The Shakespeare Academy was inaugurated in 2016 when, as part of the Shakespeare400 celebrations, we conducted a series of in-school workshops concentrating on GCSE set texts and a creative writing session responding to Shakespeare’s poetry. This has become an annual event, with year-11 revision workshops held at King’s in the autumn, 2-day year-10 workshops held at King’s in the spring, and year-9 in-school workshops during the summer term.
The project is overseen by Dr Hannah Crawforth and managed by Dr Gemma Miller. MA and PhD students assist with delivering the workshops. We also collaborate with the Globe and the British Library. We currently have good working relationships with 10 schools, and we aim to expand our reach over the next academic year. In 2017/18 alone the English Department worked with over 400 students.
Year 11 Seminar Series for school consortia
This exciting project was targeted specifically at students from under-represented groups who might be considering Arts and Humanities A Level subjects and degrees, and in particular those interested in English Literature or other essay-based subjects.
The key aim of these seminar series was to introduce these students to challenging material outside their GCSE or A Level programmes, to give them confidence in discussing complex issues and to shed light on what doing an English or an Arts subject at high level might involve and where it might lead.
Coordinated by Head of Department Professor Janet Floyd, the King's English Department has been involved in three separate series, each taking place at different school consortia:
The Hackney Extension project at B Six College, which involved Film and History in a series on London (Semester One);
The ARK academy chain, where a Liberal Arts programme included cultural studies material taught by English colleagues (Semester One);
The Harris Academy Chain, where English was one of two strands (along with History) which included Film alongside English Literature (Semester Two).
Aimed at sixth-form students and their teachers, this project looked to explore poetry with a broad range of students and to share the English Department's expertise and ideas across schools in our local area.
In the 2018/19 academic year, the Department of English established a new initiative around the theme ‘Sonnets in Schools’. From January '19 until the summer, poetry specialists from our staff will be making visits to various partaking schools, with each school involved visited four times.
This will be followed by a one-day conference in June '19 for these sixth-form students here at King’s, where different academics will run sessions, discussions and activities. There will also be a session run by our own undergraduate students on their experience of studying English at university.
Finally, there will be a teacher event where colleagues here and from schools will be discussing our shared and different teaching practice around the teaching of poetry.
This project is being organised by Dr Daniel Smith in the Department of English.