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English Community Corner
Introducing our new Community Corner feature to celebrate extraordinary people who do ordinary things.
This month, we are looking at articles by Megs 7G who spoke to a nurse with a wealth of experience and Maya 9H who interviewed a journalist and television presenter who can currently be seen on ITV.
An Interview with Anne Kennedy, Registered Nurse, by Megs 7G, GREEN Rep
It was the end of an era on Tuesday as Anne Kennedy, 69, enjoyed her final day as a registered nurse at Bradford Royal Infirmary for 51 years. Originally from Essex, Anne’s dream was to become a brass band player - a job, in her words, that was hard to come by for women in the 60s.So, with the music on hold, she had to go down a different route and decided to follow in the footsteps of her mother. I decided to pick her as my Golden topic because she put her life on the line for so many years of HER life when she could've have done something else. Anne’s passion to look after ill children began at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1970.Once qualified, a move up North beckoned. She became a ward sister in the children’s department at St James’s Hospital in Leeds. In 1978, she moved across to Bradford working in the now redundant Children’s Hospital in Manningham.
A stint as senior sister and then nurse manager happened when the services moved to St Luke's. Anne stayed in West Yorkshire but transferred over to Dewsbury in 1990 where she spent 18 years as general manager. At 55, she had had enough of management and wanted to become a registered nurse once again so has spent her last 14 years on the children’s ward and as a Royal College of Nursing rep. It is this part of the job that she has enjoyed the most.
Anne said: “My passion for nursing grew and grew the minute I started. It has probably got stronger and stronger. I am proud of the profession and live it. That is why the last 14 years as a registered nurse has been the best. It is also about giving something back. "I had a strange job. I provided the nurses’ response to the staff side of work. Being able to support nurses has been an honour for me. My passion has been using what I have learnt to help nurses. One of the matrons asked me to go for a coffee and then every senior nurse turned up to say goodbye, it really surprised me. That was very emotional.
Anne will now spend her time with her grandchildren and rescue dog, Staffordshire Bull Terrier Sadie, at her Cleckheaton home. "I always said I wanted a needy dog. My grandchildren didn’t want an old one. “I hope she will keep me busy and fit. I absolutely adore her. "I took one on with behaviour problems. I am going to be trained up by some lovely people who are going to show me how to manage her.
“Achieving High, Aspiring High” with Anushka Asthana, by Maya 9H
Anushka Asthana is a British journalist and television presenter. Since 2018, she has held multiple positions at The Guardian, including: the editor-at-large, the joint political editor as well as hosting the daily podcast; Today in Focus. Currently she holds the position of Deputy Political Editor at ITV as well as being a co-host on a political discussion series called Peston. Anushka was born in Lincolnshire, in 1980, and grew up in a small town in Greater Manchester. Her parents, both doctors moved to England from New Delhi, India in the 1970s. I interviewed her and focused my questions around her career in journalism and how racism might’ve affected it.
What got you interested in a career as a journalist?
“Actually, it was partly your mum. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and I thought TV production might be interesting. So, I did loads of TV stuff at university and I worked on a student paper. Your mum said to me ‘if you want to be in this field you need to get work experience at a local paper’. So, I started applying to lots of different local newspapers until I got into on and then I got into another scheme and another scheme. And the more I did it the more I really, really loved it. I wasn’t a particularly confident writer and I realised that you don’t need to be to get into journalism.”
What did it feel like growing up in Manchester in the 1980s and 90s? Did you ever experience racism while you lived there?
“I did yeah, I had people say the P-word at me and I think that being a different colour meant that you were just treated differently in all circumstances. So, I think it affected your friendships, it affected how confident you might be. I mean that said, I had really, really good friends, I had a really good school and I didn’t particularly experience racism within that. But there was definitely racism in Manchester in the 1980s and especially in the area that I lived which was called Stalybridge.”
What was your first day like when you started your job as a journalist?
“My first day at The Observer, (it wasn’t really my first day as a journalist, but it was my first day in a national newspaper where I was going to end up working) was just after the government decided to go to war with Iraq. And The Observer had written an editorial in support of the war. My first day was going through all the letters, angry letters, coming in from readers who were furious that the paper had supported the decision to go to war saying that they were never going to read The Observer again, so it was quite an interesting day to go through all those letters. It was quite an interesting time because people were so upset and angry and fired up and it was a very toxic time for the government. But it was also kind of amazing to be there as well.”
Have you ever felt in your career that career has been impacted by racial bias and that you haven’t been treated the same as your white counterparts?
“I mean, clearly there is something wrong with how easy it is for people of colour to get up through the rungs of political journalism. You know, I know this because, the other day I had a mask on, and an old colleague didn’t recognise me because I was wearing a mask. I laughed and said how can you not recognise me I’m the only Asian woman here. That is the truth, so clearly there are big barriers of entry to people of colour in this field. I mean you can just see it everywhere you go. That being said, once you get in, as a woman of colour it’s almost not gone against me because I’m one of so few people in that position. And so often when people are looking who to employ, they want to have a bit more diversity, and I’m an obvious person to go to. But I do think like why is it that it’s so hard and so different for people of colour to get in. In every workplace I’ve ever worked in, I’ve always been part of a people of colour group and you hear similar stories. They come in and they struggle to climb up through the ranks and get to the top jobs.”
Tell me about meeting Barack Obama.
“That was really cool because at the time he was a senator when I was at The Washington Post. And they said would you go and interview this kind of cool, new senator who’s really up and coming. I didn’t know much about him. And even though it was two years before he became President, at that time people didn’t know that he was running. So I went but I was obviously really excited from the way I wrote, about it which was kind of this event where people were lined up around the block to try and see him. And he was really, really charismatic and interesting and inspiring, and I wrote about it afterwards. In the same trip I got to go on Air Force 1 and George W Bush was the President at the time so I’d seen him really close up. But in what I wrote about it afterwards I was much more excited to have met Barack Obama even though I didn’t realise then what he was going to be. But there is something very exciting about American Politics and when you travel on Air Force 1 it’s really, really fun. When you come off the plane, they block the roads and you run into this motorcade of cars in a line and it’s just another level. That position is the most powerful position in the world, and you can feel that when your reporting on it.”
If you could give your 13-year-old self, one piece of advice what would it be and why?
“That’s a good question, I think it would’ve probably been to relax and not worry so much about what people think of you and just be yourself and enjoy it because it’s a really exiting time. And you’ve got the world at your feet when you’re 13 and you can do anything you want and it’s an exiting time. I think that I worried too much about what everyone else thought when really it’s just to enjoy what you’ve got.”
Is there anything that in hindsight you would have done differently?
“In hindsight, you would be done loads of things differently. I think I’ve had an amazing, incredibly fun, exiting career. There have been forks in the road where I’ve gone one way, and for many years afterwards I wondered if it was the right thing to do, like the first time I left TV and went to The Guardian but eventually these things seem to work out. Eventually I ended up presenting a podcast called Today In Focus which was one of the best things I’ve ever done so I think it was the right thing to do at that time. But these things sort if stew in your mind for many years afterwards and I might pave been more confident when I was in America when I was in my 20s. And I might’ve applied for more foreign corresponding roles, but I’ve had a very good career and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
You went to went to an all girls school like me. Do you think this had any impact on your life and career?
“I’m a mum of all boys, and I feel differently about all boys’ schools. The one thing I think about all girls’ schools is, which is quite a good thing for us, was as a woman you could do anything you want and achieve anything you want. There was no like sciences for boys and home economics for girls: not that any school would do that explicitly, but I think it can be done subtly. And in an all girls school it’s not done because everyone’s a woman and I think there was a real culture of achieving high, aspiring high and maintaining friendships which I’ve still got now. Not only with people like Edyta but also with people who I was in a classroom with when I was 4. So, I think that’s all been really amazing, I mean I do think there are disadvantages to single sex schools, but I think as a girl there’s a lot you can get from it.”
One last question, what advice would you give to girls of colour around the world after knowing what you know now?
“I think the biggest thing that’s most helpful is to help each other. And I think it’s about being a woman and a woman of colour I think there are networks in every industry that you could work in. Networks that are trying to support each other and if you go into an industry you should find other women of colour and you should join their networks. You should support each other, and you should talk to each other about the barriers that you face, and you should work out how to get over them together. And if there are things that make you feel uneasy, or out of place, or things that you think are unfair about the way your being treated, then you will have that network there for you, to help you and support you.
Year 8 Short Story Author
A huge congratulations to Anna 8H who is now a published author!!!
A short story Anna wrote last year has been printed as part of the Writing Wizardry Anthology linked below.
As a school, we are all very proud of you Anna!
8H Form Tutor
Students in Year 8 have been looking at WW1 poetry, features, authors and the impact these have had over the years on readers. Students have also looked at WW1 art and how this can also relay powerful messages. I hope you will enjoy some of the work students have prepared in this respect.
Mrs R Jolliffe
Refugee Week: Stories and Supper
Last term as part of Refugee Week (14-20 June), a group of Year 7 students took part in a fantastic writing workshop with the 'Stories & Supper' team. Students learned about migration first-hand and wrote their own poems on the theme of 'Home.'
'Stories & Supper' team were so impressed with the students at all their school visits that they chose one poem from each school to publish in book. See flyer for further details on the book launch taking place on Friday 26th November.
To purchase a copy clink on the link: www.storiesandsupper.co.uk/buy
Associate Assistant Headteacher
Shaking Up Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet
Earlier this month, the English faculty hosted a performance of 'Romeo and Juliet' by Shaking Up Shakespeare. All Year 11 students had the opportunity to watch, and participate in the performance.
A selection of 30 students were also selected by their English teachers to take part in an interactive workshop. It's always a fantastic event enjoyed by all, and the English faculty are very pleased to be able to host this event again!
Ms R Schaber
Head of English
Black History Month
After a discussion about whether it is important to study diverse literature in GCSE English, a group of Year 10 students wrote short articles to give their views on the topic—please read them below:
Should we study more diverse books? Elvin 10C
Diversity is important. The world is global and diverse books in schools would allow students to build understanding of diverse cultures and educate them, this is significant to demolish casual racism in school and wider racism in future generations. The lack of diversity means students cannot explore unfamiliar cultures through literature.
Also, people all around the globe are brought up in different circumstances and environments, this would mean that books and poetry written by people from different ethnic backgrounds would delve into different sides of society and could speak about topics relevant to them and their personal experience. This could be a good opportunity for students at youthful age to develop understanding. We need to instruct children about these things, to see change. If the school curriculums do not get varied, children will lack the understanding of the importance of embracing your culture.
Imagine a young child, in school, dreaming of becoming a writer but being put off when they see a lack of representation and therefore think that their ethnic background could prevent them from doing the things they love. This is what is happening to many students in the current generations. Not seeing people from your culture can be off-putting for many young people and in the same way we teach women in STEM and encourage girls to pick men dominated areas of study, we should also encourage children with diverse backgrounds by showing successful people from similar backgrounds.
I am sure many of my fellow students can agree on the points I have made and would be delighted to further expand on them. I know that I am not the only person that feels this way and change needs to come.
This could simply be one by changing some of the books and poetry on GCSE curriculum to be written by people from more diverse influences. Some books I have come across while research is- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. These are just a few examples of the books that could be incorporated into the syllabus.
Should we study more diverse books? Zoe 10C
Yes. Yes! We should study more diverse books. It can develop understanding and tolerance that would otherwise be more prominent in our society if we stay in a little, sheltered ‘British’ bubble that some people are arguing for.
They say that if we are in Britain, we should study British books, by British authors. Britain is however a very diverse place and many people that live in Britain are from other countries as well. I, as well as many others, feel it is important that people feel well represented, whether in the media, in toys, in books or in the curriculum. There are lot and lots of non- white authors who talk about their experiences and their lives with Black and Asian characters, yet at the moment there are only white authors in the curriculum with white characters or when there are Black characters, they are negatively represented. The world is now a more global place, so it makes sense to read books that give insight into the lives and thoughts of people from a variety of cultures and countries.
I am currently reading ‘The Color Purple’ by Alice Walker as part of the school’s Global Book Club. The book follows a young black woman named Celie living in America in the early to mid 1900’s. The book is a brutally honest tale of what life was like for Celie and how normalized abuse was all throughout her life. The book makes the reader very aware of how tough the lives of many young black women were at that time and through history. The way the book is written makes you feel very emotionally connected with the character and you feel immensely proud of how she develops strength having gone through so much.
Alice walker herself is a very inspirational woman- she is a novelist, a poet and an activist winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1982 for her novel ‘The Color Purple’, making her the first African-American woman to win the award. Studying books like hers will build understanding and tolerance in the lives of everyone.
Should we study more diverse books? Sara 10H
Diversity matters because we need to see outside our own little world to make a difference in this life on a small and large scale.
Diverse books are incredibly important, especially for us students, who are looking to see their own lives reflected in literature to know they are not alone, and to introduce new thoughts and ideas so they know there is so much more to our beautiful world. Diverse books are important for a way to walk in another's shoes, and learn about another's world and experiences.
They are a chance to see things from a perspective you may never encounter, in a place you may never go, and live in a culture you may never experience. They help cultivate compassion, awareness, and understanding. They are a safe place to learn, love, and explore.
We can find ourselves in books, learn more about ourselves, and find our better selves that we aspire to be, often reflected in a character we identify with. They teach us the kind of friends we want (and can be the link to finding them), good and bad ways of dealing with conflicts, and give us new things to think about in the way we view people and the world. Chimamanda Adiche wrote the book ‘We Should All Be Feminists’. Chimamanda Adiche's strongly believed that females we should be feminists not only as a commitment to women's liberation but also as a way of encouraging men to hold conversations with women on sexuality, appearance, roles, and success. Being a feminist entails championing for the rights of women and trying to make the world a better place for women.
Themes of ‘We Should All be Feminists’: feminism, power, gender, gender expectations, coming-of-age, money, injustice, equality, masculinity, femininity, boys and girls, society, culture, tradition, society, socialisation, roles, ambition, shame.
Year 8 Public Speaking Grand Finalist Winner
In the last half of the summer term, Year 8 students worked on a public speaking unit in English. Each student chose a topic they felt passionate about and researched, drafted, and performed a speech to their peers. Our Year 8 students produced some fantastic speeches, showing off their hard work, research, and excellent speech delivery!
The Grand Final of our Year 8 Public Speaking Competition took place on Monday 19th July. All of the judges were extremely impressed by the standard of speeches given by all six of our finalists, who showed great maturity and passion for the subjects they chose.
We are delighted to announce that Faith 8W is our Public Speaking Grand Finalist this year. Well done Faith!
Please see a copy of Faith's winning speech reprinted below:
The dangers of critical race theory and the single-story people tell
Everyone's a storyteller. I am. You are. We all are! I'm a storyteller and I'd like to tell you some stories:
Imagine you're at the back of the classroom. Oh, no! The history teacher comes in going:
‘Hey...everyone we’re going to be learning about slavery in Africa and the slave trade! Whaddya think?' Now, I bet you’re thinking why Africa? Why? Well, I'll tell you why. Because Africa is one of the continents caught up in the single story. Just the other day me and my family were at the airport when I heard:
‘We are proud of charity work done in India, Africa and other countries.’
I mean, there are others too, like, Africans are people waiting for a person with no colour to get them out of their ‘failed infrastructure’. I'm not saying that’s not true but it's the one story! What in the world happen to the others?
How come the British Empire is taught in all its glory but not also shamed for the killings and homicides it caused? how come Islamic people are related to
terrorism? And how come, in America, white liberals see black people as those who cannot use the internet, but most black teenagers own a phone! These are all examples of the single story. They dehumanize and bring down the rights as low as they can and make sure to throw the charger away! This can affect how people earn jobs and live their lives in general. Think about it. do you just buy into the
single story? I mean, everyone’s a victim... and a predator. You say Germany, you think of Hitler. Think of all those innocent Germans who weren’t born before 1939.
That’s what it does! Critical race theory - the stereotypes that ‘pressure’ people into judging others because of their skin, traditions etc. It's like when one person from the community does something wrong, the whole gathering gets the blame! Someone tell me if this is fair? No, it isn’t but people judge others by their one story but don’t have time to read the rest!
This is a quote from Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian feminist:
‘The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but incomplete. They make one story, the only story.’
Head of English
sT Stories and Supper Poetry Publication
As you may remember, a group of our Year 7 students took part in a fantastic writing workshop with the 'Stories & Supper' team in June. Students learned about migration first-hand and wrote their own poems about the theme of 'Home.'
We are delighted to announce that Flo in 7W has been selected to have their poem published by the Stories & Supper team! This is a fantastic achievement, and we are so proud of Flo's hard work. Please see Flo's poem reprinted below:
I Come From...
I come from… rumbling tubes, shivering bodies and flawed design.
The Jubilee Line is filled with unspoken words and jumbled memories.
The railroad cries echo in my head.
Strangers whisper at a glance,
frowning faces and emotions hidden behind masks.
I come from… blooming magnolia trees and blossoming flowers
ripe with colour and taste. My mother cared for it
as though it were a child. A seed into a sapling
a sapling to a mighty oak.
I come from… concrete giants, their faces turned from
the piercing sun. The cracks in the pavement gaping open and swallowing me whole.
Culture bursting from every open door, open arms
and glistening smiles.
Fireworks illuminating the dark night sky.
I come from…. a Tesco’s down the road, a school across town and
a loving family at heart. Friends who cradle me
when I’m down, make me laugh and save me
when I can’t find the light. They are that
I come from… a mother, a father, a cruel sister, a sweet cat,
a strange grandfather. A safe haven.
My home is wherever I feel safe and welcome.
Year 7 students have been focusing on poetry last term. We had an Imaginative Poetry lesson and one of the students - Anna in 7H produced this. Why not have a go yourselves? It's not as easy as you might think. You MUST follow the pattern!
Ten brave suffragettes
marching in a line,
One dropped her banner
And then there were nine
Nine brave suffragettes
chained to a gate
One got arrested
And then there were eight
Eight brave suffragettes
walking to Devon,
One fell in a pond
And then there were seven
Seven brave suffragettes
thinking up tricks
One went to give a speech
And then there were six
Six brave suffragettes
very much alive
Emily D was killed by a horse
And then there were five
Five brave suffragettes
running from the law,
One went on hunger strike
And then there were four
Four brave suffragettes
happy and free,
One was sent to jail
And then there were three
Three brave suffragettes
They left one stuck to a statue
And then where two
Two brave suffragettes
on the run,
One hurt her foot
Now there is one
One brave suffragette
Her work nearly done
Then women got the vote
And now there are none
Romeo and Juliet Wordsearch
Shakespeare's Comedy - The Tempest
Students in 8H have been working through Shakespeare's comedy, The Tempest.
They were challenged with producing a poster for present day people to encourage them to take an interest in this play. Here are some of the wonderful results:
Words supplied by the English Faculty based on the book Animal Farm.
English Faculty News, Spring 2019
This half term the English faculty have been busy celebrating a variety of events and competitions. Year 9 have been following the ‘Up for Debate’ scheme of work which develops oracy and provides thought-provoking and challenging motions for pupils to debate. In addition to interesting and informative debates within lessons, the English Faculty is also pleased to announce that the following students have made it to the Year 9 debating final at WSFG: Jessica, Rachel, Beatrix, Amanta, Saahirah, and Keira. These students debated in an assembly before half term, the motion they were proposing or opposing was: ‘This house would allow performance-enhancing drugs in sport.’
Technology is advancing so rapidly and it has changed the way we educate our young people. At WSFG this half term 7F have been trialling iPads in their English lessons and have been using them to explore non-fiction texts. They have embraced project based learning and have been busy working collaboratively to plan and create their own digital magazines! The completion deadline was Friday 15th February and Ms Simpson is looking forward to presenting the magazines to parents and carers once completed.
In addition to exciting lessons, Year 11 students had the opportunity to attend a Jane Eyre lecture delivered by Professor Dasgupta of Oxford University. The lecture explored key themes in the novel and allowed students to delve into alternative interpretations of their GCSE text. Many students felt inspired by the lecture’s content and felt encouraged at the prospect of one day attending such a prestigious university.
Furthermore, the English faculty is also pleased to celebrate our students’ success beyond the classroom. Students have been invited to submit their entries to the Young Writers competition ‘Poetry Escape’. This competition inspires students to express themselves through poetry and voice their opinions, to break down barriers, destroy stereotypes and liberate their creativity. We have seen impressive entries and hope that someone from WSFG wins the competition.
Our Young Reporters have been busy writing for the yearlong scheme and have published an array of insightful and stimulating articles about local issues.
Most recently we have seen Ying Hang discuss the minimum age for voting, Crystal considering the importance of Holocaust Memorial Day, Kitty examining fitness in the UK, Iris celebrating Walthamstow hosting some of the London Borough of Culture celebrations and Safa reviewing a West End musical!
The articles written by our students are available on This is Local London.
Up for Debate Competition 2019
The winners of the Year 9 Up for Debate Competition 2019
"This House would allow performing enhancing drugs in professional sports."
The Opposition team!
Amanta 9S, Saahirah 9F, Keira 9F
A big thank you to all of Year 9 for being the perfect audience, and well done to all of the finalists.
The English Faculty
Young Reporter Scheme
Congratulations to the following Year 10 students who have applied to the Young Reporter Scheme and have been accepted
We looking forward to reading your published articles over the next eight months - Well done!
- Read MorePublished 02/08/21
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Show Racism the Red CardPublished 02/08/21
English / Art Competition Winners
- Read More
Year 8 Public Speaking CompetitionPublished 02/08/21
Read the winning speech here!
- Read More
English OpportunitiesPublished 27/05/21
A competition, an installation and an online event
- Read More
Students succeed in poetry competitionPublished 28/04/21
Poems to be published
- Read More
More World Book Day "shelfies"Published 19/03/21
Students (and staff) share their reads ...
- Read More
Questions for Malala from English studentsPublished 02/02/21
Poems, Raps and Questions inspired by her story
- Read More
To Bake a Long Story ShortPublished 09/12/20
Year 7 students creates her own blog
- Read More
Year 8 Student wins AwardPublished 02/12/20
Year 8 student reviews "Five Go Adventuring Again"
- Read More
Students focus on World War I poetPublished 25/11/20
Year 8 write their own Haiku
- Read More
This is Local LondonPublished 10/11/20
Our Young Reporters publish their first articles.
- Read More
Celebrating Studio GhibliPublished 04/11/20
Year 10 student has her excellent article published.