In recent years Key Stage 4 students have had opportunities to visit the RSC in Stratford to see ‘A Christmas Carol’ and to The Globe in London to watch ‘Macbeth’. We also have a visiting professional theatre group who visit annually to perform ‘An Inspector Calls’ on our very own school stage! Next year, we intend to take students to a ‘Poetry Live’ event where they will meet some of the poets they study for their GCSE Literature examination and hear representatives from AQA advising on approaches to their exams.
In Key Stage 3, groups of students have been involved in a ‘Shakespeare in Action’ project working with actors in school, and others visited Birmingham Repertory Theatre to join the audience for ‘Playboy of the Western World’. All Key Stage 3 students this year heard authors Aisha Bushby and Salvita Kalhan read from their latest works when they visited Cockshut Hill for World Book Day.
We also encourage competition; one of our students this year won the University of Birmingham/National Literacy Trust ‘Water Stories’ competition and a number of Cockshut Hill writers have been published in ‘Young Writers’ anthologies. In addition, students are encouraged to enter internal competitions, writing in various genres, and some will take part in a ‘Spelling Bee’ tournament organised by Summit Learning Trust. During the week of World Book Day, the whole school participated in a ‘masked reader’ competition, trying to work out which teachers’ voices were reading extracts from favourite stories.
There has also been a ‘Debate Club’ running after school for several years, where students have opportunities to chair formal debates and discuss current affairs and issues.