English

The senior English curriculum has been carefully designed to stretch every pupil to their full potential; building on their skills of reading, writing and oracy and guiding them through how to demonstrate these skills in a wide variety of real life contexts. A rich and diverse range of texts are chosen with our students’ specific interests in mind to spark enthusiasm and a genuine passion for reading. Close textual analysis leads to debate and discussion, encouraging pupils to broaden and challenge their own and others’ views, instilling empathy as well as contextual and historical appreciation.

English lessons continually develop each child’s ideas and judgement. Plays, poems, novels and short stories are studied with teachers aiming to develop pupils’ abilities to relate to the historical, cultural and social contexts of their reading. For example, an examination of war poetry is given added meaning with trips to the battlefields of Belgium and France, and to Amsterdam when studying the Diary of Anne Frank.

A strong focus on technical accuracy throughout the years ensures that senior students are well armed with the tools they need to communicate effectively in all aspects of written work. A use of sophisticated vocabulary, originality and flair is expected and has resulted in many of our pupils becoming published writers in various external competitions which run throughout the year. Our pupils develop their skills of creativity in a vast range of ways and a cross curricular approach helps pupils make links in their literacy. The most recent examples being poetry links with Science (‘About Us’ poetry and a Coding competition), Maths (creating mathematically structured poems) and Forest School (inspired by our very own beehives to create original poetry).

Every opportunity is created to allow our pupils to excel in skills of oracy. Our pupils have been commended by Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) for their ability to articulate clearly, maturely and respectively. We ensure we provide a safe and stimulating environment so that they can take ownership of their own progress, pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone and ensuring that they are ready to take on whatever the future may hold.

A close link with Drama allows our pupils to bring texts they are studying to life and immerse themselves in their learning, keeping them engaged, stimulated and happy. Recent projects include Shakespeare’s Macbeth, where Year 8 students studied the text in class and then starred in their own film version. Also, studying Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol whilst putting on a senior production of the play alongside it.

Experiencing plays at Stratford-upon-Avon, the Globe in London and having so many  opportunities to present, debate and perform to the school and families in our 300-seat theatre inspires and deepens our pupils’ respect and appreciation of this subject.

We prepare our pupils for entrance exams to a range of senior schools. Extra support is on offer, if required, by our highly skilled and well resourced Learning Support department and a collegiate approach ensures that every child is supported to give their very best.

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