English underpins pupils’ achievements across the curriculum, building the confidence and accuracy in communication that is vital in school – and in life.
The English department is located at the heart of school. Our teachers are highly experienced literary enthusiasts with wide-ranging specialisms. Pupils have access to a well-stocked library, which is constantly updated with new fiction.
During their studies of English, pupils engage with many different narratives from around the world and throughout history, encouraging them to extend their emotional intelligence, develop analytical skills and build a greater understanding of their place in the world.
We encourage pupils to think analytically about their own writing, and to explore critical and imaginative responses to different literary and non-fiction texts.
English in the first year (Fourth Form) provides a foundation in literature in all its forms: poetry, prose and drama. Pupils study a broad range of texts from Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde to John Steinbeck and Susan Hill, alongside specially curated poetry anthologies, drama extracts and Gothic fiction. We broaden pupils’ experiences by exploring texts that present life stories they may never have encountered before. We emphasise creativity with regular creative writing and personal reading activities, while also teaching traditional grammar and the forensic skills of essay writing – providing a fully rounded introduction to English.
All pupils take two separate subjects at GCSE – English Language and English Literature. These challenge pupils not only to read with discernment but also to write effectively and fluently. At A-level, English Literature includes a coursework component focused on 20th-century American literature, providing greater scope for independent study.
We enrich pupils’ enjoyment of English with exciting activities throughout the year, including a weekly Shakespeare reading club, weekly creative writing workshops and enrichment forums. The Flecker Society hosts rehearsed readings of modern plays, and pupils enjoy visits from poets and academics to expand their thinking. We also run trips to theatres, the cinema, and places of literary interest. English is always a popular choice for study at university.