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This invite-only club runs from the January of Year 12 to the December of Year 13. It is led by Mr Sewell, Cambridge Graduate and ex-Durham lecturer, whose role is to introduce and facilitate reading and debate across a range of texts from the Literary Canon, which are outside of the A Level Literature syllabus. The group meets monthly, having pre-read a text (all the texts are gifted to the students as part of being in the society), and one student is responsible for leading the session, whilst all students are pushed to debate and offer alternate viewpoints. It was established to prepare students for Oxbridge interviews, but has developed over the years to just generally encourage debate and allow students to find their voices: an essential skill for any Higher Education institute.

Texts have been: Sir Gawayne and the Greene Knyghte (in the original Middle English); The Wife of Bath’s Tale; King Lear; A Modest Proposal; The Lucy Poems; Persuasion; A Doll’s House; Heart of Darkness; The Waste Land.

Current and past members have had the following to say about the Society:

“... Mr Sewell has challenged us and our ideas at points, which is definitely difficult when you have to think on your feet to defend yourself! I would say the most difficult but arguably rewarding part has been his questioning, especially when it isn't your presentation, because you have to think quickly and present yourself with confidence but be open to changing your mind rather than being stubborn....”


“... attending Lit Soc has been invaluable for my university application and as an addition to my personal statement. It was how I explained the link from my studies in English Literature with Theology, how I have read outside of the curriculum and linked it - particularly the Wife of Bath and A Modest Proposal - to the importance of religious themes and their presentation within texts....”


“... LitSoc has taught me the importance of reading a wide range of texts from different time periods, all the texts we studied have been very influential and timeless, and learning about the historical contexts behind each of them has helped in two of my subjects mainly but also in general life - challenging my points of view on how literature and attitudes have changed through time and teaching my family about what I have learnt in LitSoc.  …"


“.... It has definitely improved my confidence to in presenting but also in analysing and looking into texts independently, helping me to understand that there isn’t always a right or wrong answer and that I shouldn’t doubt my opinions. It has been a pleasure to discuss and receive different perspectives and I feel that it will really benefit me in my University life and applications....”


“... LitSoc has surprised me in how valuable it is in preparations for higher education. Although at times challenging me, and the other LitSoccers, I think it has been a great experience that without I don’t think I would be as prepared for Uni…”


Junior LitSoc runs each year. It is comprised of Year 11 students who have been selected by their GCSE teachers as showing a particular aptitude for the subject, which we hope will then translate into taking A Level Literature or Language. It runs every Monday lunchtime and is comprised of half hour sessions led by members of the English department (including ex-members Mrs Bath – CEO of the Bishop Bewick Trust and Mrs Howell – Headteacher of Sacred Heart High School), plus occasional guest speakers. So far this year, we have already had a visit from BETH NEIL, acclaimed National Journalist, who spoke to the girls about her route into Celebrity Journalism and Ghostwriting. Our next two guest speakers are GINA LOWES, who works in Feature Film Post-Production and actually began her film career with Film Studies A Level here at Sacred Heart, and ROWAN MCCABE, local poet. 

We cover a range of topics from The Beat Poets to Political Correctness in Language, via Language and Cultural Identity, Tennyson and Jane Austen. The course is designed to broaden the girls’ knowledge of the world of Literature and Language, and offer them insights into the A Levels that hopefully await them! 

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