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English: A Gateway to Success

14 March 2014

English is the language through which students at BISB explore the world and access all other subject areas, apart from other languages. The more competent our students are in English, the more likely they are to succeed in the wider curriculum. We do our best to fulfil our responsibility. So what has been happening recently?


If it is March, it must be Book Week! Once again this year, the English Department raised the profile of reading in the Secondary school by extending its celebration during BISB Book Week.

World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading on the first Thursday in March, in the UK and Ireland. At BISB we have pushed this further by having our own Book Week. The English Department set up a wide range of activities to stimulate interest and inspire creativity.

The corridors were coloured with posters, pictures of teachers and students reading and blurbs from readers throughout the school.

A particularly enjoyable feature of Book Week was the quiz. Students were challenged to locate 30 posters 'hidden' around the school showing either the faces of famous authors or the first lines of classic novels. Their next task was to identify, using any means they could, the authors or texts in question.

It was wonderful to see students of all year groups 'author-hunting' in the corridors of the school, united by their literary curiosity, and using library and internet resources purposefully.

Well done to those who completed the quiz successfully!

Overall Winners Emma Barbier and Melissa Radoja from Y10
Best in Y7 Rachel Han, Nina Nunezova, Linda Krnotrikova, Linda Bujnakova and Clara Kim
Best in Y8 Nadine Pheby
Best in Y9 Sarah Doering
Best in Y11 Alexander Tham, Michaela Skodna and Arianna Ribis
Best in Y12 Sofia Meszaros, Hanne Arts and Evelien Arts



Library Lunchtimes


Every lunchtime the library became a place where you could talk when we had teachers from a range of disciplines sharing a book with the wider school community. This year we had the usual quirky range of offerings:

Monday began the week of Library Lunchtimes with Mr Curran upset some in the audience with tales of bloodied scalps and hatchet attacks in West Texas circa 1835 but Mr England brought everyone back to reality with Umberto Eco who took us through time, space and into a few churches to find out, after 630 pages, just how stupid some people can be.

Tuesday saw another engaging sharing of literature when Mr Pheby wandered all over the US (and the library) on his tour of the darkened lanes of the American psyche before Ms Williams talked about the dangers of being exclusively candid, brave, intelligent, self-sacrificing or conflict-averse in an America of the future.

Wednesday was a special day as we had Hanne Arts, one of our Y12 students and a published author, sharing some of her writing. She was an inspiration and showed us all what can be done with a bit of confidence and a lot of will. This was followed bravely by Mr Young, whose wonderfully dramatic reading had the audience in stitches!

Thursday was a session of variety and contrast with Mr Pugh proving how illiterate the Queen of England was until quite recently while Ms Wartnaby took us on a tour of a magical world of words and numbers in a novel written by, can you believe it? A city planner.

Friday brought the sharing to an end when Mr Farthing, evoking Mr Micawber, turned up with a bag of books ranging from T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland to the drier wasteland of academia and bureaucracy. His reading of Paulo Coelho’s novel was warming. Ms Mably then took the floor to tell us about the dangers of sugar before Ms Arlitt countered the thesis with the joys of honey.

“I think the Library Lunchtimes were really good with teachers and some students talking about their favourite books. It is so interesting to hear what others think about books. I really enjoyed how each teacher talked and made you want to read his or her book. I was there four times and for me it was a lovely experience.” Victoria Federova Y8

Here is an excerpt from Hanne’s novella, which she hopes will be published soon:


The golden sun had started its descent behind the tall pine trees, birds chirping merrily as though this day was like all others. In the distance, an occasional twig rustled.

The man staggered out of the barn, tripping over his own feet and leaving behind a trail of bloody footprints. It seemed unnatural in this peaceful scene, the gurgling cough that left his throat and the drunken walk of the dying. His abdomen was soaked and his white shirt was stained scarlet.

I rushed up to the bleeding man in order to be of help, yet what I saw in his eyes was something I had never seen before and will never forget. It was something distant, something inhumane.

Too late did I connect the pieces, and I felt the stinging pain before I saw the shining metal in the dying daylight. The knife gashed into my chest, and I watched as the man pulled the weapon out of my quivering body, the blood of his previous victim still fresh on his clothes.