Faculty of English, Media and Drama
English is a high achieving and dynamic faculty. Results are consistently outstanding and students make excellent progress. Members of the team are totally committed to ensuring successful outcomes for our students, as well as offering an inclusive, creative and innovative educational experience. In 2016, 70% of students achieved 5A*-C in English and Maths, and 81% of students made expected progress in GCSE English Language. 92% of students achieved A*-C in GCSE Media and 88% made expected levels of progress. At post-16 we currently offer A-level English, Media and Drama, very popular and highly successful options for our VI Form students. There is a 100% pass rate in English, Media and Drama at A-level.
WHY TAKE ENGLISH?
English is at the heart of what we do every single day. It is about communicating effectively, building relationships with others and being able to understand the world in which we live. In an ever changing society, being able to articulate yourself eloquently is paramount.
The study of Literature allows us to immerse ourselves in the minds of other writers and to explore their purposes in writing texts. Reading is key to unlocking knowledge about the world around you, the writer themselves and of course, yourself.
English at KS3, GCSE and A-level offers students the chance to read widely, write for purpose and enjoyment and to develop their ability to effectively communicate verbally. It is a rich and diverse subject.
WHY TAKE MEDIA?
Media is all around us. It’s the radio station we listen to on the way to work; the news we watch as we eat our tea; the social media sites we continually update and engage with; the games we play and the music we hear. How often do you question the way the media works? Why do certain news items come before others, and why are certain genres of music portrayed in a particular way? The study of Media allows students to develop a range of personal and practical skills that encourages them to engage with the media and question its purpose, role and significance.
During both the GCSE and A-level course, students have the chance to discuss topical and often controversial areas that are current social concerns. They learn about the construction of representation and how other theorists, such as Feminist and Marxist, view the world around us. As well as this, they will also have the opportunity to analyse the most current affairs and Media formats including blogging/vlogging, social media and the internet, as well as more traditional forms such as television, radio and newspapers.
WHY TAKE DRAMA?
Drama allows us to become creative, curious and reflective; skills which are needed more than ever in the world we now live in. Drama allows a student to explore society through a practical platform. At both GCSE and A-level, students explore a wide range of dramatic texts from various historical and social contexts.
Alongside this, students are also afforded the opportunity to devise their own pieces, taking inspiration from various influential practitioners and companies. Watching live performances from professional companies is very much an integral part of the GCSE and A-level, with the onus on analysing and developing an appreciation of the nuances of performance
KEY STAGE 3
At Key Stage Three, students participate in English lesson with the study of media forming part of those lessons across Years 7 and 8. The key aspect of English and Media at KS3 is enabling students to have skills that are transferable for life. These skills are based around communication and are achieved through looking at the core strands of reading, writing and speaking and listening. At Key Stage 3 students develop their communication skills through a range of programmes of study. These are designed to complement and build on the skills that the students have already started to develop in primary education. These skills are taught through units of work that have a theme or focus, for example, Magic and Mystery in Year 7. Students are exposed to a wide variety of texts – both fiction and non-literary – as well as a variety of writing opportunities. In order to support the development of the key communication skills that underpin learning across all subjects, students have five lessons a fortnight of English at Key Stage 3.
In KS3, students in Drama are afforded the opportunity to explore the history of performance, craft and create their own performances, evaluate the work of others and develop knowledge of dramatic skills and devices. Students are able to be creative and are encouraged to explore a variety of ways of devising and crafting performance pieces using technical and performance skills.
KEY STAGE 4
GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature
All students start Key Stage 4 working towards completing two GCSEs: one in English Language and one in English Literature. At CSIA, we follow the AQA GCSE English Language and English Literature specifications. During the course, students have the chance to study a wide range of texts, as well as developing their skills as a writer.
During Years 10 and 11 students will study a variety of literary and non-literary texts, exploring language, structure, themes, context, characters and relationships. Students are exposed to a range of writers, poets and playwrights, both contemporary and from the literary heritage. Students also have the opportunity to write creatively and for a purpose, developing the skills of descriptive and persuasive writing, as well as more functional writing skills, such as letter writing and reports.
In order to support their achievement in this core subject, students have six lessons a fortnight of English in Year 10, and five lessons a fortnight in Year 11.
GCSE Media Studies
The study of the media at GCSE allows students to gain an experience of a variety of modern texts that influence today’s society. At CSIA, we follow the AQA GCSE Media specifications. Students have the opportunity to understand the way in which media can be manipulated, and the course encourages students to be active readers of texts that question the messages and ideals behind the media today.
Students study a range of audio, visual, print and online texts, analysing key codes and conventions and considering audience response. They explore a range of genres, representations and consider the way media is constructed by industries. Students also have the opportunity to explore media from a practical perspective, creating their own media texts and evaluating them from an analytical point of view.
The study of Drama at GCSE is exciting, challenging and thrilling. At CSIA, we follow the OCR GCSE Drama specification. In Year 10 students prepare for their examination by practically exploring theatre styles and approaches to acting techniques using a spectrum of themes and characters. Students will demonstrate their ability to apply these techniques and write about how effective they were in their explorations. The GCSE consists of two practical exams and a final written exam. Throughout the two year course students will watch and analyse original and innovative live theatre, explore a range of styles, selected texts and create their own practical pieces for their devised and scripted examinations.
A-level English Literature and Language (AQA)
The study of English Language and Literature at A level allows students to engage their passion for reading, writing and exploring a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. They are given opportunities to employ critical thinking methods, debate the meaning and impact of texts, and are encouraged to unleash their creative flair by experimenting with a range of writing styles.
Studying English is an excellent opportunity to extend students’ passion for exploring texts and crafting creative writing pieces. A level English will develops analytical expertise and expand knowledge of the subject by introducing students to a range of different text types, which help to unlock higher level thinking skills. The benefit of opting for a combined Language and Literature course means that students are exposed to a range of specialised skills, allowing them to develop a broad range of analytical methods by using new terminology and a range of writing styles.
Over the two year course, students have the chance to study an anthology of poems by Carol Ann Duffy and a collection of non-fiction language texts focused on the city of Paris. Additionally, they explore the somewhat topical Dystopian novel, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’; the glitz and glam Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ and Tennesse Williams’ masterpiece ‘A Streetcar named Desire’.
A-level English Literature (AQA)
This is the course for students who adore reading. The English Literature programme offers a stimulating mixture of traditional and contemporary studies, offering students the opportunity to extend their own passion for reading whilst exploring a rich variety of different texts types. The content of the course is broad and diverse and requires students to read four novels, three plays, two collections of poetry, and a study of unseen texts, as well as producing a personalised critical study of two texts of their own choosing and an independent study of two key literary theorists. Studying literature involves the development of sophisticated reading skills and an ability to place literary texts in their wider cultural, authorial and historical contexts, alongside considering aspects of readership and genre. It is therefore essential that English Literature students are avid readers and dedicated to developing their knowledge and understanding independently, as well as in the classroom.
At A level, students will extend their critical analysis and exploration of a breadth of texts by considering them in depth and through having the opportunity to discuss literature in a mature and passionate environment. Over the two year course, students study an anthology of poems by William Blake and a collection of texts that explore social and political protest writing. Additionally, they study the Dystopian novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, a text that provides a fascinating social commentary on female equality; Hardy’s ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’; Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’; Shakespeare’s intricate study of love and jealousy, “Othello” and finally, Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’.
A-level Media Studies (WJEC/AQA)
In a society where at every twist and turn we are surrounded by media and technology in one form or another, A level Media gives students the chance to gain an insight into, and to challenge, the world around them.
During the course, students will have the chance to discuss topical and often controversial areas that are current social concerns. They learn about the construction of representation and how critical theorists view the world around us. Students analyse the most current affairs and Media formats including blogging/vlogging, social media and the internet, as well as more traditional forms such as television, radio and print media.
During the A-level course, students create their own media texts following specific genre codes and conventions. They become adept at taking original images, using software to edit and refine still and moving images.
A-level Drama (AQA)
Drama at A-level allows students to explore a wide range of dramatic texts from various historical and social contexts. Alongside this, students are also afforded the opportunity to devise their own pieces, taking inspiration from various influential practitioners and companies. A-level Drama and Theatre helps students to pursue your own interests and skills in a range of practical drama elements, including performing, devising and improvising, as well as technical design and costume. Watching live performances from professional companies is very much an integral part of the A-level, with the onus on analysing and developing an appreciation of the nuances of performance.
Over the course of the two years, students will perform three extracts (each from a different play) to illustrate their understanding of an influential director, designer, theatre company or other practitioner. Additionally, students devise a piece of Drama on a specific topic to be performed in a theatrical style of their choice. Two further dramatic texts are explored practically, whilst a live theatre production will be explored as part of the written exam.
Nexus might well focus on STEM subjects, but what connects these fascinating areas of study? Communication, of course. We have developed extensive links with the Nexus Academy by offering extra-curricular activities in creative writing and spoken language.
The ‘Scribblers’ club takes place weekly after school at the Nexus site, encouraging students to employ their thinking skills in a highly creative way. Students work with a dedicated teacher from the faculty to read widely for pleasure, show creative flair in a range of writing and utilise their skills in their STEM subjects as a spring board for creativity. This has proven popular this year.
To excel in a STEM career, students must be highly articulate with a sophisticated repertoire of speaking skills. We work with Nexus students on a discreet Youth Speaks programme, which allows them to develop and extend their skills in presenting, speaking and listening; skills which will be vital in their future careers.
The study of English can provide a solid grounding for continued study at degree level, or support entry into a variety of career paths including: teaching, journalism, professional writing, publishing, the media, social work, law and the public sector. Studying English at A-level shows employers that you can communicate at a high standard, both verbally and in written form.
English Literature provides students with a secure grounding for the demands of literature at degree level or entry into a variety of career paths including: teaching, journalism, professional writing, publishing, the media, social work, law and the public sector. In these areas, the emphasis is on sensitive responses to written material and an understanding of human communication. Our teachers have a huge passion for the subject and are committed to ensuring the very best outcomes for students. English Literature is recognised as a facilitating subject by Russell Group Universities.
The study of Media allows students to develop a range of personal and practical skills that will prepare them for further study in higher education or when entering a variety of different careers including: teaching, journalism, television, advertising, design and many more. Our teachers have specialist subject expertise in all areas of media and are committed to ensuring the highest outcomes for all students.
The study of Drama allows students to develop a range of personal and practical skills that will prepare them for further study in higher education, or when entering a variety of different careers including: teaching, performing, directing, television, advertising, design and many more. Our teachers are specialists in their subjects and encourage a passion for this wonderful subject.
Trips, Visits and Extra-curricular.
Creative Writing Club
A club of creative collaborative KS3 students that expands Literary horizons and celebrates the written word. Under the guidance of our teachers, students open up a world of imagination with different themes and activities to enhance their writing. Students are also given the chance to enter national competitions and have their work published. Our students have been really successful in both local and national competitions. The club also prides itself on the annual trips that it runs to stimulate the imagination, feeding into subsequent writing workshops.
For students in Years 7-9 with a passion for the dramatic arts, Drama club students get to explore a range of roles within theatre from acting to lighting and set design. Working alongside Drama teachers and our creative technician, students get to create and devise a range of performances based on various themes across the course of the year. Some of the themes we cover include: storytelling, puppetry, conflict and comedy. Students can choose to take part as technicians, performers or designers
Kernow Youth Book Awards
The Kernow Youth Book Awards is an award encouraging reading for pleasure. Six engaging texts for teenagers are selected by the KYBA organisation; they are often of differing genre and cover a range of diverse themes relevant to young adults. Year 9 and 10 students can participate in the award, reading the six texts and meeting weekly with English teachers to discuss the content. Finally, students rank the texts and are invited to an awards ceremony held at the Eden Project, in which many of the authors attend to give inspiring and interesting speeches.
For those students that feel really passionate about topical and controversial issues, we run a Debate Club all year groups. This provides a chance for students to debate the most important issues facing them. In the past, our topics have included armed police, lowering the voting age, the right to fidget spinners and Donald Trump. Students are expected to come armed with ideas for discussion, and these ideas are then nurtured by a teacher allowing the student to devise a sophisticated and well-formed argument. We also have plans for a number of external competitions coming up.
Rotary Youth Speaks
Youth Speaks affords students the opportunity to participate in a formal speaking competition with other schools. All students in KS3 have the opportunity to take part. Students are coached on their speaking skills, crafting an impressive and sophisticated team speech to impress the judges. CSIA students are often very successful in Youth Speaks.
World Book Day
As a team of story loving teachers, we like to honour World Book Day with as much enthusiasm as possible. In the past we have held a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with students; taken part in various dressing up competitions and devised a whole school reading project.
Year 9 English and Media London Trip
In Year 9 we offer students the opportunity to gain a meaningful insight into the real world of ‘The Media’ (which will particularly benefit those studying ‘Media Studies’ or ‘Creative iMedia’). The three day trip to London also allows students to visit places of cultural significance. During the trip, students participate in a workshop with actors at The Globe Theatre, watch a live performance of a west end production and visit the Warner Bros. Harry Potter studio tour. A lasting experience of the cultural delights our capital has to offer!
Theatre Visits and workshops
Reading a text is one thing, watching it being performed live on stage is quite another. In our faculty we believe in giving students the opportunity to watch live theatre, and participate in workshops with professional actors, as much as possible.
Within the English department, various trips have included watching productions of: An Inspector Calls; Birdsong; The Importance of Being Earnest; A View from the Bridge; The Tempest and Much Ado about Nothing.
Within the Drama department, we have taken students to see numerous performances at The Hall for Cornwall, The Poly Theatre in Falmouth, The Minack Theatre in Penzance and Theatre Royal Plymouth.
Along with theatre trips we also have the opportunity to visit Theatre Royal Plymouth’s TR2 centre. At the TR2 centre, students get a guided tour of the rehearsal rooms, costume department and set workshops. This tour is an exciting opportunity for students to see what happens behind the scenes in a theatre and allows them to experience the various departments and skills involved in putting on full-scale, professional theatre productions.
We also run workshops at school which are led by professional actors and practitioners. This is a great chance for students to gain an in-depth knowledge of important styles and practitioners from someone who has a wealth of practical and theoretical knowledge. The most recent workshops we have run were led by Splendid Productions, Theatre Complicite and Terry Besson (a voice coach who has worked with Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Robert de Niro and many others).