Years 7, 8 and 9
Director of Studies: Mrs J Lansley
In years 7, 8, and 9, all students study English for five periods a week.
What we learn:
In Year 7 writing skills are developed by considering the work of published writers and a variety of poems, plays and novels are read from both modern day and historical times. In accordance with the new Key Stage 3 curriculum, spelling, punctuation and grammar are covered in depth. There are opportunities to write persuasive texts, debate, give individual talks to the rest of the class and time is found to go to the library and read books of the student's own choice.
Students continue to develop the skills from Year 7 and the concept of the tradition of English, poetry, prose and drama through research and analysis is introduced. Students will further their knowledge of Shakespeare and consolidate their understanding of spelling, punctuation and grammar. They will analyse media texts, broaden their knowledge and understanding of poetry as well as continuing to produce a range and variety of written texts.
Year 8 English Challenge Week
An example of one of the activities we offer to bring English to life for students is Year 8 Challenge Week. In the past, students have undertaken a wide range of different challenging activities including writing stories inspired by a workshop with the school's Patron of Reading, Matt Dickinson. They created an English Study Guide for future Year 8s and delivered scripted performances based on 'Amazing Maurice', 'Johnnie and the Dead' and the Greek Myths. Teachers selected star performers from each group and prizes were awarded for excellent work and effort.
Some of the Year 8 stories can be seen by clicking the links below:
My Journey to Everest
by Amber Barry, Year 8
I am shaking whilst the mountain boldly towers above me. The summit disappears into the white fluffy clouds. As I look around, the reflection of the sun onto the bright ice blinds me. Here there is nothing but water and rock, people and tents and death and memories. I wear four pairs of gloves but even then my hands are bitter cold. My heart is beating fast from fear of this powerful rock, it could crush me in a second and I would lie amongst all the other carcasses that lost their lives looking for adrenaline, trying to achieve their lifelong dream. I think about how much money, effort and energy I have used to get this far, I cannot give up now. I then have a burst of energy to complete my mission and to make my family proud.
"I will do this, whatever it takes me", I quietly repeat to myself. I put on my rucksack and start walking, trying leave all my negativity behind.
They say it is the first day that is the worst, I don't believe them, every step I take I wonder why anyone would get so close to heaven but go through hell to reach it. Even though my body is sore all over and my head is beginning to fall apart from the amount of emotion passing through me, I try to continue because climbing the tallest mountain in the world has been my dream for as long as I can remember.
Nobody has showered for many days and it is starting to become obvious. There is a sickening odour from the group and our well-worn clothes are drenched in nervous sweaty fear. I never thought that it would be the simple things that I miss the most but waking up without a morning shower or not being able to wash my hands in warm water that trickles out of a squeaky tap, is something that is hard to forget about. I am also missing my family back home, right now I would give anything to see my warm, welcoming house with my lovely family inside.
Today we passed the "three-quarter way up" sign and as soon as I saw the top of the flaky painted green wood my heart pounded with excitement. It was the best feeling I have had for days and it was a great encouragement for the group.
I am feeling physically tired, as sleeping is almost impossible in ice storms and freezing temperatures. Eating the same food over and over again is becoming sickening and I can't remember the last time I ate fresh fruit or vegetables. Right now I wish that I was sat in a cosy pub, right next to the crackling fire, with a huge burger and chips and a large coca cola to go with it.
Wow we can see the summit. The summit of Mount Everest isn't hidden in the clouds anymore. This is everything I have been waiting for, the reason why I wanted to climb this mountain. Each step, my heart beats faster, my pace quickens and my smile gets wider. I cannot believe that I am about to stand on the top of the tallest mountain in the world.
The summit gets closer with every step. Then finally I hear a loud cheer and we are all celebrating this fascinating once in a lifetime experience, here is the moment we have all been waiting for. For years this moment has only been a dream but now it is actually happening. The view is breath taking, it is truly wonderful. White glitters all around me and I feel as if I rule the world. I take pictures of the untouched beauty above the clouds. I flash back to the start of this adventure to the fundraising of thousands of pounds then to the airport and catching a glimpse of the monster for the very first time. This is an amazing experience, which I will never forget.
by Ben Crowson, Year 8
I have just got to the base camp of Mount Everest and can finally see the mountain that has haunted my dreams for decades. I see it in the distance, watching over the camp, and I can't wait to start climbing up it. I'm nervous and excited, scared and curious, wondering what the infamous mountain has in store for me. I wonder why I wanted to take this risk — 4 out of every 100 die — but I won't back down now. All of us are buzzing with anticipation.
We have started climbing it, a small team of a few Sherpa and some friends that have decided to come on the journey with me. We're all exhausted, there is 66 percent less oxygen on the mountain than at sea level, but we know that we have to make it to the top. Wind can blow at speeds like 200mph up here and temperature can get to -80F, filling my lungs with freezing air and chilling me to the bone.
I miss fresh fruit and food other than rice and noodles and realise that burning 10,000 calories a day has made me extremely thin. I also miss my cat, my friends and my family, but they help me get through the pain barrier that doesn't allow many climbers to reach the summit. This is my second attempt to climb Everest: I made it to a few hundred metres of the summit, but the weather didn't allow me to the top.
I have finally made it to the summit and can see miles in every direction, but I have to remind myself that this is only the halfway point, that most people die on the way down. We don't stay up there for long though; don't do anything to celebrate while we are at the top. I usually have a cup of tea at the mountain's summit, but up here, if you throw a cup of tea in the air, it freezes before hitting the ground.
We're a quarter of the way down when one of the Sherpa falls. It was a tricky bit of rock and snow and he quivers before swinging out on the rope. Immediately there is shouting, and I don't even realise that I have dived over to try and haul him up. It takes all my strength, the last reserves of my energy, but we get him up. I lie there for a while, before getting up and starting back down again.
After that, we go a bit slower and safer, making it to base camp again in about a week or two. I call my home and, with loads of pride, tell them how we had finally managed it. All the fundraising and persuasive talks had not been in vein, the bartering and negotiation had worked.
My Mount Everest Experience
by Maddie Greaves, Year 8
My heart pounding vociferously. As I gaze up at this prodigious mountain overpowering me, nerves rushing through my bloodstream. My whole body shivers. I'm finally here, and it was now at this moment I finally realised how immense this mountain really was, but more how immense the challenge was I had ahead.
As I took my first footsteps, the icy snow beneath me crunched. I knew what I was about to do was a big risk, for me and my family, so determination was the key for my success.
I'm half way up and I have reached my first pain barrier, thoughts in my head telling me to turn back, this pain is not worth it, the struggle is all for nothing, I will not make it and I need to turn back. To break through this pain barrier I will need envision all my friends and family at home and think of how proud they will be of my accomplishment.
I'm now at the very top of Mount Everest, with about five steps to take until I reach the summit. I am about to experience something so incredible, I will probably never experience something like it again. Whilst taking these steps, I look around me, endless pools of white clouds and mountain tops. It's incredible to think the mountain that once towered me is now beneath my feet.
We aren't given much time at the summit so the time is very precious. I've thought about this moment so many times and what I'd do but now I am here, and this incredible view lies before me.
I want to take as much of it in as I can as it's nothing like the photos or the stories. To see this with your own eyes is breath-taking, and something I could never forget.
An Everest Story
by Eleanor Wetton, Year 8
The mountain beckoned. It towered over me, menacing but welcoming, terrifying but inviting. All of the years of wishing, hoping, dreaming dreams that seemed like nothing more that distant clouded ideas — they'd finally peaked into the sharp tower of rock before me, cloaked in the thick snow of impossibility. It was surprising really, how Everest seemed to have made itself a perfect metaphor for this moment, as if it had been waiting for me, as if it could see right through me. I shivered. It certainly seemed alive, it was constantly shifting, long fingers of ice reaching down too far and breaking free before shattering into billions of crystal shards on the cruel rock below. Its sloping banks rose, gently at the base as if to fool unknowing travellers, before sharply ascending into peaks of malicious cold that reached towards the boundaries of space and were bombarded with furious clouds of suffocating snow. Somehow, though, its charisma made it personable; it knew everyone that approached it and it drew them in with long white tendrils. This murderous slab of rock was mysterious and charming.
There was a decision to make there, because it dawned on me as I stared up in awe that I'd never recover from the icy coldness if I continued onwards towards the slope, but it wasn't a choice by any sense of the word — I'd been drawn in by the mountain and it wasn't going to release me until I'd fulfilled what I'd promised it. Everest's challenge wasn't one I was going to turn down. I knew with absolute clarity what a fool I was being, I carried on putting one foot in front of the other. Facts and figures ran through my head. 40 days. Over 250 deaths. Limited oxygen. Likelihood of frostbite. Likelihood of death.
They seemed less real than they normally did, because my new friend had snatched away my powers of analysis.
I had been foolish to ever even think about this possibility, because I could never turn down a challenge and this was a challenge like no other.
My approach was an eternity that ended swiftly. As I walked towards the mountain, I never thought that I'd really reach it: I was being lost, shielded , blanketed in the comfort of a moment, like a cold morning when the pale light is reaching through the shutters but the bed is warm enough to seem like it would never end. In this reality, though, the day was a world of icy painful numbness, while the bed was a winding gravel track that crept its way around its destination, closer, further, dancing back and forth as if to taunt. The cold and obvious truth was that it would deposit me there eventually, but I let myself suppress that thought and believe in the infinity of this lifeline.
People do stupid things for a thrill. Life is a spiralling void, and Russian roulette is irresistible.
The click of the chamber, then you live or you die, and nobody can tell you which. It's thrilling, and you can really believe for that half second of terror and anticipation that you've got some semblance of freedom. Then it's over, and the survivors pick up the gun again to dance with death while the losers just disappear. The irony is the simplicity of losing. Just a bang, then you drop from one void to the next, then you're forgotten. I dropped from the void of the road to the void of the mountain's back, and knew that I'd found the gun.
Against the monochrome shades of Everest, the base camp was bright to the point of being painful. Tents, circus tents with their rainbow of flavours, reared up from the ground in defiance, and the snow had melted around them as if shrinking away from the blinding light. There were people everywhere, and the air was thick with their chatter, as if even a moment's quiet would give the wind room to flow in and erase them. As vibrant and fierce as the camp was, Everest was pale and fiercer, and it held a power that nobody wanted or dared to acknowledge.
Eight weeks here, then the game would begin.
Mask covered faces that I didn't want or care to see were lined up before me, swathed in thick shields of fabric. It was colourful fabric — colour represented life here, because it was the only thing that seemed to have any semblance of significance against the endless white — but they and I knew that it would do nothing. Provide comfort perhaps, and fend off the weakest of Everest's physical attacks, but the mountain's true weapons could be held back by nothing: the vast walls of ice tore down the slopes mercilessly, and the cold that crawled into your mind wasn't one that would be stopped by any physical defence. Nonetheless, there was hope in the air, a faint trace of it, even if it was drowned by the thick stench of death.
I knew that we'd probably die. I think that they knew it too.
With a nod of acknowledgement — there was no need for speech here, because the wind would erase us anyway — we turned to the intricate path of frozen rock and began to ascend.
'Cold' is a thing that people fear. It goes beyond frostbite, the slowing down of the body like a robot without power, the feeling of ice tendrils reaching down your skin. It's emotionless, merciless; it's the edge, the boundary, the darkness. Everest is cold in more ways than the ice, because it reaches right through you and slowly takes you apart like you're nothing but a faintly amusing puzzle. Cold people are intimidating, because they can't be read and mystery scares people almost as much as knowledge does.
Both are alluring, which explains why we're desperate to reach the peak.
The climb isn't just a climb, because you have to let yourself adjust. We ferry ourselves backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, and even though we're just as cold, science is detached and unavoidable. You don't get used to Everest — you can't never get used to Everest — but you can learn to cling to it and avoid falling. Our lungs adapt to the oxygen, we try to adapt to the cold, and then we move upwards again, one step closer to our goal, another magazine being loaded.
I was hanging from an over crop. It was either rock or ice — who can tell? — But either way it was slippery, and I could feel my gloved fingers sliding towards the edge. The peak was above me, still towering but startlingly close, and I knew that I wanted to win, to reach out and grab it and haul myself up, below me, though , was an endless drop, a storm of hail that was waiting to pull me down onto the spears of ice or endless stretch of crushing rock. It came to me how fragile life was: we were there playing our game of adrenaline, and any moment the bullet could emerge and we could fall down into that frozen abyss.
Someone grabbed my hands and pulled me up, and there was terror in the stances of the other climbers. We looked over the edge, and they had the same realisation as I did, then we continued on up the slope. There was no time for fear on Everest, because even though it was everywhere, you had to ignore its grasp and keep dragging yourself forwards. Otherwise, it would pull you back over the edge, because weakness would always kill you in this primal world.
There was one final slope, then we were at the top. We'd made it, The Mountain was stretched out before us, and we could trace the path we'd taken — the route was carved into our memory, frozen into walls of ice and never to be removed through any amount of effort. Anything beyond Everest, however, was obscured by thick cloud. It seemed fitting that our achievement, my achievement, would be isolated, confined to the abyss that was the memory of the mountain. I wouldn't look back at it and see the world, know that I'd reached the top of it and looked over it as its ruler: I'd look back and feel the chilling icy wind, the murderous drops, and the pure cold.
A smirk touched my lips, because I may have won in the way I'd initially expected, but Everest always had another trick. I looked down the slopes and saw its next one.
It's known that most deaths happen on the way back down. The gun was reloaded and we carried on.
by Lewis Jelbert, Year 8
As I stood at the bottom of the monstrous mountain I decided to go for a nap before I set off in my adventure to the top of the hill! After my long nap, my team decided to go up The Mountain with our 1,000 chocolate crisps (yummy). As we thought about climbing up the humungous hill my fellow climbers were contemplating the steep monster of the mountain. I felt intimidated at the sight of such a monumental mountain. I was feeling small and imprisoned under the shadow of Everest. I was feeling determined as I took the first step onto the icy, cold mountain. I felt determined to conquer Everest!
I was taking the greatest risk of my life and at times I wished I hadn't risked my life, my team and my family's dignity! At times I wished I hadn't been to Mount Everest. I didn't want to be away from my children, my parents and my wife and of course my dogs. They all mean so much to me - a lot more than climbing a mountain. Think to yourself would you sacrifice your family's happiness for one trip to the top of a mountain? But I can surely tell you I wouldn't do it again. My children and my wife missed me too much and I missed them too much.
The worst thing I went through on Everest was when I was lost for two and half hours on my own on the top of the mountain trying to contact my team but no one was there. The fog was so thick I couldn't see anything. Can you imagine being on the top of the tallest mountain in the whole world — not forgetting the freezing cold!
If you are thinking of going on a trip to the top of a mountain I wouldn't recommend it! Why, you ask? There is nothing more important than family (and friends).
by Lauren Sutherill
My heart was in my mouth as I looked up at the huge mountain. I had so many mixed emotions. I was petrified to be climbing the highest mountain in the world but I was also so excited to be doing it with my team. From base camp, Everest looked like an iced shining palace, it was unreal. All around me I could hear the excitement of my fellow team mates. Although it was freezing cold, no one had a frown on their face; they were amazed. The only thing that I was really scared of was the fear of death.
I love to take risks, risks are the things that thrill you and it makes you feel so alive. I am addicted to the adrenaline rush! I live for it! That's why I am at Everest. You also feel so proud and relieved after you have done it — you will get the credit for your own actions and will get a reward for what you have done. The adrenaline inside you will come out and make you feel like you can do anything!
When I went on the expedition I missed my young, beautiful daughter. I missed watching her play in the garden until she was tired and I missed the twinkle in her eye when she would come and hug me to say goodnight. I missed seeing her look so happy. When I was away I felt like a piece of my heart was gone. I thought about her all the time.
When I got lost on Everest I felt so lonely and scared. I didn't know what I was doing or where to go. All I could see were the snowy blizzards of Everest. I could hear voices but I couldn't tell where they were coming from. Finally I could hear them getting closer. It was my team mates! They saw that I was gone and came looking for me. Then I was caught in a blizzard and I couldn't see anything but then they found me and we headed back to camp.
One night I went to check if everyone was safe and in their tents, suddenly I realised that Marcus was not in the tent. I went to look for him trying not to wake anyone up and start panicking! I went looking for him but I could not see him then I heard someone shouting "helppppp!!!!" I turned round and found Marcus lying on the ground freezing. He had a cut on his leg and I was trying to make sure he wouldn't get it infected or frost bitten, so I quickly grabbed the first aid kit and rushed back to him. He was in agony so I strapped him up and took him back to the tent. We told him that a rescue party had to come and get him; he could no longer carry on in the expedition.
Finally we reached the summit! After all that hard work and stress we got through it all and reached it. I was so proud of myself and my team mates we were all so happy and relieved that we made it the whole way up the mountain. The next challenge was how to complete the descent without getting injured because when you are that far up there is no means of rescue. But we made it and we couldn't have done it without each other.
The advice that I would give to the next climber to go to Everest is be prepared for everything and anything!
Amazing Maurice Spin-Off
by Jade Murray
The hilarious adaption of the hit play 'Amazing Maurice' fascinated all Lady Manners students when it was performed by fellow pupils.
The show-stopping performance, given by the talented youngsters, is called 'The Rescue of Ham'n'Pork' which pretty much says it all!
The evil rat catchers, Ron and Bill, have captured poor Ham'n'Pork before tying up Malicia and Keith to prevent them from helping their fellow rat friend, who is set to be at the centre of an animal baiting competition. With the help of Maurice, a talking cat, and Darktan, a 'well educated' rat, the team rescue Ham'n'Pork by tricking the dumb rat catchers into picking up a fake cage!
After the fabulous performance, it is clear that there are some future stars in the clever group of young people. By the end of the show, the whole audience were on their feet, applauding this fantastic group of students.
In Year 9 a Shakespeare play such as 'Much Ado About Nothing' is studied in detail. Responses to written texts using analytical skills will provide more focused evidence to support points. Writing skills are further developed ensuring texts are appropriate to a growing range of purposes and audiences. Towards the end of the year units are covered which will help prepare students for the GCSE syllabus. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are revisited and developed to correspond with the requirement of the new GCSE.