The English syllabus foregrounds transferable skills, developed through a broad, genre-based literary diet.

The English syllabus foregrounds transferable skills, through exciting texts from a broad range of literary genres.

This helps pupils to chart the relationships between text types, understand how they emerged from their cultural context, and explore the emotional or political purposes they were designed to perform. Later, they use this literary map to help them navigate their way through their personal reading for the rest of their lives.

Pupils read a range of texts together in class and regularly visit the school library with their teachers to choose and share books, and to read. Pupils refine their speaking and listening in several ways: in-depth classroom discussion; the Colin Pearson Public Speaking Competition and House Debating.

Pupils experiment with finding their own voices in creative writing. This takes many forms, including some excellent poetry from ballads to sonnets. We celebrate and study interesting, ambitious pupil writing, projecting it through display, via iPad in the classroom, or publication in pupil magazine 1509, the weekly Grapevine newsletter and annual Coletine magazine. Creative writing is also nurtured through our Playwriting course, in which each pupil writes a play in English that is performed in Drama lessons, with shortlisted plays going into full production.

Pupils read, study and write about text in many forms. They learn to interpret meaning, to explore its impact on readers and to question how and why such effects are achieved. The skills required to manage analytical essay-writing, an essential discipline required to support many subjects at Senior School, are explicitly taught; these are built up step-by-step from the Lower Second upwards. Pupils unpick questions, undertake research, discuss interpretations and develop independent, evidence-based thought. They learn to structure these thoughts into a coherent argument and to express them incisively, free of waffle, flannel and filler. iPads are used to enable purposeful editing during as well as after drafting, to create presentations and to complete group assignments.

Clubs and Enrichment

Pupils are able to engage with House Debating and become involved with producing the termly 1509 magazine. The annual public speaking competition is a joy to listen to. Shakespeare workshops and visits to the Globe and Orange Tree Theatres enhance learning.

“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Books are humanity in print.”
Barbara W. Tuchman ― Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Nov. 1980), pp.16-32