At heart, the English Department believes in two things: the importance of clear and accurate writing and the power of literature to help people understand themselves and the world around them. The courses we follow strongly support these beliefs.
From the beginning, pupils focus on the basics of good spelling, punctuation and grammar, and learn to write confidently in different registers and styles. They also study a wide range of literary texts in poetry, prose and drama, including a Shakespeare play.
We follow the Edexcel IGCSE English syllabus and the OCR Living Texts Certificate. These qualifications allow teachers the time and freedom to explore a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts to develop skills of close analysis, reasoned argument and careful writing, as well as simply reading for pleasure.
Sixth Form pupils study the Pre-U Literature in English course, where they encounter literature from the medieval period to the modern day through set texts and responses to unseen passages. The Personal Investigation unit offers pupils the opportunity to follow their own literary interests and enthusiasms. Sixth Form pupils may also study for an AS in Creative Writing as an extension course. Each year, between ten and fifteen pupils go on to study English at university, including at Oxbridge.
The department awards a number of essay prizes for excellent work at all levels, and all pupils are encouraged to enter local and national writing competitions to develop and showcase their talents. All Second Form pupils perform in a Shakespeare play in the School’s Stahl Theatre, and the department organises frequent trips to the theatre and study visits to places of literary interest. The Clare Society arranges talks from visiting writers and academics and runs a pupil-led book group.
The department is housed in Old Dryden, a former 18th century coaching inn just off the town’s market place. Eleven subject specialists teach in bright and airy classrooms which reflect the open discussion and free exchange of ideas that characterise lessons. In addition to the classrooms, there is also a dance and drama studio and a large computer suite.
Mr RJ Smith
Head of Department