English is about reading texts, writing about them and creating them. Texts can be written, visual and oral. Visual texts are such things as film and the myriad of texts that combine pictures and words. Oral texts include speeches and interviews.
Years 9 and 10 English
The Years 9 and 10 course continues work from Years 7 and 8. We are intent on building student literacy so that when students encounter the assessments of the Senior school they have a strong knowledge of grammar and have practised decoding difficult texts. The most important aspect of English is reading. We try and advance the reading ages of the students by having them engage in reading activities every day. The reading mileage they gain will, for most students, increase their ability in parallel with their chronological age. Students who stop reading at home will stagnate; the impact of this will probably not be felt until they reach Year 12 and 13. To encourage student reading we have enrolled every Year 9 and 10 student, except the Year 10 Extension Class, in an App called Reading Plus. The programme provides individualised reading homework each week that will increase each student's reading mileage and therefore increase their ability to comprehend written texts.
Writing is another important component of our programme. The asTTle testing programme has allowed teachers to design activities to help boys to advance this skill. As a result we are confident most boys are writing at the standard needed to complete the relevant Achievement Standard (AS90053) in Year 10.
As well as attending to the fundamental skills of reading and writing it is our mission to foster creativity. The students at Sacred Heart are very good at Public Speaking; again we try and reward this ability by having the boys complete the speaking Achievement Standard (AS90856) in Year 10. Also, there is a trophy to present to the best speaker at each year level: the John C Reid at Year 9 and the Vincent O’Sullivan at Year 10. In a similar vein, the Dan Davin trophy is awarded to a Year 9 or 10 student who excels at creative writing.
The English programme at Years 11, 12 and 13 follow the Achievement Standards closely. At Level 2, the universities have imposed a minimum literacy standard. Students are required to gain five credits in reading Standards and five in writing Standards. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that students can read and write independently and at a level which will allow them to cope with university courses. Thus the bar is set high. Our programme is designed to ensure students gain this literacy requirement.
Excellence is fostered in the Senior school through speech contests: the Pat Sheehan Memorial Trophy at Year 13, the Brother Stephen at Year 12 and the Brother Remigius at Year 11. Excellence in creative writing is rewarded with the Toa Fraser Cup.
In the academic arena, we collect 60 students into two extension classes that complete NCEA Level 1 over two years. The students consolidate high level skills so that they can excel at level 2 and 3. The objective of these class is to gain Level 3 subject Endorsements at Excellence and Scholarship.
Thematic Studies in English: Thematic Studies allows students to reach the literacy requirement over two years. Each student can complete similar coursework while attempting assessments at their own level. In other words, a student completing assessments in a Year 13 Thematic Studies class may be awarded Level 3, Level 2 or Level 1 credits, depending on the standard of their work.
English is a compulsory subject until students gain NCEA Level 2. For most students the study of English does not lead directly to a career but develops the skills that are the building blocks of competence in most areas of endeavour.
English Department Staff