Y9 – 26/02/18

Due: 05/03 (Issued: 26/02)

Time: Roughly 45 minutes (spread over the week)

Title: Quotation revision for AP2

Familiarise yourself with the method of memorisation:

Use it to begin the periodic memorisation of both Macbeth quotations:

Unsure of what happens in the play? This great comic will guide you through the drama in humorous time:


Year 8 and 9 – 19/06/17

Due: 26/06 (Issued: 19/06)

Title: Witchcraft

  1. Read the article (below)
  2. Answer the 14 questions (in full sentences)


  1. Make a list of any words you are unfamiliar with.
  2. Who was considered the most notorious “witch-hunter of all time”?
  3. When did the European witch craze spread?
  4. Whose “bloody head” was seen “dancing in the air”?
  5. What was the “dramatic event [which] deepened James’s growing obsession with magic and witchcraft”?
  6. Under what circumstances did the suspects from North Berwick confess to being witches and responsible for “raising a storm to destroy James and his new bride”?
  7. What could be suggested about the use of torture in obtaining confessions?
  8. What was the name of James’ treatise on witchcraft?
  9. What was its purpose?
  10. What “became one of the most valuable means by which James and his government could manipulate public opinion”?
  11. What did “the Witchcraft Act of 1604” stipulate?
  12. Which line from Macbeth “alluded to James’s near-death experience in 1589”?
  13. What triple shows the “stereotypical view of a witch”?
  14. Why might the fear of witchcraft have become a fear of “a conspiracy against the state”?


BBC History Magazine                                                                Monday 18th April 2016

Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the King James’s witch hunts, by Tracy Borman

The witch hunts that swept across Europe between 1450 and 1750 are one of the most controversial and terrifying phenomena in history, resulting in the trial of around 100,000 people (most of them women), a little under half of whom were put to death. Here, Tracy Borman explores the most notorious royal witch-hunter of all time: James VI and I…

A holocaust of their time, historians have long attempted to explain why and how the European witch craze that spread around Europe between the 15th and 18th century took such rapid and enduring hold.

One of the most active centres of witch-hunting was Scotland, where up to 4,000 people were put to the flames. This was striking for such a small country, and was more than double the execution rate in England. The ferocity of the Scottish persecutions can be attributed to royal witch-hunter James VI and I.

James’s obsession with witchcraft can be traced back to his childhood. The violent death of his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, seems to have inspired a dark fascination with magic. “His Highness told me her death was visible in Scotland before it did really happen,” related Sir John Harington many years later, being, as he said, “spoken of in secret by those whose power of sight presented to them a bloody head dancing in the air”.

Two years after Mary’s execution, another dramatic event deepened James’s growing obsession with magic and witchcraft. In 1589 he was betrothed to Anne of Denmark, but she almost lost her life in a violent tempest when she set sail across the North Sea to meet her new husband. In an uncharacteristic show of chivalry, James resolved to sail across to Denmark and collect her in person. But on their return voyage the royal fleet was battered by more storms and one of the ships was lost. James immediately placed the blame on witches, claiming that they must have cast evil spells upon his fleet.

As soon as he reached Scottish shores, James ordered a witch-hunt on a scale never seen before. No fewer than 70 suspects were rounded up in the coastal Scottish town of North Berwick on suspicion of raising a storm to destroy James and his new bride. Most of the suspects soon confessed – under torture – to concocting a host of bizarre and gruesome spells and rituals in order to whip up the storm… whereupon “there did arise such a tempest in the sea, as a greater hath not been seen”. On another occasion, Satan himself was said to have appeared to the witches and “promised to raise a mist, and cast the king into England, for which purpose he threw into the sea a thing like a foot-ball”. They were swiftly convicted and put to death.

As soon as the North Berwick trials had ended, James commissioned Newes from Scotland, a pamphlet that relayed the whole saga in scandalised language aimed at intensifying popular fear of witches. But he did not stop there. With all the passion of a religious zealot, James set about convincing his subjects of the evil that lay in their midst. In 1597 James became the only monarch in history to publish a treatise on witchcraft: Daemonologie (literally, ‘the science of demons’) was the result of painstaking and meticulous work on James’s part and must have taken years to complete. As well as to convince the doubters of the existence of witchcraft, the purpose of Daemonologie was to inspire those who persecuted witches with new vigour and determination. James described witchcraft as “high treason against God”, which meant that all manner of horrors were justified in wringing confessions from the accused.

The fact that the treatise had been written by a king made it enormously influential. It is no coincidence that cases of witchcraft multiplied at an alarming rate in his kingdom thereafter.

Upon the death of Elizabeth I in March 1603 with no direct heirs, her throne passed to James. When he travelled south to take ownership of his new kingdom, the king of Scots was dismayed to find that his English subjects were far from sharing his witch-hunting fervour. By the end of Elizabeth’s reign, the number of witchcraft trials and executions in England had declined significantly. There was also a growing scepticism about the existence of witches.

This was anathema to the new king, who was determined to drown out all dissenting voices within his new kingdom. During the first year of his reign, Daemonologie was reprinted twice. This prompted a rash of similar pamphlets aimed at whipping up popular fear of witches. As part of a state-controlled printing industry, they became one of the most valuable means by which James and his government could manipulate public opinion.

But these publications were just the tip of the iceberg as far as James’s crusade against witches was concerned. In his view, the English law was by no means strict enough in prosecuting the crime. Barely a year after his accession, James therefore ordered that the Elizabethan statute on witchcraft be replaced by a much harsher version. Until now, those who practised witchcraft were severely punished only if they were found to have committed murder or other injuries through their devilish arts. However, James wanted the practice of any form of magic to be severely punished, regardless of whether it had caused harm to others.

The Witchcraft Act of 1604 made hanging mandatory for a first offence of witchcraft, even if the accused had not committed murder. And if the suspected witch was found to have the devil’s mark on their body, this was enough to condemn them to death. The act stipulated: “If any person or persons… shall use practise or exercise any invocation or conjuration of any evil or wicked spirit, or shall consult, covenant with, entertain, employ, feed, or reward any evil and wicked spirit to or for any intent or purpose… [they] shall suffer pains of death”.

James’s determination to stamp out witchcraft in all forms was brutally apparent: “All manner of practise, use or exercise of witchcraft, enchantment, charm or sorcery should be from henceforth utterly avoided, abolished, and taken away.”

James’s new subjects were eager to curry favour with him by echoing his hatred of witches. In the same year that the new Witchcraft Act was passed, Christopher Marlowe’s dark morality play, The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, was published… But the most famous of all the literary works inspired by witchcraft, winning widespread acclaim in its day and ever since, was Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Deliberately short in length (James was known to have little patience for sitting through long plays), it is significant that the occasion of its inaugural performance was a visit by Queen Anne’s brother, the king of Denmark, in 1606, given that it was James’s voyage to his wife’s native land that had prompted his obsession with witchcraft.

Shakespeare wove in several references to this voyage in the play, such as when the First Witch claims that she set sail in a sieve, just as one of the North Berwick witches was accused of doing. The line “Though his bark cannot be lost/Yet it shall be tempest-tossed” almost certainly alluded to James’s near-death experience in 1589.

All the leaders of the English judiciary would have been present at this important state occasion, and this was exactly the sort of play that would inspire within them the same witch-hunting fervour as their royal master. The drama centred around Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, who murdered King Duncan to seize the throne of Scotland after three witches prophesied Macbeth’s succession.

Whether the witches thus caused the overthrow of the natural succession or merely brought out Macbeth’s inherent evil was left to the audience’s imagination. Either way, the play both confirmed and introduced new elements to the stereotypical view of a witch, with her spells, familiars and inherent evil. It also spawned two of the most-quoted lines in English literary history:

“Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.”

Macbeth instilled fear among those watching that witchcraft was not just a satanic confederacy, but a conspiracy against the state. The latter notion was all too readily accepted in England at this time because the play was performed just a few months after one of the most notorious conspiracies in history: the gunpowder plot.

Within the space of three short years, England had been catapulted from the ‘golden age’ of the Virgin Queen into one of the darkest and most dangerous periods of its history.

Y9 & Y10 – 25/05/17

Due: 05/06 (Y9) & 07/05 (Y10) (Issued: 25/05)

Title: Personal Response


  • Read through the following literary quotations and decide on 3 that you wish to talk about
  • In your book, write down the quotation, and…
  • Identify (briefly) what you think the writer is trying to say, before…
  • Reacting to it. What does it make you FEEL, IMAGINE, and/or THINK? – explore your emotions, imagination and intellectual reactions. Why do you think that you have reacted as you have? What might they mean to you on a personal level? Why did you pick them over the others? How might they inform your understanding of life and of others? Why are they important and sacred life philosophies?
  1. “Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
    ― Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  2. “Usually we walk around constantly believing ourselves. “I’m okay” we say. “I’m alright”. But sometimes the truth arrives on you and you can’t get it off. That’s when you realise that sometimes it isn’t even an answer–it’s a question. Even now, I wonder how much of my life is convinced.”
    ― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
  3. “…I think we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.”
    ― Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem
  4. “To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.”
    — Yann Martel, Life of Pi
  5. “She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”
    —J. D. Salinger, “A Girl I Knew”
  6. “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart; I am, I am, I am.”
    —Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
  7. “Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.”
    —Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed
  8. “Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
    —Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  9. “What are men to rocks and mountains?”
    —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  10. “Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.”
    —Nicole Krauss, The History of Love
  11. “I have spread my dreams under your feet; / Tread softly because you tread on my dreams”
    —W. B. Yeats, “Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven”
  12. “I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”
    —Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
  13. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
    –F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  14. “The seeds of life— fiery is their force, divine their birth, but they are weighed down by the bodies’ ills or dulled by earthly limbs and flesh that’s born for death.”
    — Virgil, The Aeneid: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
  15. “I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on the water.”
    — Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Y8, 9 & 10 – 19/05/17

Due: 23/05 (Y9 & Y10) 24/05 (Y8) (Issued: 19/05)

Title: Paper One

Section A

Answer all questions in this section.

You are advised to spend about 45 minutes on this section.

  1. Read again lines 1-4.

List four things from this part of the source about the chains.                     (4 marks)


  1. Look in detail at lines 11-20 of the source

How does the writer use language here to describe the Spine Adept?

You could include the writer’s choice of:

  • Words and phrases
  • Language features and techniques
  • Sentence forms (8 marks)


  1. You now need to think about the whole of the source.

How has the writer structured the text to interest you as a reader?

You could write about:

  • what the writer focuses your attention on at the beginning
  • how and why the writer changes this focus as the source develops
  • any other structural features that interest you. (8 marks)


  1. Focus this part of your answer on the first part of the source, from line 23 to line 36.

A student, having read this section of the text, said “This part of the text, where Scrimlock observes the Spine, reveals his worry and concern”.

To what extent do you agree?

In your response, you could:

  • Consider your own impressions of Scrimlock’s reaction in these lines
  • Evaluate how the writer reveals Scrimlock’s anxieties
  • Support your opinions with quotations from the text.                  (20 marks)


Scar Night (by Alan Campbell)

The city of Deepgate hangs suspended by giant chains over a seemingly bottomless abyss where the dread god Ulcis, ‘hoarder of souls’, is said to reside. Above the unfathomable darkness, it is Scar Night and the rogue angel, Carnival, is seeking souls. Except, tonight, the Church’s Assassins guild has finally trapped her.

Chains snarled the courtyard behind the derelict cannon foundry in Applecross: spears of chain radiating at every angle, secured into walls with rusted hooks and pins, and knitted together like a madwoman’s puzzle. In the centre, Barraby’s watchtower stood ensnared. Smoke unfurled from its ruined summit and blew west across the city under a million winter stars.

Huffing and gasping, Presbyter Scrimlock climbed through the chains. His lantern swung, knocked against links and welds and God knows what, threw shadows like lattices of cracks across the gleaming cobbles. When he looked up, he saw squares and triangles full of stars. His sandals slipped as though on melted glass. The chains, where he touched them, were wet. And when he finally reached the Spine Adept waiting by the watchtower door he saw why.

‘Blood,’ the Presbyter whispered, horrified. He rubbed feverishly at his cassock, but the gore would not shift.

The Spine Adept, skin stretched so tight over his muscles he seemed cadaverous, turned lifeless eyes on the priest. ‘From the dead,’ he explained. ‘She ejects them from the tower. Will not suffer them there inside with her.’ He tilted his head to one side.

Below the chains numerous Spine bodies lay in a shapeless mound, their leather armour glistening like venom.

‘Ulcis have mercy,’ Scrimlock said. ‘How many has she killed?’


Scrimlock drew a breath. The night tasted dank and rusty, like the air in a dungeon. ‘You’re making it worse,’ he complained. ‘Can’t you see that? You’re feeding her fury.’

‘We have injured her,’ the Adept said. His expression remained unreadable, but he pressed a pale hand against the watchtower door brace, as if to reinforce it.

‘What?’ The Presbyter’s heart leapt. ‘You’ve injured her? That’s . . . How could you possibly . . .’

‘She heals quickly.’ The Adept looked up. ‘Now we must hurry.’

Scrimlock followed the man’s gaze, and for a moment wondered what he was looking at. Then he spotted them: silhouettes against the glittering night, lean figures scaling the chains, moving quickly and silently to the watchtower’s single window. More Spine than Scrimlock had ever seen together. There had to be fifty, sixty. How was it possible he’d failed to notice them before?

‘Every single Adept answered the summons.’

‘All of them?’ Scrimlock hissed, lowering his voice. ‘Insanity! If she escapes . . .’ He wrung his hands. The Church could not afford to lose so many of its assassins.

‘She cannot escape. The window is too narrow for her wings; the roof is sealed, the door barricaded.’

Scrimlock glanced at the watchtower door. The iron brace looked solid enough to thwart an army. That still did not give him peace of mind. He looked for reassurance in the Adept’s eyes, but of course there was nothing there: only a profound emptiness the priest felt in his marrow. Could they have injured her? And what would be the cost to the Church? What revenge would she seek? God help him, this was too much.

‘I will not sanction this,’ he protested. He waved a hand at the heap of dead bodies, at the blood still leaking onto the cobbles. ‘Ulcis will not accept these opened corpses; every one of them is damned.

Y9 – 11/05/17

Due: 15/05 (Set: 11/05)

Title: Plan your article

Time: 20-25 minutes

Familiarise yourself with all that follows and develop and plan the following: i) argument, ii) content, iii) structure and chronology, iv) effective rhetorical devices for an argument of your own choosing



The appropriate use of lexical and grammatical features, for a given context; dependent upon audience (who), topic (what), purpose (why) and location (where).

  • Give/respond to information;
  • Cite evidence and use quotations;
  • Include rhetorical devices;
  • Select, organise and emphasise facts, ideas and key points.



Writing types and purposes provide you the opportunity to communicate your personal view(s).

Write to persuade
Persuade the reader of the statement that…


Article (newspaper – broadsheet/tabloid, magazine, web log)

Basic marks:
i) Use of a simple title/headline,
ii) paragraphs.

Detailed marks:
Use of i) a clear/apt/original headline/title, ii) a strapline (caption), iii) subheadings, iv) introductory (overview) paragraph, v) effectively/fluently sequenced paragraphs.


Proposed Structure:


Paragraph One: Respond to the statement.

  • What is your initial reaction to the statement?
  • Why do you think what you do?
  • Remember: Keep to one clear viewpoint.

Paragraph Two: Uses statistics to support your response.

  • Use the results of an imagined survey to support your ideas.
  • Consider a percentage of people affected by the statement.
  • Remember: Keep the numbers realistic so that your work is sophisticated.

Paragraph Three: Use an anecdote to make your response more personal.

  • Tell the story of someone that has been affected in some way by the focus of your statement.
  • Consider the positive/negative impacts on their life.

Paragraph Four: Use an expert to make your response credible.

  • Use your expert to give clear reasons for your viewpoint.
  • Who do they work for?
  • What research have they conducted?
  • What observations have they made?

Aiming for the top?

– Counterpoints
– A one word sentence
– A one word or one sentence paragraph
– Additional statistics/experts/anecdotes.

Y9 – 08/05/17

Due: 11/05 (Set: 08/05)

Title: Mockingjay – P1Q3

Time allocation: 20-25 minutes

Task: Read the extract and answer Paper 1 Questions 3 (8 marks)

Paper 1 Question 3

You now need to think about the whole of the Source.

This text is the opening of a novel.

How is the text structured to interest you as a reader?

You could write about:

  • what the writer focuses your attention on at the beginning
  • how and why the writer changes this focus as the Source develops
  • any other structural features that interest you.

[8 marks]

Extract – Mockingjay – Susanne Collins

My name is Katniss Everdeen. I am seventeen years old. My home is District 12. I was in the Hunger Games. I escaped. The Capitol hates me. Peeta was taken prisoner. He is thought to be dead. Most likely he is dead. It is probably best if he is dead….

“Katniss. Should I come down?” My best friend Gale’s voice reaches me through the headset the rebels insisted I wear. He’s up in a hovercraft, watching me carefully, and ready to swoop in if anything goes amiss. I realize I’m crouched down now, elbows on my thighs, my head braced between my hands. I must look on the verge of some kind of breakdown. This won’t do. Not when they’re finally weaning me off the medication.

I straighten up and wave his offer away. “No. I’m fine.” To reinforce this, I begin to move away from my old house and in toward the town. Gale asked to be dropped off in 12 with me, but he didn’t force the issue when I refused his company. He understands I don’t want anyone with me today. Not even him. Some walks you have to take alone.

The summer’s been scorching hot and dry as a bone. There’s been next to no rain to disturb the piles of ash left by the attack. They shift here and there, in reaction to my footsteps. No breeze to scatter them. I keep my eyes on what I remember as the road, because when I first landed in the Meadow, I wasn’t careful and I walked right into a rock. Only it wasn’t a rock–it was someone’s skull. It rolled over and over and landed face up, and for a long time I couldn’t stop looking at the teeth, wondering whose they were, thinking of how mine would probably look the same way under similar circumstances.

I stick to the road out of habit, but it’s a bad choice, because it’s full of the remains of those who tried to flee. Some were incinerated entirely. But others, probably overcome with smoke, escaped the worst of the flames and now lie reeking in various states of decomposition, carrion for scavengers, blanketed by flies. I killed you, I think as I pass a pile. And you. And you.

Because I did. It was my arrow, aimed at the chink in the force field surrounding the arena, that brought on this firestorm of retribution. That sent the whole country of Panem into chaos.

In my head I hear President Snow’s words, spoken the morning I was to begin the Victory Tour. “Katniss Everdeen, the girl who was on fire, you have provided a spark that, left unattended, may grow to an inferno that destroys Panem.” It turns out he wasn’t exaggerating or simply trying to scare me. He was, perhaps, genuinely attempting to enlist my help. But I had already set something in motion that I had no ability to control.

Burning. Still burning, I think numbly. The fires at the coal mines belch black smoke in the distance. There’s no one left to care, though. More than ninety percent of the district’s population is dead. The remaining eight hundred or so are refugees in District 13–which, as far as I’m concerned, is the same thing as being homeless forever.


Points of Answer

Focus: Perspective and subject of paragraph

Tone: Positive? Negative? Tense? Humorous? Happy? Creepy? Mysterious?

Questions: What questions does the reader have after reading this section?

Answers: has the reader answered any questions from the previous section(s)?

Effect: How has this section made the reader feel?

Katniss is talking to the reader; she has escaped ‘HG’ and thinks Peeta is dead: Peeta was taken prisoner. He is thought to be dead.”

Tone? Negative – Katniss wants to be alone and thinks Peeta is dead
Questions? Why does Katniss want to be alone today especially?
Answers? We aren’t yet sure
Effect: Reader feels tense and curious

Katniss reflects on District 13 (her neighbouring district)’s poverty: The remaining eight hundred or so are refugees in District 13–which, as far as I’m concerned, is the same thing as being homeless forever.”

Tone? Creepy tone – as there are dead bodies littering the pathway
Questions? Why are people dead?
Answers? We think it may have something to do with Katniss
Effect: We are worried, tense, frightened

Katniss walks down a road covered in dead bodies: I stick to the road out of habit, but it’s a bad choice, because it’s full of the remains of those who tried to flee.”

Tone? Depressing / sad – because Katniss feels responsible for many deaths
Questions? Why did Katniss have to ‘set off a spark’ that lead to revolution?
Answers? We are not sure at this point
Effect: The reader is left feeling on edge – the future seems bleak for Katniss and her society

Y9 – 03/05/17

Due: 05/05 (Set: 03/05)

Title: Baton Rouge – Paper 1 Question 5


You are contributing a descriptive piece on civil protests to an online collection, drawing attention to the use of power and force against civilians.

  1. Draw a vertical line 2/3 of the way across your page.
  2. Write a half a page (long) description of the scene suggested by the picture (above) in the first 2/3 of the page (wide).
  3. Pick 3 of your most powerful phrases or sentences and in the last 1/3 of the page, analyse your use of language (Why you, the writer, used that particular language & how you intended to affect the reader).