The English Faculty at Tavistock College firmly believes that reading is the key to success – not just in English but in all subjects. In addition to the novels, drama and poetry that students will study throughout Years 7-13, we encourage our pupils to see the significant benefits that reading for pleasure can bring. We know that better readers also become better writers, as well as being more accurate in the technical skills of spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Our programmes of learning are designed to be both engaging and creative, whilst simultaneously preparing pupils for the increasing challenge of the new Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 specifications. At Key Stage 3, we have developed a thematic approach to learning, which places an increasing emphasis on technical accuracy and the need for greater depth and breadth of exposure to texts, including ‘classic’ literature from the 19th and 20th Century. Recognition is also give to the fact that English is not only about creative writing or the study of seminal texts. We also appreciate the need to prepare learners for the world of work as well as further study. With this in mind we also ensure our programmes provide the opportunity for real world learning, allowing English to be not just a vital academic subject but a route into a greater understanding the wider world.
English & Media Blog
Tavistock College students win Carnegie Shadowing Award
At Eggbuckland School on Monday June 22nd, Tavistock College students won the Carnegie Shadowing event. Students have been meeting weekly for a few months to read and discuss all the shortlisted books for the national Carnegie Awards.
Each participating school was then allocated a book to present, in any way they chose. The presentation had to include not more than 5 students and had to last not more than 8 minutes. Tavistock were allocated the powerful and moving novel, “Buffalo Soldier” by Tanya Landman which is set in America at the end of the Civil War. A slave girl, Charley is the main character and her story of survival, through some desperate years, incorporates the desperate stories of the Native Americans, the settlers and the Yankee Cavalry.
The students presented the emotion of the novel through music and drama. They researched the songs and music of the time and of the different groups of people fighting for freedom. Issy Prout’s beautiful and soulful singing captured the misery of slavery; Zara Richards conveyed the idealism of the settlers with her flute music; Thanae Garland Tsirka represented the harrowing tale of the native Americans with her drumming, based on the earliest recorded drumming of Sioux warriors; Matt Boyle conveyed the aggression of the Yankee Army with his loud and expert snare drumming and Emily Handel, who had written a lot of the script, kept the whole thing together as a narrator.
The piece was powerful…it sent shivers down the spine and the group were worthy winners. They worked hard to research the era and to present the harrowing conflict between all the different factions. The audience were very aware of the question, which was left unanswered, “what is freedom?”
Tavistock Poetry Festival : “From the Tamar to the Tavy a flow of words from children.”
A recent Tavistock poetry festival saw 11 local schools and the community draw together to write and celebrate poetry and was a resounding success.
Poets: Roselle Angwin, Vanessa Kisuule, Bob Liu- Devreux, Phil Bowen and Celia Warren worked in schools with children from 4 to 18. Much of the writing was centred on the theme of “our local area” and the photographs of local photographers, including Gary King from Tavistock College, were instrumental is sparking inspiration.
Vanessa Kisuule, from a group known as “Slambassadors”, worked with older students at the College and her trusting, sensitive way of working allowed students to explore their feelings and compare how others perceive them to their own sense of self. These students were encouraged to perform their poetry and willingly share their thoughts. A beautiful example of the poetry which came from these sessions was written by Emily Handel, age 12 from Tavistock College:
People assume that if you don’t speak up,
You have nothing to say.
Because your voice isn’t the loudest,
Your thoughts aren’t the strongest.
But we live in a world where we all speak at once
And when everyone’s shouting
You can’t hear what’s said.
Maybe, just maybe,
People are quiet because they’re biding their time,
Waiting for a break in the endless roar.
So when they do speak they’re quiet but everyone hears.
They may not be shouting,
But the meaning is clear.
The Poetry Slam which was held at the end of the week saw a team from each school perform an original piece of poetry. The trophy for first place was won by Tavistock Community Primary School with their poem about the area in which we live. It was delivered with much animation and movement :
The Tavy to the Tamar
Francis Drake cries, ‘Spanish Armada!’
Dartmoor Prison says, ‘Let me out!’
The market shouts, ‘Oranges for sale!’
Buckland Abbey says ‘Hey, have a walkabout!’
The White Lady murmurs, ‘I’m drowning!’
The Cauldron cries deep and dark.
‘Step on me,’ says the viaduct.
The meadows beckons ‘Come to my park!’
The Gem Bridge says ‘Walk across!’
Crebers says, ‘Smell my coffee!’
The Town Hall sings, ‘Come and see a play!’
I Love Candy says, ‘Have some toffee!’
The class says, ‘Good Morning!’
The teacher says, ‘Good Night!’
‘Come and stay,’ says The Bedford
And Goose fair says, “See the lights!”
Tamar bridge says “Welcome to Cornwall!”
Morwellham Quay says “Come and join the past!”
The Plymouth Hoe says “Sail across me!”
The sea says “You’re free at last!”
The Key Stage 3 competition was won by Emily Frost and Katie Gray.
The Saturday saw a splendid and vibrant event in the Town hall with every school performing their work and displays of poetry and photographs. Tors, rivers, scrolls and postcards from Tavistock were beautifully displayed and conveyed in poetry. The school winning the “Build a Poem” competition, judged by a public vote, was St Peters Primary School and the beautiful photograph of Cox Tor at sunset, taken by Gary King and displayed in the Town Library all week, was won by Samuel Beard.
Sky that’s red and fire that burns,
Sunlight cascading over bracken and ferns
Moorland turned crimson with dying light,
Tors growing dark with the coming of night
A moment of beauty,
Seen from a hilltop
Fields flowing and rolling,
Ploughed with farmers’ new crop
Trees framed with sunlight,
Skeletal and thin
Night time creeps in
This landscape that’s lit,
By sunlight infernal
Shall remain untouched,
By Samuel William McGoldrick Beard
All the participating schools are keen to hold another Festival next year and again invite the community to get involved and be creative!