English & Philosophy
We feel that English is the best subject ever. If you love to read A LOT then you will love our courses, which are taught by an enthusiastic and dedicated team that consistently delivers excellent results. The Tallis English Faculty offers four study pathways at KS5 – English Literature (OCR), English Language (OCR), Creative Writing (EPQ).
English Literature Our conception of English Literature is designed to cultivate students’ abilities to understand, interrogate and appreciate literature so that they can understand the world and change it for the better. At Thomas Tallis we are committed to putting texts in conversation with each other and in conversation with our times. We believe that English Literature and the Canon are not fixed concepts but rather opportunities for discussion. For example, we study and appreciate Hamlet – recognising its genius and place in our subject, but we also critically address the representation of female characters, neurodiversity, and power. At Thomas Tallis our students develop deep analytical, critical, and evaluative skills which will equip them for a whole range of future study.
English Language takes a different approach to the study of texts. You will study how language is used in the real world, for a whole range of different audiences and purposes. How do those in power use language in order to control others? How is technology affecting the ways in which we communicate? How does gender influence the way we speak to each other? Why has language use changed so much over the past three hundred years? These are fascinating and very open-ended questions, and tie into current debates about power and social change in very interesting ways. Tallis has taught Creative Writing with great success since the start of this decade. We have a thriving online community of current and former students who regularly post and share ideas and advice. The course in 2020-2021 will be taught for two hours a week and is certified as an Extended Project Qualification. If you take it, we’ll teach you about crafting fiction in a range of specific forms, then you’ll produce a portfolio and write an evaluative commentary alongside it. Tallis has been to the Arvon Foundation writing centre in Shropshire several times, and we have produced a number of creative writing anthologies. Several of our students have gone on to study Creative Writing at university, a vibrant academic discipline of increasing importance and popularity in Higher Education.
Philosophy is the oldest intellectual discipline our civilisation possesses, the mother of all sciences. Philosophy is conceptual engineering, since it studies the deep structures and methodologies of human thought, the basal software you run on your 'necktop' - in Daniel Dennett's fascinating coinage. Put another way, philosophy is the intellectual discipline that specialises in the metaanalysis of concepts and the formation of entirely new ones: 'anything you can do, I can do meta.' In beginning Philosophy you will encounter the extraordinary minds of many of the most intelligent people who have ever lived, and be introduced to many entirely open issues which have been continuously part of the human conversation for the last 2600 years. For example: What’s knowledge? How do we acquire it? How ought we to act? How can we know the difference between good and bad deeds? Are minds material, or etherial? This subject probably involves more completely open-ended discussion than any other. There is a good deal of reading of seriously hard, abstruse and odd material, and a good deal of writing about the same. You’ll need to be intelligent, open-minded, hard-working and imaginative, and to be very tenacious as well. You’ll also need to be at ease with very abstract ideas and very open questions. There are no easy answers in Philosophy, and plenty of titanic intellects - not just 'pale, male and stale' thinkers these days, either - whose ideas have shaped the whole of human civilisation. Humility and hard work are a must: philosophy is a very difficult A-level subject.