|You can make anything by writing.
|C. S. Lewis
|The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.
English provides the skills that are the cornerstone of a first-rate education and a successful, fulfilling life: creativity, clarity of thought, and effective communication. At the heart of our work is a passionate belief in the power of language, the adventure of literature and the joy of self-expression.
Students are encouraged to read widely across all genres and respond with all the force of their own personalities and insights. They will gain a knowledge of the inspiring history of English literature from its very dawn to the present day; and slowly but surely they will venture further and more boldly into all the ‘faery lands forlorn’ that the dark and beautiful imaginations of our greatest writers have created for us. They will also be led to become inquisitive readers, who interrogate texts and dissect arguments: in other words, they will learn how to think.
Writing too is not merely a necessary life skill but an art to be nurtured and honed. First and foremost, students will learn to write accurately, with respect for their readers; at the same time, they will learn the power and versatility of the tools they have been given. They will write poems, scripts, short stories, journalism and essays across all year groups and they will learn to emulate the craft of established writers, as well as to develop a distinctive personal style.
In the Fourth and Fifth Forms, all students are entered for GCSE English Language (Edexcel board), a rigorous and qualification, which ensures they are critical readers and effective writers, with the language skills they will need for further study and in the workplace. Students in higher sets are also entered for GCSE English Literature, which introduces them to the appreciation and analysis of a wide range of classic literary texts.
At A level, students study the Edexcel English Literature course, one of the four recognised ‘facilitating subjects’ so beloved by admissions tutors at Russell Group universities. This two-year course invites students to read, discuss and appreciate an inspiring selection of prose, poetry and drama texts from the literary heritage of Britain and beyond. There is a strong focus on encouraging individual and exciting responses to texts, and on developing a bold, confident essay style. Due to the nature of the course, AS level is not offered in English Literature: students will therefore not have the burden of external exams at the end of Lower Sixth, allowing a more enjoyable learning process and a longer, smoother transition from GCSE. In addition, all Lower Sixth students attend the exciting English Department Lecture Series, which not only provides a super-curricular spin through the entirety of our English literary history, but also develops skills crucial to future success at university: concentration, effective note-taking, and engagement with challenging, free-flowing ideas.
IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is used as the language of communication. IELTS is available as part of the Sixth Form curriculum for students who are applying to study at an English-speaking university. The course covers four skills - listening, reading, writing and speaking and is recognised in many countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.
Further subject information can be found in the relevant school curriculum document on the Curriculum page.