The English Department's Blog

A-level Archive

Jan 28

Halfway through Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love – part of the ‘Aspects of Narrative’ genre of the AS Eng.Lit. course, and I remembered Borges’ ‘certain Chinese encyclopedia‘.  I wondered what would happen if Joe Rose tried to use this taxonomy to describe Jed Parry.  Answers, please, in the comments section.

Jan 21

It’s options season yet again. On Monday we entertain prospective A-level students who will be doing the round of all manner of courses, each trying to capture their imaginations and convince them that two years spent studying that subject will guarantee them entry to an elite university and then glittering success in a lucrative career.

Why bother, then, with English? Well, if you love reading, then it’s a chance to study something which is important to you, to explore books and ideas that have resonated with countless readers for hundreds of years.

Yet not everyone who studies English Literature at A-level would count themselves bookworms. Many study it because of the freedom it offers, especially in choosing and developing your own coursework tasks. At A-level, we even let you choose the books you write about! In lessons we challenge you to think for yourself, and our high expectations lead to outstanding results.

Where will it take you? Anywhere, really? Your communication skills will be first-rate, and you’ll be able to respond to a problem creatively and effectively. Just read this article by Dr David White, formerly head of the Graduate Entry Medical School and you’ll see why professionals from a wide range of fields value what you learn as part of your English A-level.

If you’ve any questions, come and have a chat.  We’d love to see you start the course in September.

Sep 14

This September sees the English Department looking forward to a challenging, yet exciting academic year, in which we hope to build on last year’s many successes.  We were delighted in August to achieve some excellent GCSE results, and congratulate all the boys who worked so hard.  Our two A-level sets both did themselves proud, with four boys achieving A* grades, and Richard Hill going on to Merton College, Oxford to read English.  We wish him all the best for the future.

This year we are looking forward to even greater efforts from our GCSE classes to go achieve another set of record grades.  Keep an eye on the ‘High Impact Sessions’ section of the Nottingham High School website for useful revision tips and materials.  The most important point is that all boys need to work hard over the course of the whole year, as it isn’t possible to cram the study of a novel, a play, a set of short stories and a poetry anthology into the few short weeks of Leave of Absence!

The new GCSE syllabus begins this year for boys in Year 10, who will have the new challenges of controlled conditions coursework to overcome.  It is particularly important that boys attend all their English lessons this year, and avoid missing them at all costs.  The timetable to get all the work completed is very tight, and we want all our boys to do the very best they can.

In the Lower School we have made some large-scale changes to our programmes of study, and introduced a whole new system of assessment to help boys make progress towards success at GCSE.  All boys have been issued with a handbook which sets out in detail the assessment objectives for their year, and we expect them to make use of these as the year goes on, targeting areas for improvement with each piece of homework.  Your son should have brought home a copy for you to keep; if he’s failed to do so, please do encourage him to get you a copy.

And lastly, we are delighted to welcome new, yet very familiar colleagues into the Department.  Mrs Smith and Mrs Wheeler will take over from Miss Green and Miss Salmon with immediate effect.  We wish them every success in their careers at Nottingam High School.