putney Park
The combined team of English teachers at Putney Park continues to develop and stretch the potential of girls of all abilities. Mrs. Keville, Mrs. Myles, Miss Nee and Mr Bainbridge have shared the responsibility to improve literacy from Year 6 to Year 11 and the results have been tremendously encouraging for all of us.
The year began with 100% A*- C grades in our GCSE results in English and English Literature and has ended with a record number of girls in Year 6 attaining Level 5 at Key Stage 2, thanks to the efforts of Mrs Keville and Mrs Myles who built on the work of our Lower School teachers.
Our current Year 11 girls have just completed their GCSEs and we wish them every success, following their study of ‘Death of a Salesman’ by Arthur Miller, of a range of challenging modern poems by Sylvia Plath, Philip Larkin, Carol Ann Duffy and others and a selection of unusual but charming short stories written in English by writers from non-English backgrounds.
Year 10 completed their first year of the GCSE course, having worked with real commitment on their coursework which required us to decide whether ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is more about conflict than love, how Blake and Wordsworth could write about London so differently and what ‘Jane Eyre’ tells us about Victorian social and religious attitudes.
At Key Stage 3 our girls have advanced in leaps and bounds, often producing outstanding work on the poetry of love and of war, and on what we learn from classic texts such as ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Animal Farm’, ‘Great Expectations’, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ ‘Skellig’ and ‘Holes.’
There has been an increased focus on helping students for whom English is a second language. This year it was possible to provide one-to-one tuition, within the department, for all girls whose English, for this reason, needed a rapid boost.
The provision of extra English lessons from Miss Nee for girls who need more intensive support than the normal timetable allows has demonstrably improved their prospects for success at GCSE.
As usual, trips away from the school have played an integral part in the students’ learning and this year the highlights were a Year 7 trip to the Globe Theatre led by Mrs. Myles and Mrs Keville and a visit by Year 9, accompanied by Miss Nee and Mr Bainbridge, to the battlefields of Northern France to provide a context both for their World War I history studies and for their understanding of the great poetry that the conflict generated.
It has been a thoroughly rewarding year and the unique qualities of the teaching in this department, combined with an excellent teacher-pupil ratio, have a great deal to do with this. However, the efforts of the students are at the core of their success. They deserve our congratulations.
Mr N Bainbridge
Head of English