English is a core subject at Pembroke and at all year levels, English courses have literature at their heart. Students explore a diverse range of texts and focus on the development of skills, strategies and knowledge to understand how language operates to facilitate effective communication. This is achieved through reading, writing, viewing, composing, listening and speaking for different audiences and purposes. At all year levels, ICT is an integral part of our practice and assessment method: students are exposed to a wide range of print, visual and multi-modal texts and are given opportunities to explore, analyse and compose using these modes in completing assessment tasks.
The Australian Curriculum informs the syllabus across the School embedding the three strands, Language, Literature and Literacy, to provide a challenging, engaging and interesting curriculum in the study of language and literature. Wider, independent reading is most enthusiastically undertaken by students, and is broadly encouraged by teachers to supplement classroom selections. Excellent library collections, fiction and non-fiction, are available to students on all campuses.
At Middle School, all classes are of mixed ability, with a smaller class available for students with specific learning needs. This continues at senior level in SACE Stage 1, and in Semester 2, students select from one of three courses: Essential English, English or Literature. At SACE Stage 2, students may select from either English or English Literary Studies. In the International Baccalaureate Diploma, English is a compulsory subject and is available at Standard and Higher levels. There are two courses: English A: Literature, and English A: Language and Literature.
Various modes of continuous assessment, including oral, written and multimodal, occur at all year levels in the Middle School, with teachers preparing formative and summative tasks as appropriate. In addition, literary examinations in English are included from Year 8, ensuring all students are well-prepared across a range of assessment methods for all courses available at senior level.
To complement the texts studied in class, students at all levels have opportunities to experience a wide range of artistic and cultural activities including visiting writers, poets, live theatre performances, and writing workshops. Students also attend the Meet the Writers Festival and participate in many writing competitions at international, national, local and school-based levels. The International Baccalaureate students are subscribers to the local State Theatre Company, attending many plays throughout the year. Not only does this provide rich preparation for their final examination but provokes much interesting discussion in English, Theory of Knowledge and other subjects.
English as an Additional Language is offered throughout Middle and Senior Schools as an appropriate course for students for whom English is a second or additional language. Methodology reflects the approaches taken in the foreign language classroom and students build their confidence and skills in using the language, essentially in an immersion-style program. Class groups are usually small and specialist teachers provide excellent support for these language students.