The Personal Development days run by the English Department are under constant review and evaluation, therefore evolving to suit the different needs of each cohort they are being delivered to and to reflect the changing demands of the curriculum. An overview of these days, taking into consideration the changes that they may undergo, is as follows:
Year 9 ‘Shakespeare Day’
- The Year 9 ‘Shakespeare Day’, which immerses students in all thing Shakespearean, with a particular focus on ‘Macbeth’ allows students to also experience and consider other Shakespearean plays that they may not have experienced within their English lessons.
- It will allow students the opportunity to look closely at the language and imagery of the play and the presentation of key characters by using art such as making multi-faceted masks that represent the complexity of Shakespeare’s characterisation.
- It will also give students the opportunity to experience the drama of the Shakespearean stage and to try either acting and using props and voice themselves or bringing plays alive through animation. This will also involve a visit to ALNS from a well-respected theatre company, ‘Box Clever’ for a performance of Macbeth followed by an interactive workshop.
Year 9 ‘Get Lost in Books Day’
- This day encourages students to recognise and celebrate the importance of reading and enjoying reading, focusing on the experience of learning to read as a child. They watch how a five year old reads and consider the importance of learning language as well as enjoying the reading experience.
- Students use their key literacy skills to create their own children’s book, using pop up art and considering rhyme, rhythm and moral endings to enhance the reader’s experience.
- Extra challenge takes the shape of students looking at the moral lessons that children’s books often include, then considering a moral angle for their own story, whether that be a lesson about being nice to one another or understanding the differences between people of different backgrounds.
‘The Magic of Books’ (World Book Day)
- This day focuses on fostering a love of reading for pleasure. Students look at texts thematically, focusing on a text which their teacher will present as a personal favourite, explaining why they love it so much, then looking more broadly at other texts within that theme.
- Activities linked to the texts seek to engage students and encourage their creativity, such as creating a Harry Potter style ‘parallel universe’.
- The day seeks to nourish students’ cultural capital, particularly through novels like Watership Down by Richard Adams, The Witches by Roald Dahl and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Year 11 PD Days
- The Year 11 focus is on key exam skills on one or two separate half-day sessions over the year, depending on the specific year’s diary.
- They look at reading skills for both language papers and the key texts for Literature.
- Students are provided with the tools and materials to then revise independently at home, as well as the opportunity to analyse texts together and discuss as a class.