English Faculty in Focus
This year’s English Faculty in Focus was absolutely bursting at the seams with events and activities at Cirencester Deer Park School.
What Christmas is complete without the timeless Dickens’ classic that is A Christmas Carol? Year 8’s studies were brought to life by the wonderful Ginificent, a theatre company that came in to school on Monday 20 November to bring the ghostly tale to the stage. The excitement was not just limited to one year group, however, as our Year 11 Drama GCSE managed to attend to gain first-hand experience of how a theatre company operates. This was all followed up with a Year 8 quiz which saw Ethan, Archie and Ben take first place, followed by Alice, Evie and Kadie who were runners up.
In assemblies during week commencing 20 November our English Faculty talked with pupils about family Christmas traditions and followed with this year’s English Faculty Christmas Story, told by Mrs Voss. Babushka made a surprise appearance each day! We shared some of the English Faculty's festive traditions: one teacher has a "cowboy" lunch on Christmas Day of chips, beans, sausage, bacon and tomatoes, and another fills a box with new pyjamas for the whole family and they watch a movie together on Christmas Eve. What are your Christmas traditions? Can you make your own?
Although this may seem a tough act to follow, our English Faculty rose to the challenge tremendously by calling in Joffre White. For those who are not aware, Joffre is a highly successful children’s author who has come into Deer Park throughout 2017 as our Patron of Reading and has shared his experiences with our pupils. On two days at the end of November we gave him our best and brightest and he ran workshops with them to stretch them even further. I bumped into a Year 7 pupil in the corridor after one such workshop who shouted to me 'That was AMAZING!’. We are always delighted to see our pupils enthused about writing.
One such session with Joffre saw him visit the newly formed Write Club, a creative writing club for Key Stage 3 with the aim of encouraging our pupils to become independent writers. In the New Year the club is putting together an anthology of work which will have a preface written by Joffre himself. In order to give everyone a chance to feature, we decided to hold a competition. The first rule of Write Club is that there are no rules: any genre, any length, any pupil. The competition has been a huge success and it has been a joy to read a variety of work from across the age ranges. Although many will be featured in the anthology, only our top three could win the prizes which consisted of a rather extortionate amount of chocolate. The winners are 1st Beth (7 Jenner), 2nd Amy (11 Jenner) and 3rd Tamsin (7 Derby).
We are nothing but generous here in English and those who were not as keen on writing also had the chance to enter our Greek Mythology Quiz. Placed around the school were 15 information cards, each containing a different answer to the questions provided. Pupils were invited to enter in their own free time and the winning team came courtesy of 7 Douglas consisting of Abi, Chloe, Isabelle and Molly. Well done girls!
The Year 7’s definitely outshone themselves this year sweeping up in the prizes! Quite how they found the time is baffling when you consider they had a competition of their own running throughout all of this. For three weeks they have had an Inter Tutor Accelerated Reader Challenge. This competition saw them logging which books they had been reading and the computer counting up the amount of words collectively read. Individual winners were: Andrew 443,000 words, Alma 197,000 words, Emily 162,000 words, Freya 154,000 words and Fleur 145,000 words. The winning tutor group was 7 Douglas who read a total of 1.4 million words!
Just as we began by watching Ginificent bring Ebenezer Scrooge and his fellow characters to life, so we closed the English Faculty in Focus in much the same vein. This time it was the turn of Cirencester Deer Park School’s very own staff to dress up, as over 50 staff members brought their favourite literary characters alive on Tuesday 5 December on Literary Character Day.
The school became a magical place for the day as pupils could spot Harry Potter and Gandalf discussing spells, James Bond sharing a drink with Dracula and Miss Trunchball exchanging words with Lady Macbeth. Even Denzel and Cosmo joined in! The pupils had a difficult task trying to figure out who everyone was, although some assistance was provided by the quotation badges worn by each character. It was an enormous undertaking and although no one scored the maximum points our top three teams were 1st (94/110) Karen, Maddison and Megan in Year 8, 2nd (92/110) Lily, Teagan, Sam, Charlotte and Keavy (Year 9), and 3rd (80/100) Rachel and Alice in Year 10.
Congratulations to those above and all who took part in every aspect of this year’s English Faculty in Focus. None of it would have been possible without the amazing support received by the entire school. Together we have shown our pupils that English is not solely about putting your head down and writing essays. It is about learning skills that will be invaluable throughout all walks of life. It is about communication, inspiration and aspiration. And occasionally, in special circumstances, it can be about putting on a wig and pretending you are a wizard for the day.
From all in the English Faculty... Thank You.