Message From the Head of Department, Mr. Nick Rutherford
"English as a subject and as a language opens up new worlds, ideas and opportunities to all of us. We can enter into fictional worlds for pleasure, better communicate with those around us and better understand life’s complexities through one of the most complex and beautiful languages in the world. At Mossbourne, all students study English for a minimum of 4 hours a week. They learn how to write in a huge variety of ways, how to read and understand all kinds of non-fiction texts; perhaps most importantly they also have the opportunity to express their ideas intelligently and appropriately through discussion and debate. On the literature side, students will read and respond to a dizzying array of plays, poems and novels. They will take in Renaissance poetry, Japanese Haiku, modern classics, media texts and everything in between. We are lucky to have an incredible team of enthusiastic and creative staff who work tirelessly to ensure the students’ lessons are engaging and meaningful. The GCSE results last year (88% A*-C language and 93% literature) were the department’s best yet."
English Department staff 2010-2011
Head of English: Mr Rutherford
Second in English: Ms Owoh
Key stage 5 Co-ordinator: Dr Foster
Key stage 4 Co-ordinator: Ms Cox
Key stage 3 Co-ordinator: Mr Rowley
Year 9 Co-ordinator: Ms Fox
Gifted and Talented: Ms Hunter
EAL: Ms Karpuzku
ICT: Ms Mckenzie
Literacy: Mr Dimechkie
Debating: Mr Davis
Vice principals in English
Our trips to Othello & Dr. Faustus
One of the many joys of taking an English A-Level is, of course, the trips! Having studied the Shakespeare’s Othello, we were given the opportunity to go to West Kensington to watch an actual performance of this play. The play itself is very controversial, set in an era before colonialism we still come across the controversy that surrounds race and a tragic love story of sexuality and betrayal that comes with it. This particular location was almost as controversial as the play as it was actually acted out in the basement of a pub! However, the hidden element of the performance emphasised the sense of escapism that plays’ have – we were entering a different world. Once all of the students had arrived and were settled, we realised just how small the venue was. The audience members on the opposite sides were just metres away. However, this did not affect the quality of the performances the actors put on, in fact it made it a lot more personal and let us all take different perspectives on the way each character was portrayed and what role their positioning played with this.
Another one of the famous plays we were able to see was the renowned Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe: this was my personal favourite. Based upon a complex story of a man who sells his soul to the devil, we were all excited to see how this would be played out. Similar to Othello, this play was also located in a peculiar environment – a book shop in the middle of Oxford. We sat with a Birdseye view of the stage (also, sadly, next to the speakers). There was an indescribable frisson of fright in one particular moment when we were all startled to hear screams and see the hand of the ‘Devil’ burst out through the table and from beneath the Holy Scriptures. As much as we were almost scared to death by this, it showed us just how different theatrical tactics could add such effect to which might have been quite a boring scene. People’s different interpretations of a play can change your whole outlook on the story. The actors and mood created through the variation in lighting was what determined the tone of the play, whether it were to be tragic or comedic. All in all, the students took away the understanding of the extent taking an English A-level allows freedom to study different ideas and concepts that we wouldn’t all normally discuss or attempt to explore depth - how many lucky people do you know get to learn a bit of history, psychology, and philosophy all in one lesson ?
Helen Demlew 13 Morley