A state of near normality

At last, we are back at Fyling Hall and the days, if somewhat altered by current circumstances, are returning to a state of near normality. Our socially distanced students work diligently at their socially distanced desks whilst extra socially distanced study areas have been set up in the English block as well as in other places around the school and our focus is fixed firmly on building upon the foundations we laid last year and ensuring that each and every student at Fyling Hall is making as much progress as possible.

Our new year 13 literature students who worked with Herculean determination throughout lockdown have returned in excellent spirit and are working on two poetry modules: contemporary poetry with Mrs Milner and ‘The Romantics’ with me and are also forging ahead with the comparative literature coursework; no mean feat but a task in which I am confident they will excel. We are also running an AS course in literature this year in which our students are working steadily through looking at the portrayal of women in literature and are analysing contemporary poetry.

Year 11, I am delighted to report, have returned to us this term full of enthusiasm and, with their sights set firmly on their GCSEs next Spring/Summer are all working well as we re-examine the two English language papers and are also looking at the writer’s craft in Animal Farm and the literature class is making strong headway into the Power and Conflict poetry anthology.

As for year 10, it is almost as though they never left school! Throughout lockdown and the summer holiday many of the students worked with vim and alacrity on the analytical skills we had been practising last year as well as a very concerted effort to finely tune their creative writing abilities; some of the fruits of these labours will, I have no doubt, be published in due course on the school website so keep your eye out for them because some of them truly are magnificent.

In year 9, both groups have begun this year with a study of literature with one class looking at Steinbeck’s classic novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ and the other at Golding’s harrowing depiction of what happens when a group of adolescent boys is left unsupervised in ‘Lord of the Flies’! Both groups are thoroughly enjoying their respective reads and are producing some fantastic work.

Similarly, we made the decision to begin both year 8 classes with a look at literature. Mrs Milner’s class is looking at the creepy modern gothic story ‘Darkside’ whilst my class is studying Pullman’s ‘Northern Lights’; quite a tricky text but I have to say that this year 8 group is working fantastically and showing a real ability to examine and analyse the writer’s craft.

Finally, our year 7s. As the newest members of the Fyling Hall family they are all working well and with an enthusiasm that is wonderful to see as we tackle some tricky themes in ‘Private Peaceful’ and some amazing stories in our genre study of science fiction.

As we move through this term, we are able to combine our traditional teaching styles with some of the newer methods we developed during the lockdown so much of the prep is now set on Teams and this has also proved to be an invaluable resource by allowing for instant communication when not in lessons (if students run into difficulty during prep, for example) and a quicker turnaround of work when it is being submitted online.

So, a very big ‘well done’ to every one of our English scholars who has returned this term reinvigorated, refreshed and ready to learn.