Penwortham’s Potential Performers in the Making

Just a few words to give you some insight into what’s been happening in the Drama department. The Year 11 Drama group have performed their Scripted Performance pieces for the external moderator’s visit at the end of March.

The GCSE Drama students have been rehearsing tirelessly on their monologues and duologues for their practical exam. They have already completed their devised pieces which were extremely impressive.

 Aoifa, Katie and Sonya performed monologues and duologues from ‘Five Kinds of Silence ’by Shelagh Stephenson. These pieces are harrowing explorations of a family caught in a cycle of physical and emotional abuse. Ella performed 2 moving monologues from ‘Things I Know To Be True’ by Andrew Bovell; she played the role of young adult facing two turning points in her life. Elise and Aoifa performed a duologue from ‘The Wasp’ by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm. This psychological and chilling drama is full of twists and turns as the two characters use revenge to tidy up some unfinished business from their schooldays. Olivia and Sofia performed two extracts from ‘Morning’ by Simon Stephens. This is a dark coming-of-age drama about a moment that changed the lives of their two characters. Finally, Amber performed two extracts from ‘Like A Virgin’ by Gordon Steel about a young woman, obsessed with Madonna’s music, who has to face up to terminal illness.

The girls worked incredibly hard on their pieces. Although their names may appear in lights in the future, for now, we wish them all the very best for this last unit of their practical and for the written exam in May. They are a really inspiring group who thoroughly deserve to do well. Good luck, girls.

Mr Oliver

English Department

Penwortham Poet Laureate

To commemorate the Coronation, KS3 students were asked to write a poem to mark this historic occasion.  This is something that the UK’s poet laureate, Simon Armitage does as part of his role.  A new poet laureate is chosen every ten years. Part of their job is to write poems that either mark special occasions, such as the late Queen’s funeral or King Charles’ coronation or to reflect on Britain today.  This is exactly what we asked KS3 to do – with great results!

Well done to all our Penwortham Poet Laureates!

Mrs Woodhouse

English Department


Since September, our students have been ‘rocking’ Bedrock. Bedrock is a proven way of making great gains in vocabulary acquisition, improving reading age and mastering grammar. All our KS3 students are expected to achieve 20 points on Bedrock each week. 20 points is the minimum each student should achieve to guarantee progress. However, some of our students are so determined to become masters of English that since September, they have achieved a phenomenal number of points!

Our leaderboard looks like this:

Mrs D Snowdon

Curriculum Leader for English

‘Gruesomely Gothic’ in Year 7

This term, Year 7 have been studying the gothic genre. As part of this topic, they have explored the key conventions of the gothic genre through narrative, poetry and Edward Gorey’s gothic images. Students have used this knowledge to then develop their own gothic narratives, creating the most chilling of settings.

The work featured belongs to Penny W, Haala N and Jeniya Z.

 Mrs D Snowdon

Curriculum Leader for English

Runshaw College’s Performance of “1984”

The Year 10 drama students were treated to a unique theatrical experience this week. We went to Runshaw College to watch a performance of “1984” by the college’s Professional Performance Programme students.

The play, adapted from George Orwell’s novel, was a powerful and thought-provoking production that left a lasting impression on the students. From the start, the performance had us captivated, with impressive lighting, sound effects and choreography that brought the dystopian world of “1984” to life.

The students were particularly impressed with the acting skills of the college’s Professional Performance Programme students. Their performances were nuanced and convincing, delivering the complex and thought-provoking themes of the play with precision and passion.

The trip to Runshaw College was a fantastic opportunity for the Year 10 drama students to witness professional-level theatre and gain insights into the world of theatre production. It also provided them with inspiration and motivation for their own drama studies.

The experience also highlighted the importance of exposing young people to different forms of theatre and the power of live performance to engage and challenge audiences. It is a testament to the value of partnerships between schools and colleges, which can provide students with unique educational opportunities that they might not otherwise have.

Overall, the trip was a resounding success and a memorable experience for all involved. The Year 10 drama students left Runshaw College feeling inspired and excited about the possibilities of theatre and performance, and we look forward to seeing what they will create in the future.

Miss Garlick

English Department

Year 7 Cross Curricular Work – English and History

As part of a cross-curricular project last term, students in year 7 studied the Anglo-Saxon myth Beowulf in both their English and history lessons. In English students learnt the story of Beowulf and how the Anglo-Saxon Old English differs from modern English. In history, students learnt how historians use myths to make inferences about their authors. For example, students learnt about the importance of Hereot, the mead hall in Anglo-Saxon society and attitudes towards warriors and heroes. The students enjoyed learning a crucial story in English history and produced some excellent work in the process.

Mr Herbert

Curriculum Leader for History

Greek and Norse Mythology

Last term, Year 7 explored a wide range of Greek and Norse mythology. Many students also read an abridged version of The Odyssey. Students were then tasked with writing their own myth, bringing together all they had learned. The level of intertextuality was impressive – they were a pleasure to read.

Mrs Snowdon

Curriculum Leader for English

The Myth of Poseidon and Thor (- written by Lilah in Year 7)

In the cloudy fog above Midgard, home of the humans, Loki was plotting. His thin, ghostly fingers ran along his stubby chin and his striking grass green eyes narrowed as thin as sheets of paper. He hadn’t had a cunning plan for months (actually it had been a week since he cut Sif’s hair again) so he needed one, fast and he had just found the perfect idea…

As daylight came to sunset and sunset came to moonlight, and the moon’s roads of light shot across Asgard, Loki was there. Watching. Waiting. With cunning, Loki shot across the airy corridors, so fast his feet barely touched the floor and entered the last room on the corridor.

Hurried, he burst through the door. It was a very, very peculiar room. It had no ceilings. No floors. No windows. No walls. All there was, was a chair. The Hlidskjalf. A chair that could see anything and everything.

With great satisfaction, he took a seat. Yet, what he saw though was indescribable. He saw everyone from Midgard. Everyone from Asgard. And something more. A planet. A planet called Earth, with gods and wars and humans. He zoomed in on a god in particular, Poseidon. He was the god of the Ocean. His hair was as blue as can be and his face was sweating with anger. Magically, he was creating storms too. Sea storms. Loki, delighted, rocked back on the chair and cackled, “I am the god of mischief. The only god of mischief and so is Thor but not for long!” And with that, he morphed into a fly and buzzed off.

Later that day, Loki took Thor into the Hlidskjalf room and showed him the wonderful fantasy of this god, Poseidon. As pangs of jealousy wounded Thor’s body furiously, Thor clenched his fists and punched the images that flashed through the air of this seaside superhero as they diffused into nothingness. “I cannot have this. I am the God of Thunder, the only God of Thunder. I will go down there and put a stop to this. Once and for all!” he roared. With that, he stormed out of the room and slammed the door shut, leaving it quaking on its brass hinges.

A week or so later, Thor had concocted a mischievous plan. So that he could sneak down to Earth, he gifted Odin with a holiday; a break from this mythical land. A break from Loki’s schemes. So he accepted, with great delight, and later that day set off on his journey.

Shortly after, Thor took his hammer, and set off on his own journey to Greece.

Meanwhile, Zeus (in Greece) was setting off on his own voyage. He needed to go thank the King and Queen who lived on the Brass Islands for their riches and expenses that had been gifted to him. Delighted, Zeus set off on his black prowed ship, bobbling across the ocean and of course, Poseidon held the waves still and tamed the three-headed beast Scylla, as Zeus floated by on his black prowed ship. Little did he know that those waves wouldn’t be calm much more…

Rapidly, Thor was soaring down. Crash! In the blink of an eye, Thor came crashing down to Earth, holding his hammer up high he thundered “Good day, weaklings, I am here to take my thunder back!”

“Weaklings you say, we don’t know who you even are. But if there’s one sea storm god, it’s me. So shoo, you darn peasant.” Poseidon taunted, whirling tsunamis hurtling towards Thor. Yet Thor smashed his hammer down, which raised Poseidon’s head of waves as high as the mountains. Fuming, Poseidon sent gargantuan tidal waves but Thor stayed put. While all this was happening, Zeus’ black, fast prowed ship was sent tossing through the waves.

Finally, Zeus had had enough. He majestically rose above the ocean, this giant figure, while his grey tendrils of hair darkened the sky like storm clouds. Time stood still. Not a muscle moved. Not a wave lapped the sandy shores. Poseidon and Thor shrank back terrified.

Angered, Zeus hissed “Imagine all the sailors you’ve killed you fools! As the God of Weather, I have no choice but to punish you both.” Zeus had an unnerving grin. The two gods watched in amazement; too stunned to even speak!

So after careful thinking, Zeus found them a gruelling punishment. And with the click of his fingers, he summoned all the power from the two gods and banished them to the underworld for some ‘thinking time’.

So now, Zeus (God of Weather) is the only immortal who can make sea storms. And he decided that they had to be made by a crucial temperature of the water and ocean depth. And hurricanes are made when warm moist air over water begins to rise. So when you see all those huge, guillotine blades of water cycloning around, think of Zeus, think of Thor and Poseidon, but most of all, think of the man behind it all – Loki. 

An Inspector Calls

On Wednesday, our Year 10 and 11 Drama students had the incredible opportunity to take a trip to the theatre to see Stephen Daldry’s multi award-winning National Theatre production of ‘An Inspector Calls’. This play, written by J.B. Priestley in 1945, tells the story of the Birling family, who are visited by a mysterious inspector who is investigating the death of a young girl.

As soon as we arrived at the theatre, we were struck by the incredible, albeit unusual, set design. The acting was brilliant, with each member of the cast bringing their own unique interpretation to their characters.

One of the most striking things about this production was the way it dealt with themes of social responsibility and class division. The inspector’s investigation forces the Birling family to confront the ways in which their actions have contributed to the tragic death of the young girl, and raises important questions about the role that each of us plays in shaping society. As a group, we discussed these themes and the ways in which they resonate with issues that we see in the world today.

Overall, the experience of seeing this production was brilliant for both students and staff. It will definitely help contribute towards our study of the play.

Miss Garlick

English & Drama Department

Reading Extravaganza

As you will be aware, reading is the gateway to learning. We are developing a real culture of reading within PGHS. It is visible as you walk through the corridors and through social spaces in school as so many of our students are immersed in books. Reading is at the forefront of our curriculum in English and is a key component of every lesson. Last year KS3 read 45 books in the classroom, totalling 1,609,000 words. This means 89,389 words per class! These books are all read aloud and so on average, through class readers alone, every student was exposed to nearly 90,000 words through reading for pleasure. This is before any reading that is done as part of the planned curriculum.

Mrs Deborah Snowdon

Curriculum Leader for English


On a freezing cold morning of Friday 9th December, all our Year 9s and Year 10s assembled in the hall to watch Runshaw College drama students perform their alternative version of Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’. This text is studied at the end of Year 9 in the English department so for Year 10, it was reflecting on the play and for Year 9, it was anticipating studying the play.

The subtle change from ‘shrew’ to ‘chav’ was the focus of the drama students from Runshaw. The company of 12 staged a lively, comical and unusual version of the play, packed into 40 minutes. Katherina, the ‘untameable’ shrew was a Liverpudlian chav feared by all men and women. Her poor sister, Bianca, is unable to marry Lucentio until someone agrees to marry Katherina first. The brave man to try to tame the formidable shrew is Petruccio.

The play was the perfect vehicle for the Runshaw drama students to show their versatility: through a mixture of physical theatre, slapstick comedy and high energy, they presented an alternative version of Shakespeare’s play using a clever blend of stereotyping and originality. Their soundtrack from Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’ to Coolio’s ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ helped drive the themes home to the audience.

It was a memorable and enjoyable production which put Runshaw’s individual twist on Shakespeare’s masterpiece. Our students thoroughly enjoyed the production. The applause at the end bore testimony to this.

Thank you to Runshaw drama students. We look forward to hosting their new production next year.

Mr Oliver,

English Department

  • Arts Council England - Artsmark Gold
  • Lancashire Socio-economic Equality Badge
  • School Mental Health Award
  • Ofsted - Outstanding Provider
  • Arts Council England - Artsmark Gold
  • Lancashire Socio-economic Equality Badge
  • School Mental Health Award
  • Ofsted - Outstanding Provider