Archive | June, 2015

GCSE summer reading

27 Jun

If you are about to go into Year 11 in sets 1, 2 and 3, you’ll be studying George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ for your Literature exam.

Here are some suggestions for other texts you might read in preparation for this:

Summer Reading List


The BBC’s Big Read

26 Jun

No matter which year group you are in, reading is always beneficial. Set yourself a summer challenge: to read some of the BBC’s top 100 recommended books. Here they are:

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher


51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

reading baby

Jane Eyre: a Gothic romance

24 Jun

The BBC have produced a radio programme on ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte – well worth a listen if you are going on to study A2 English Literature.

Click the picture below to go to the programme:


A2 English Literature: summer reading task

19 Jun

cat readingIf you are intending to pursue A2 English Literature then you should be aware that over the summer you should be reading a range of novels with the purpose of selecting one for your coursework. In the attached document, you’ll find a selection of suggestions. You must choose carefully as you will use this text to complete your second piece of coursework; ideally it should be a novel you enjoy and one in which you can see a number of key themes and ideas developing which interest you in some way. When you return, we will ask you to present your novel to the class.

Reading List for coursework

June 2015 Unit 4 Introduction booklet


Understanding the new GCSEs

17 Jun

If you are currently in Year 9, then next year you’ll be embarking upon a GCSE course which is quite different from anything you might already know. To help you and your parents or guardians to understand what lies ahead, we’ve put together a few pointers.

1. Almost everyone will study GCSE English Language. This is what’s known as the ‘core’ subject (in other words, the essential, compulsory English course).

2. There are two optional courses: English Literature or Media Studies. As a department, we’d like as many people as possible to leave us with two qualifications. If you are very strong in English, Literature might be an option which you consider. If you prefer more hands-on practical work, with the added bonus of coursework, Media Studies might be for you. If in doubt, talk to your teacher about the choice.

3. There is no coursework in either English Language or English Literature. Each GCSE has two final exam papers which make up 100% of your qualification.

4. GCSE Media Studies still has coursework which counts towards your final qualification. Media coursework is worth 60% of the total qualification and the exam is worth 40% (worth considering if you are less confident in exam situations).

5. There will be no alphabetical grades for English Language or English Literature anymore. Forget about As, Bs or Cs – you will be graded using numbers. The highest grade will be a 9 and it is roughly the same as an A** (only the top 3% of students in the country will get a grade 9). The lowest grade is a 1, and for students who don’t quite make it, there is also the possibility of a U (ungraded result). A grade 4 will be the same level as a grade C is currently.

What can you do to maximise your chances of success?

– Read widely and regularly. Vocabulary, spelling and punctuation are now worth 20% of your GCSE qualification: the best way to learn new words is to read a range of different texts.

– Write frequently. You’ll be asked to do lots of different types of writing as part of your GCSE qualifications. You’ll do creative writing, non-fiction writing, analytical writing and comparative writing. The best way to become successful is to write frequently and ask for feedback.

– Maintain good quality notes in your class jotters. As everything is assessed at the end of the two year course, you’ll need to make sure that your notes are detailed and will help you to revise in the future.

– Remember that there are weekly clinics. Don’t let insecurities fester – seek advice quickly.

– Stay focused. Two years might seem like a long time, but the end of the course will creep up on you more quickly than you’d imagine. Make sure that every lesson counts and that you do yourself justice in the long term.